Been on a minimizing kick of late. Craigslist, Ebay, and Goodwill have been my friends. Its always an interesting process. You forget what emotional attachments you can have to things that you haven’t seen our used in an extended period of time. But, I have rational conversations with myself and usually get past this, though sometimes the object still wins. Nonetheless, my pile gets smaller by the day, my back account a bit larger. Not even close to the original economic output, but that tends to be hopeless once we’ve been separated from our money in the first place. Thoreau’s wisdom once again. Wealth should be
measured by what you can afford to leave alone. Amazing that a book from a completely different time is still so relevant today. Hopefully I can remember it’s lessons next time the urge to buy rises up. In the meantime, I’ll keep chipping away at this pile of stuff from a different time in my life.
I wake up to the hum of the morning commute. I eat dinner to the drone of the evening commute. Interspersed is the loud braying of the sports car being revved near its max out on the parkway. I see people sitting idly in tin cans. Mildly annoyed at the indignity of having to wait. Their personal chariots not giving them all access freedom to come and go at their whim. Ever increasing hours spent paying for this life. Guts growing. Blood vessels hardening from the tension. Lives shortened on their own, yet extended by “just asking your doctor” for the latest drug. Gym memberships adding to the chipped away pile of earned yet lost wages. And then there is me. Peddling along at a 10 mile per hour bliss. Sure, I may arrive somewhere a little after you. But it didn't cost me more than a little pasta. And it saved me in a myriad of other ways. Neighborhoods seen, seasonal changes noticed, trimmer waist line, fatter wallet, and on and on. So thank you bicycle, for allowing me to do things a little differently. I can't thank you enough
Sold my LHT today. Bought it under the promise of many adventures together. In reality, the adventures happened, but the LHT stayed behind. Not because it wasn't capable. Quite the contrary. It was a little too capable for my needs. Designed to carry as much as you want to give it, I went the other way that I always seem to, which is to just carry less. My bike touring started on this bike. And after just one day of it being fully loaded, 60 miles, and a whole other set of misadventures I realized that I had overshot my wad on this one. So, I re-subscribed to my philosophy on life; never buy more storage, just get rid of things and carry less. Life is always easier when you scamper lightly. Bikepacking is my future, on or off road.
What it really tells me is this: Most of our purchases in life are made trying to project who we want to be or are told to be. Often, this is at the expense of who we really are. If you read the bike touring blogs, or look at Adventure Cycling, most of what you see are loaded down, thick, heavy steel bikes covered in panniers and big dry bags. If you are new to that whole scene, it is easy to presume that that is exactly what you need. Why anyone would want to lug this around day after day is beyond me. Truly elegant touring, and any kind of travel really, is of the utmost simplicity.
A different thought. Instead, bring what you need, and only what you need. And generally, that ain't much. So, the big touring bike is gone from my life, and in are light, comfortable road bikes and rackless bags. Hopefully this bike serves its new owner in a manner I could never use.
I know. I know. Any out of the box thinking type should definitely hate most things about the burbs. Chain restaurants, big box stores, industrial parks and all such matters designed to force conformity and suppress any form of creativity. But here’s the thing. When you basically subscribe to a low consumer lifestyle, and can therefore avoid the soul stripping elements of, say, an Applebee’s, where you are matters less. I jump on my bike and peddle. Sure, I sometimes have to link sidewalks between roads to avoid ignorant drivers. But, you can be certain you’ll be the only one at that lone coffee house during work hours. The library will be yours, cause, hey, who in affluent America actually uses that thing? And parks are generally empty for quiet contemplation. Makes you wonder why they built some of these things in the first place. But, people’s best intentions are my gain. So, thank you suburbia for building a safe environment filled with all the things you think should be there but really have no use to be bothered with. I’ll be
glad to partake.
Quiet coffee, 67 degrees in January, and the whole place is mine. The burbs ain’t so bad.
Austin finally revealed itself and the time was right to head out. So, back in DC for a few months to regroup. Hopefully some money opportunities will present themselves as well. I’ve been hitting up my storage bins, full of all kinds of things I couldn’t do without, yet somehow did for 18 months. I’m constantly minimizing, which is to say I’m always clearing space for something new. Not exactly the Thoreauvian reality I picture in my minds eye. It’s pretty amazing when you really think about all of the purchases we make outside of our true meager needs. If you really think about commerce, marketing, material desires, etc…..it’s baffling that we constantly fall prey to the ploy. Always thinking the shiny and new will finally make us fully content. It’s pure thin air. Literally no need for most of it….and yet we trade so much of our time and energy playing. Why do we do it? To feel desirable. Loved. Respected. So others will see us as the role we’ve purchased. To fill emotional voids. Boredom. Justification for all the time spent earning the money in the first place. The list goes on. No easy answers. As for me…..no new purchases for a while. I’ve got enough shit to find a home for!
Okay. So, I didn’t see this in person. But someone taking the slow path through the flyover areas of this vast country might come (haha) upon this in any of those cities. I love this country!
The 3 month escape from Winter begins its final descent tomorrow. A planned leave from Jackson, WY last November. A hopeful entry to various parts of California lightly spoiled by an unrecoverable economy. Bohemian Austin, TX to continue the search for warmth. Jobs? Yes. But a social noncomformist, a blown budget, and things not piecing together quite quick enough and its off to safer harbors for a while. Too many mountain high Winters caused this. Sitting in negative temperatures would have had the grass looking so green. Alas, the cliche fits. Along the way……bike tour of Wine Country and coast. A Jeep going to its resting place. Immersing ourselves in the sketchier hoods of Austin. Bikes. Always bikes. But, time to cauterize the financial wounds and prepare for Summer re-entry to the mountains. A shot of Winter first. Damn you Winter. I tried to leave you behind.