Thru-hiking has offered me a really interesting perspective on my relationship to material goods.

When hiking, I need only what’s in my backpack. (Definitionally. If I need something that I don’t have, then – well – enjoy recovering my body from the mountaintop.)

I rather thought that, at home, I would explode into greater needs. But I’m finding that this isn’t quite so.

-Part of this derives from redundancy. A lot of my hiking gear is just as useful off-trail as on. Good hikin’ shoes are good runnin’ shoes are good everyday casual shoes. Now that I’ve worn merino, I will keep wearing it – I will never, ever, go back to cotton.

-Part of this derives from necessity. I have none. I have no life. That’s fair – I’m about to go hike for another 4-8 months, so, life-having is not a present expectation. But this only goes so far. I’m 31 years old, I have a fair idea of what is needed in my life – and what is needed in Business Casual / Upper Middle Class life across-the-board. And, well, I basically have it. Could step into Life at a moment’s notice.

-But a large part of it is a result of a change of attitude. During the brief time that I’ve been – well – indoors, I find that I’ve brought a certain minimalism back from the Trail. Basically I’ve realized that I would not only be just as happy to own less stuff, I would in fact be happier.

I’ve spent the last few weeks rather aggressively triaging my belongings. I thought I might take a moment to list what I’ve kept. In part as a little day-in-the-life time capsule. In part to remind myself that I have a lot as it is!

-KITCHEN. Chef’s knife (Miyabi birchwood). Rice-cooker (Betty Kawaii). KitchenAid. Blender. Immersion blender. Sous Vide wand. Pasta maker. Cast iron: dutch oven, skillet, broiler pan. Teflon: omelette pan, baking sheets. Silicon: steamer basket, strainer, hand-tools. Wood: cutting board, chopsticks.

-CAFFEINE. Manual coffee grinder. Goose-neck kettle. Pourover cone. Aeropress. Teapot. Infusion basket. Half a dozen mugs – but down from a dozen.

-OFFICE. Desktop computer. Laptop computer (chromebook). Headphones. LED lamp that’s as bright as a major solar event. Might get a projector for watchin’ movies.

-BATHROOM. Electric razor. DE razor. Shaving brush. A dopp kit containing too much product – but I ain’t complainin’.

-CLOTHING. Two long-sleeve dress shirts (white, blue). Three long-sleeve buttondowns (black cotton, light gray linen, dark gray denim). Three short-sleeve button-downs (light gray, light brown, dark brown). Two heavy flannels. Three pairs of chinos (light khaki, mid khaki, dark khaki). Two pairs of raw denim jeans (preposterously light, preposterously heavy). Two polos (merino). Two overcoats (black cashmere, camel trench). Five sweaters (black, dark gray, mid gray, light gray; green donegal that’s my favorite thing ever).

-SUITS. A navy three-piece. I’d like to have several more. But then, I’d like to have the sort of life that requires me to suit up. Or even allows it. I don’t have that. Until I do, it does no good to pretend otherwise. Dream of the life, not of the life-adjuncts!

-ACCESSORIES. A few belts. Suspenders. Collar stays. Cufflinks, tux studs, just in case. Couple of scarves. Small box of Darn Toughs. Fifty neckties… but that’s down from 100, I think that earns me partial credit?

-SHOES. Black dress oxfords. Tan dress boots. Trail runners. Mid-weight hiking boots. Blue suede boat shoes. Might dream of a pair of workboots – Truman’s in Moss Mohawk, anyone?

-WATCHES. White metal, white dial, dress. Stainless, black dial, luxury sport. Yellow metal, white dial, luxury sport. Stainless, black dial, diver, daily. Can still daydream, but basically I’m good.

-MAKER STUFF. A Dremel and press. A Singer and walking-foot. A tool-chest full of crap. A real hell of a Bugout Bag.

-A CAR. And A BIKE. And. Enough hiking gear that I could pass as a Seattle techie.

I may not have a life – but at a moment’s notice, I am ready for one.


~ by davekov on 19 September 2018.

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