Backpacking has given me so much in life. Nature is my psychologist and my mentor, it humbles me and it challenges me. What I get out of my hikes I could never possibly formulate in writing, anybody who has ever been on longer hikes would probably feel the same. Being in the wild reminds us of who and where we really are on earth. Our place in the natural order, somewhere in the middle of the food chain. There are all kinds of bad shit that can happen to us in the wild, from falling and breaking something, to being eaten to being poisoned, freeze to death, starve to death or heat exhaustion. You name it, you can die from it in the wild. It is when you are alone in the vast expanses of the wild that you realize just how insignificant you really are. An ant on a child’s playground. Read More
Ok, I admit, this review has nothing to do with ultralight backpacking – I won’t even bother weighing the Vandal as I can say it’s heavy.. I’m talking almost Kajka heavy (well not really.. 2 kilos to be exact). My motivation for buying the Mission workshop Vandal backpack? I wanted an everyday backpack to replace my 5 different bags that I already had. I wanted the one backpack to “rule them all” sort of speak. I had a different bag and backpack for different occasions:
- for everyday walking around – usually messenger bag that was limited in size, my shoulders would get pretty tired carrying around the weight on one arm
- Gym bag – for that off chance that I might someday start going to the gym again. I this was a duffel bag
- A job bag – for when I want to bring my work computer home
- My travel suitcase – a samsonite carry-on that no matter how long i was gone for this was all I ever had
- Several “beach bags” – for those days when I wanted to head out to the beach, or some other spontaneous activity.
Since I already had a blog up and running, and for better or worse ultralight backpacking is about minimalism in it’s essence. Being able to do more with less, not being hindered by all your shit. Instead, packing what you need and being able to go longer, harder and better with less. Knowing what you have and having a use for what you bring. In backpacking, at least ultralight backpacking you bring one backpack, one bed, one spoon, one kitchen set, one t-shirt and so on. And if you choose the stuff you really like than it’s the best feeling on earth knowing you are complete, that you couldn’t possibly need or want anything else. This joy is something I have felt for a long time when I am out on the trail. However, once I get home reality starts to set in.
This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, and with a few odd brush ins here and there with an occasional YouTube video about a guy in japan who owns only 150 things, I have never actually heard about minimalism or the movement that it is. Nor, have I ever thought about the benefits of owning less and so on. I do know that at times in my life when I am most productive is usually when I have a focused working environment, free from distraction. Then, one day a few a few months ago I went for a long walk, stressed and bothered about not having anytime and only have anxiety for the stuff that I owned. Namely a BMW, A motor boat, two Saab 900s, a fairly large house packed from wall to wall with stuff. I am by no means a hoarder, in fact I have always been pretty good at filtering out the stuff I don’t use. But somehow this last couple of years my consumption has really taken over without me noticing. Read More
In my last two post on my minimalist journey – simplify your backpacking and when your things become you I talk about my own journey, and how backpacking is shaping my life in more ways that I thought possible. I am allowing, finally the real me to surface again. I have always been a fairly productive and creative person, I have always been able to focus my mind and energy into certain projects and to more or less keep myself motivated. Hence why I have this blog, published book, another one on the way, produced music, rebuilt cars, different photo projects so on and so forth. My problem has never been inspiration or focus, as my life has shown me that doing leads to inspiration, not the other way around. We create our own inspiration by working hard. This is a subject I have written about many times, with my most recent article called “the art of getting shit done” Read More
My stuff is me:
On my last post I talked a lot about simplifying your backpack gear, and more broadly, about simplifying your life. That was about a week ago and I’ve had some time to just think about the overall theme of simplifying or minimalism. I realize that a lot of people identify themselves with what they own. For example, for many people, they might identify me as simply being an ultralight backpacker, because that is what the title of this site is, what my book is about and in general what my gear and hiking is like.
The truth is, that my stuff does not make me who I am. These are two completely different concepts altogether in my world. When we start to minimalize our lives, we start to identify ourselves not with what we own, but by our values and goals. When we minimalize the whole point is to disenfranchise ourselves and our identity from the bought and paid for consumer. (or brainwashed consumer who just needs stuff to be whole). For most people we automatically assume that we are our own person, that we have created ourselves from our values and goals. I used to think the same thing about myself. Until of course I started going on long walks with nothing more than my backpack and a few essentials to keep me alive. Read More
In my going lighter series I have a constant reference point that I write a lot about: Simplify your backpacking and make your journey an enjoyable process.
I write a lot about this, but I found that I never really clarify it. What do I mean by simplify and simplicity? In life this would be the equivalence to the Minimalism movement, in backpacking I will just call it simplicity.
In essens I will sum it up as follows:
Simplicity in backpacking does not mean selling everything you own and backpack with just a tarp and toothbrush.
Simplicity is about bringing what you need with the comfort you enjoy. Read More
“There is no reason for you to think that any man has lived long because he has grey hairs or wrinkles; he has not lived long – he has existed long.” Seneca
Maybe it’s that time of year, being new year or something that I feel it’s important to share my own thoughts on goal setting and achievement.
I wrote a similar piece to this a long time ago, perhaps 2010 when I was running my Hedge fund and stock blog. As times change so do my interests and hobbies. However, I find that my action plan is always the same, and I think this post sums it up pretty damn well. I get the question a lot about how I manage to get so many of my projects done and how I find the time to do them. Read More