Thursday, January 26

Lightness of being

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

Going lighter in the wilderness is more about perspective than it is pack weight. It represents a conscious decision on behalf of the hiker to adopt a simpler, less cluttered approach to one’s time outdoors.

Of all the lessons that we can learn from heading out into nature, this is one of the most important, because it is a lesson that is universally applicable. Irrespective of our geographical location, a diligent commitment to a simpler life is one of the surest ways I know to be happy.

And that’s not even the best part.

The sort of happiness I’m talking about is the enduring type. Because its foundation is based upon intangible assets. A source that comes from within, rather than without. Let’s call it an exercise in sustainable wealth. Basically Mother Nature showing us that we don’t need that much stuff to be content. Shelter over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies.

Next time you find yourself paring down gear for a hiking trip, take a moment to step back and contemplate the big picture. Think about what you are doing and what you can learn from it. Chances are it’s a lesson whose value will transcend how much weight you’ll be carrying on your back.

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