Ultralight Living


There is a very clear moment in my adult life relating to self-understanding. I had just gone to an Eastern Mountain Sports store and purchased $700 worth of hiking gear. I had a job now and didn't need to keep borrowing my parents' stuff. One of the indispensable items was the Appalachian Mountain Club's White Mountain Guide (pictured on right). My first ever charitable gift was to the AMC. 

That book is a labor of love born by a century of hikers documenting all the trails over the ancient, rugged wilderness of New Hampshire. Its preface opens with the mindset of any backpacker -- "Hiking is a sport of self-reliance...":

Hiking is a sport of self-reliance. Its high potential for adventure and relatively low level of regulation have been made possible by the dedication of most hikers to the values of prudence and independence. This tradition of self-reliance imposes an obligation on each of us: at any time we may have to rely on our own ingenuity and judgment, aided by map and compass, to reach our goals or even make a timely exit from the woods.

While the penalty for error rarely exceeds an unplanned and uncomfortable night in the woods, more serious consequences are possible. Most hikers find satisfaction in obtaining the knowledge and skills that free them from blind dependence on the next blaze or trail sign, and enable them to walk in the woods with confidence and assurance. Those who learn the skills of getting about in the woods, the habits of studious acquisition of information before the trip and careful observation while in the woods, soon find that they have experienced the “Freedom of the Hills”.

It's an amazing feeling, to be at home and free by your own planning, resourcefulness, and ingenuity in a place most find wild and scary; these are the experiences liberation is made of. Being free and independent of as much as possible leads you to Ultralight Backpacking, where people go one step further and bring the lightest weight and most simple kit safely possible for a given trip. 


I want to do more of this in my everyday life. It's living minimally but not for minimalism's sake: To liberate onesself from the unnecessary stuff. I want to take the philosophy of Ultralight Backpacking and start living Ultralight.

You don't get this kind of experience from the latest fashions:

Thanks for the lessons, Dad.

John Mayer. Underrated.

I've found that a lot of of the songs Pandora has played for me by John Mayer have been surprisingly good. He seems to get a lot of flak in the pop culture press for being kinda douchey, but I've been impressed.



Transitioning towards my later twenties with parents who are no longer invincible meant this song hit home pretty well. I'm sure I'm not the first to experience emotions like this. At least for me, it captures the uncertainty of becoming an adult generation.

I Still Love You

In the spirit of the last post:


Dear Family,

I still love you, just space yourselves out next time.

Sincerely,
Ben

When Will it Stop?

One of the things I've found is that I fill up all of my day-to-day life with exercise, games, and errands. It's a wonderful, full life. When 7 weeks straight have some kind of a family visit, however, I get 7 weeks of backup from my normal life's obligations. Also I'm moving in a couple weeks so apartment hunting is thrown in there somewhere. Also our car is acting up and definitely needs maintenance. Again

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want it all the extra crap to stop. I want a normal week where I don't have to orchestrate logistics of getting two people to six apartment viewings with one car. A week where I can work without worrying over some awkward family dynamic. I want to come home and think only about whether I have time to go play squash. I don't want to go AWOL from a group of friends for nearly two months anymore.




Dear World,

Next time you conspire to throw three years worth of crap my way in one month I will be forced to flip out, give you the finger, and reschedule sometime in the future.

Sincerely,
Ben