A thought while in transit:
When it comes to travel, nomadic living, or perhaps just life in general — the lighter, smaller, and more compact, the better.
Anti weight, anti matter, anti bulk, anti big.
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In praise of light shoes
As I read in Phil Knight’s “Shoe dog”book (the story of Nike), one interesting idea was this:
By subtracting even an ounce of weight from a running shoe, that would equal tons of saved weight over the course of [x] miles.
Ultra lightweight traveling
I can personally attest that while traveling, every ounce counts. I can be a bit fanatical on saving weight while traveling or in transit, but it generally pays off.
Consider when you’re traveling or on the road, every extra ounce in your backpack will compound over the thousands of steps you walk in a day. Furthermore I think the art of travel is this:
Achieving and doing more with less.
Traveling and living nomadically reminds us to NOT hoard stuff and also reminds us that having MORE things and stuff is actually worse in life. The fewer things you got, the more you can act and live. The less stuff which can weigh down your flight.
Ultra lightweight game
Even for myself after a decade+ of traveling and living on the road, I still pack too much stuff. It seems a simple tip is this:
Intentionally try to under-pack.
Make it into a fun game. Pack so when you’re traveling, you’re actually uncomfortable and don’t have everything you “need”. I believe the punishment of modernity is that we become soft, weak, and overly dependent on our belongings and stuff. My biggest benefit and boon from traveling has been to become less materialistic, and to be more innovative in achieving more with less.
Ultra light camera
This is why I feel the RICOH GR III is the best camera ever made:
Insanely powerful performance for the lightest weight and size.
Even though I could purchase a bigger, heavier, and “better” camera like a Leica Q2, “power-to-weight ratio”will always triumph. This is why a Porsche 911 will always be superior to a heavier muscle car (although the muscle car might have more horsepower).
Is it fear which makes us strive to have more and bigger?
I think a lot of Americans buy big SUV cars because they perceive that bigger cars are “safer”. Also generally speaking, humans have a bias that “bigger is better”and “more is better”. For example if I was an ancient man, I would prefer to have 10 cattle compared to 1 cattle. I would prefer to have a big space (bigger shelter) than a small space.
But we live in new times. Having a bigger car is more difficult to park (fewer parking spots available to you in the city). Having a bigger home means more cleaning and hoarding. Having a bigger phone means inability to text message with one hand. Having a bigger stomach is also undesirable for health and aesthetic reasons.
Perhaps we strive for “bigger”and “more”from a fear perspective. In the past, we were afraid of starving to death, so having MORE food was a good adaptational mindset. To fight off wild animals, to have a BIGGER and more physically strong partner was beneficial.
The notion of minimalism is good, but I think aesthetically, minimalism is not quite the right notion. I think instead of minimalism, we are striving towards optimal simplicity, and being able to achieve more with less. Minimalism seems like a goal of being “minimal for the sake of being minimal”— perhaps with moralistic and ethical reasons (the notion that owning a lot of stuff is morally bad and evil, because to waste your money is seen as a sin from a Protestant Puritan perspective).
I’m far more practical. By having less bulk, less weight, and less size, you will actually IMPROVE yourself. You will be able to do more, achieve more, walk more, and create more with LESS fatigue, exhaustion, and decision paralysis.
Use travel as an opportunity to achieve more with less, to conquer your fears of not owning enough stuff, and actually empowering yourself to know you can thrive with very little.
Traveling as a means of self-strengthening!
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