One night last week, one of my dear friends from the olden days, Steve Cooper, stopped by for an impromptu visit as he was passing through my neck of the woods. I love it when that happens — an old friend rings you up and drops in for a visit. I think we need more impromptu visiting in our society and less scheduling. So what if I have a giant tent made out of sheets and dining room chairs in my den? Real friends don’t care.
I haven’t seen Steve for a couple of years and it’s always a treat when our paths cross. Steve does all kinds of interesting and unusual things and it’s always fascinating to catch up with him and listen to his stories. For example, last year he walked from the heel in the boot of Italy all the way to Santiago, Spain over a period of six months. Walked! He didn’t have hotel reservations, he just let each day unfold, walking from town to town and stopping when he was tired. Sometimes he stayed in hotels, sometimes he stayed in hostels and sometimes he camped out.
This trek was something that he had wanted to do for a number of years and last year, he decided that the time was right. He took a sabbatical from his college teaching position, sold his house and put anything he cared about in storage and put the rest in a backpack and got on a plane for Europe. And oh the stories he has collected along the way and the people he met and the serendipity and the living in the moment! It seems so much easier to live that kind of life when you are weighed down only by what you can carry. You can read all about his adventures in his book Six Months Walking the Wilds.
For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of his adventure is this idea of putting everything you own in a backpack. I try to imagine sorting through my stuff and deciding what to take and what to leave beind. This week, it’s a thought that I can’t seem to put away. What would I put in my pack to sustain me for six months? What? A Bible? An itty bitty slim Apple laptop? Immodium? Paper and pencil? A change of undies? Chapstick? Photos? Nail file? iPod? What?
I’m curious, if you had to carry with you everything you needed, and carry it in a pack and carry it for six months, what would you take? What?
Clarification: Imagine that it’s just you, not your kid and all their crud, because that makes the game too complicated. I know that’s kind of hard to imagine, but just try.
* * * * *