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Ultralight Living Guide
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Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Ultralight Living Guide on 12/20/2009 06:46:31 MST Print View

Just started reading Leo Babauta's book "The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life" (available as a paid-for downloadable PDF). Great to see the semblance to getting started with UL backpacking, the same basic principles and the same kind of fundamental starting points. I wonder how many here at BPL could really manage to put to practice the same philosophy that they put toward their backpacking knowledge... I think it is considerably harder. But it has the same effects and advantages.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Living simple on 12/20/2009 08:59:52 MST Print View

Personally I think it's rather silly and obtuse to have to read a book in order to learn how to live a minimalist / simple lifestyle.

If you as a person need an instruction manual in order to live a simpler life then you will never be able to do so. Living a simple lifestyle is a personal choice that involves you as a person deciding how you can make your life simplistic. What will work for you in your life may or may not work for someone else

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Ultralight Living Guide on 12/20/2009 09:34:17 MST Print View

I've been following the blogosphere for this type of stuff for a while. A good one is http://rowdykittens.com/

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Living simple on 12/20/2009 11:28:18 MST Print View

Chad Miller wrote:

"Personally I think it's rather silly and obtuse to have to read a book in order to learn how to live a minimalist / simple lifestyle.

If you as a person need an instruction manual in order to live a simpler life then you will never be able to do so. Living a simple lifestyle is a personal choice that involves you as a person deciding how you can make your life simplistic. What will work for you in your life may or may not work for someone else"


Chad, I don't get your point. So shut up and don't bother? Henry David Thoreau wrote about this sort of thing in the 1840's and is revered for it. You could say that it is a personal choice for *any* lifestyle change subject, including hiking, ergo the phrase "hike your own hike." The point is to share what works for the author and identity the paradigm shift to others.

Years ago I had a BBS and I opened a thread about simple living and creating limits to work within. My personal challenge was that I was being mired down by my possessions, that they owned me. Simply put, every asset is a liability. All the STUFF I owned needed storage, maintenance and organization. In my thread I offered the idea of creating defined physical limits to what we owned. I came up with the idea of being able to put everything I owned in a one meter cube (much as you put all your gear in a certain size backpack). The objections to my idea were strong and negative. So many people said that it wasn't possible and I was puzzled by it. Certainly, half the people on the planet would see a one meter cube full of personal possessions as great wealth!

Another way to approach this shift in thinking about possessions is to work in reverse: you have nothing but the clothes on your back and you are going to select to tools you will live with. If it helps, make believe that you are going to live on an island or another planet. You are allotted a one meter cube for all your possessions. Fill 'er up!

There is so much more to simple living-- utilization of resources, career and income level, housing, rural vs urban living, etc, etc. The goal is to get all the details organized so you can live your life in a way that brings you joy and satisfaction. In the same way, UL hiking allows you to enjoy the hike.

I've said before that UL hiking involves a sort of hyper materialism, where each item is thoroughly scrutinized and selected for it maximum performance with weight being the leading criterion.

At a time when overpopulation, pollution, dwindling resources and climate change are major concerns, what and how we consume are critical choices. The planet you save may be your own!

Applying the tenets of UL hiking to our daily lives makes a lot of sense to me:

*Take (own) only what you will actually use
*Seek products that have multiple uses
*Let function take precedent over fashion
*Seek products that deliver the highest performance
*Seek products that suit your true personal needs

Typically self help books appeal to someone who finds themselves in crisis but can't identify the problem--- or the solution. In this case someone has dealt with an issue and found solutions and shared them. Thoreau did it and Ray Jardine and Ryan Jordan have too. Saying that if you need instructions (help) to change your lifestyle means that you will never be able to accomplish change is so terribly negative and defeating!

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Living simple on 12/20/2009 11:41:32 MST Print View

Thoreau has this covered.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Re: Living simple on 12/21/2009 14:45:41 MST Print View

My favorite light living guide has been a zine called Dwelling Portably.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
dale. on 12/21/2009 15:01:18 MST Print View

i'm with you on that.

what's wrong with bringing up ideas, thoughts, tips and tricks, motivation, or anything else about something (e.g. backpacking, living more simply, etc.).

i'm sure it helps some people a lot, and other people a little, and that's all good.

it's kinda like all the info on BPL. there's always something to learn from others in regards to lighter backpacking, more LNT, etc.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: dale. on 12/21/2009 16:06:57 MST Print View

"i'm with you on that."

