The Incredible Weight of Simplicity

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“Wow, 190 day trip.  How would you even pack for that?”  a first question of a coworker upon reunion.

Well that really brings together old and new thoughts, pre and post trip musing.  In the planning stage was the same question.  Now, I look around my home and life and wonder what all this crap is.  I wonder why I have all this stuff and how I can make sense of it, or ever get it organized.

Packing, we knew we’d be facing four seasons.  We knew the sports we’d ply.  Lists sprouted: Skis, boots, poles, long undies-tops and bottoms, coat, shell, ski pants, helmet, goggles, glove and mittens.  Hand warmers for Jane, so many accessories- but all easily listed and known.  Then the bikes with their shorter list, kayak with only paddles and life vests.  Hiking, the simplest, added only hiking boots and a day pack.   All easily splayed out in the house or garage, but a bit harder to condense and fit into a tramper and 4Runner.  The obvious and self explained necessities!

Next came clothing.  We heard the wise words of a traveling PT friend.  Bring less, he said.  “I’ve been to China for two weeks with no more than a small knapsack carry-on”.  Wise indeed, but it may have been months before we really “got” it.

Rebuilding the Tramper gave me time to ponder and plan.  Each drawer, shelf and cabinet was to have a purpose.  Some I left as in 1957.  Others had to be removed and revised.

The kitchen, including ALL pots, pans and tools

The kitchen, including ALL pots, pans and tools

The toilet room became a shower and storage for soap and shampoo, the grey water tank, our little commode, laundry detergent and sport wipes.  The table had drawers for 4 forks, spoons,  and 2 knives (one butter, one sharp).  Another drawer, the requisite “junk drawer”, post-its, pens, pencils, a sharpie and small details.

Two drawers, nicely added by a previous owner, (date unknown...1950's 60's?)

Two drawers, nicely added by a previous owner, (date unknown…1950’s 60’s?)

I had built a deep cabinet next to the fridge with 4 shelves above the right wheel well.  The bottom was purpose built to hold two boot-bag knapsacks.  Each of our indulgent boot packs “always” houses those big, heavy ski boots, a helmet, gloves/mittens, neck warmer, sunblock and just a few small accessories.  System organization.  My favorite!  And it works at home, as one can keep the categorized toys or tools of one need in one place, “always” knowing just where to look.

This puzzle piece was 17″ high though.  The boot bags ate a big chunk of space, but their weight nests right over the trailer axle.  Above was divided into 2 shelves each 2 for Hers, 2 shelves for His.  On two were baskets to hold ALL of each of our “normal” clothing.  Into the house they went and piles of underwear, T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, short and long pants were tossed.  Not long before they were overflowing, you can imagine!   Out came a few things.  Then more discussion.

In talk with our selves and travel consultant, John, the PT we knew less was going to be plenty.  Only we could decide how much less.  Clean socks and underwear a necessity, how often would we do laundry?  Having the small shower stall and hot/cold running water was a luxury we knew afforded hand washing as needed.  We settled for about 5 pairs of socks and undies each, washing them nearly every day.  Twas fun to note humidity’s effect on drying.  The dank week of Hurricane Sandy in Rosendale threatened us with that “sour” laundry smell.  The arid deserts and Western mountains dried things overnight or faster and the air we breathed was softened by the humidity.

Of course the mesh laundry bags that piled with bigger loads and heavier clothes were relieved mostly in campgrounds, occasionally in towns at laundromats.  So there we were, with the fewest clothes we thought we could make it with.  Several waves of subtraction left us each with one basket to live from.  And live we did!  An astute observer might notice the small selection in our pictures.  (They always wore the same few clothes)  We didn’t mind a bit.  Prompted me to get rid of and donate quite a pile on return home.  Jane has “halved” her closet compared to before the Voyage!

-David

(I’ll try to get some more pics of our total clothing basket)

2 responses to “The Incredible Weight of Simplicity

  1. Id like to quote a really good film and Book : FIGHT CLUB, “The things you Own, end up Owning you”. Have fun…….Live and Love. Later Jason

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