+ 1

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Living simple on 12/21/2009 16:52:52 MST Print View

Maybe it's not so much learning to live simply -- but much more about unlearning an entire way of thinking and living that we've been indoctrinated for so long?

Our society defines success almost exclusively in terms of acquisition: money, power, title, influence... Look at your high school or college alum publications. Who gets the kudos - the guy who 'succeeded' in becoming Henry Thoreau the second and is happy about it -- or the guy or gal who just made CEO or CFO or CIO?

There's nothing simple about living simply -- unless we succeed first in changing our own attitude -- and then remaining steadfast against the forces of our society that keep reminding us that by living simply, we are not "go getters" anymore!

D S
(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
words to live by....globally! on 12/21/2009 23:33:31 MST Print View

"Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants."

-Esther De Waal-

Love that quote,

couch

Edited by onthecouchagain on 12/21/2009 23:34:20 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Living simple on 12/22/2009 00:03:31 MST Print View

Personally I think it's rather silly and obtuse to have to read a book in order to learn how to live a minimalist / simple lifestyle.

If you as a person need an instruction manual in order to live a simpler life then you will never be able to do so. Living a simple lifestyle is a personal choice that involves you as a person deciding how you can make your life simplistic. What will work for you in your life may or may not work for someone else


Well, if that were so, wouldn't this whole site and all the advice we give and the books about lightweight backpacking be completely unnecessary? Backpacking is far easier to do than living everyday life. There are so many more things to consider in daily life.

Until I was about 35 I had always lived extremely simply and frugally. I could fit everything, aside from my bicycle, I had into two suitcases. My hiking gear consisted of the same clothing I wore everyday. I had a tape recorder on which I listened to all my music (a Sony Walkman Professional) that was the size of a paperback novel. I had three pairs of shoes, two jackets, and one tent, one early version of a mass-produced mountain bike (An early version of a Specialized Stumpjumper). I didn't need any more than that. And I was very happy.

Then I got married and got a reasonably well-paying job and spent more time sitting around the house. In 14 years my belongings have BLOOMED! Now I'm trying to get back to that spareness I used to live by.

Just good to hear and read about how others have faced and come to terms with getting rid of and accumulating stuff.

D S
(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
check this out! on 12/22/2009 00:28:53 MST Print View

video about consumerism and consumption at:

www.storyofstuff.com

A real eye opener for sure.

couch

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: check this out! on 12/22/2009 13:36:57 MST Print View

Yeah, that's a great video. She did an excellent job.

Hiking the PCT did a lot for me wanting to live more simply overall. Small backpack trips never really impacted my life that much. It was the big one that did it. I think actually living a good length of time without a lot of possessions is what helps you see how little you need.

I've been trying to reduce my possessions. I tend to hoard things. It is hard to toss stuff out because then I just feel like I'm contributing to the waste.

I came to a lot of my own conclusions about simple living, but reading information about living simply has really helped, too. I've learned about ways to get really cheap food and grow my own, for example. I've learned about how to calculate your true wage at your job. I even found a few sites that show you how to live cheaply in an RV and how to get seasonal jobs such as campground host jobs. With all this knowledge, I'm preparing for my simple retirement.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Ultralight Living Guide on 12/22/2009 13:54:50 MST Print View

My point is that if you as a person need someone else to tell you how to simplify your own life then you will never be able to do it and stick with it.

I would think that it should be rather self explanatory for you as a person to initially learn how to simplify your life. As you attempt to do so the act of simplifying your life become an act of self exploration and discovery. To expect and or require some book to do this act of personal exploration for you is obtuse.

It may be just me but needing a book to define and justify what your personal goals and views are is not only lazy but also devoid of any real meaning. Now many authors may have written great works on the subject of simplifying your life but I do not think people should simply follow these ideas blindly. To follow the views of someone else because they are a well known and respected author is just the sign that someone is lazy and unable to think for themselves.

We’re not talking about changing world politics or religions, ending world hunger, or curing a disease. We’re simply talking about how to simplify your own personal life. Simplifying your life it not world changing or astonishing for that matter. It’s a personal decision that begins and ends with you.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Ultralight Living Guide on 12/22/2009 14:01:53 MST Print View

It seems to me that for some their rather large ego may be the first thing that needs lightening a bit.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ultralight Living Guide on 12/22/2009 14:03:26 MST Print View

> if you as a person need someone else to tell you how to simplify your own life
> then you will never be able to do it and stick with it.

While I have some sympathy with the general idea, I can see a serious problem with it in practice. It's the first step which is hardest.

After all, why does this BPL web site exist? Because until someone gets up and really explains how you really don't need 50 lb of gear to go for an overnight walk, most people are just not able to make the mental shift.

Cheers

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
my point... on 12/22/2009 14:08:36 MST Print View

My point is that if you as a person need someone else to tell you how to lighten your backpack then you will never be able to do it and stick with it.

I would think that it should be rather self explanatory for you as a person to initially learn how to lighten your backpack. As you attempt to do so the act of lightening your backpack becomes an act of self exploration and discovery. To expect and or require some website to do this act of personal exploration for you is obtuse.

It may be just me but needing a website to define and justify what your personal goals and views on lightweight backpacking are is not only lazy but also devoid of any real meaning. Now many web authors and forum posters may have written great posts and threads on the subject of lightening your backpack but I do not think people should simply follow these ideas blindly. To follow the views of someone else because they are a well known and respected website or forum poster is just the sign that someone is lazy and unable to think for themselves.

We’re not talking about changing world politics or religions, ending world hunger, or curing a disease. We’re simply talking about how to lighten your backpack. Lightening your backpack is not world changing or astonishing for that matter. It’s a personal decision that begins and ends with you.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Ultralight Living Guide on 12/22/2009 15:41:43 MST Print View

Yes Dave that is also true.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Ultralight Living Guilde on 12/22/2009 15:43:14 MST Print View

>While I have some sympathy with the general idea, I can see a serious problem with it in practice. It's the first step which is hardest.

After all, why does this BPL web site exist? Because until someone gets up and really explains how you really don't need 50 lb of gear to go for an overnight walk, most people are just not able to make the mental shift.<



Yes but many people are able to make that mental shift, it’s just that not many people feel the need to share their views and ideals with others. Simply put the types of people that do share their views and ideals on this subject do so because they want to help people or because they want the recognition.

Saying that BPL exists because people are unable to make the mental shift to lightweight practices assumes that no one could or hasn’t come the conclusion on their own that carrying lighter weight gear can be beneficial. While it is very true that more people have become involved in lightweight backpacking because of this site it is silly to think that no one would practice lightweight backpacking if this site did not exist. To think otherwise is simply a delusion brought about by some serious ego.

If you as a person needs outside influence to define your goals and views regarding your lifestyle and backpacking practices then so be it; there is nothing wrong with that. I caution people though to actually understand the principals and practices of such beliefs.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
tread lightly on 12/22/2009 15:44:58 MST Print View

I think we're actually in general agreement. Chad may just be stuck on a personal issue. But plain mimicry of anyone's words or actions, not matter how well-meaning, is shallow and short lived. Personally, I find great value in reading and in the examples of others along similar paths. Especially when you find your practice in a malaise. It's rejuvenating just to consider the new resources mentioned here.

And I really appreciated Dale's mention for "starting" the path of living simply:

"Another way to approach this shift in thinking about possessions is to work in reverse: you have nothing but the clothes on your back and you are going to select to tools you will live with."

I just moved in with my g/f and her daughter, I've asked that we start anew with one bowl (meal portioning), one spoon, one fork, one cup, one glass. And we can have a crate stashed away with plates, etc for guests. But just this adjustment alters a menagerie of issues like dirty dishes, cabinet space, counter space, chore responsibilities, kitchen chaos and the scattering of glasses and cups across the house.

Diane, could you share some of those sites you mention, and maybe more of your personal experiences/decisions/strategies?

cheers all,
-Michael

btw, nice lesson Dave.