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How you can tell things are changing

I woke my son up at around 8:00 AM this morning. I went into his room, just inside the door, and said “Hey man, get up,” and he did.

He sat up in bed, looked around like freaked out coma patient, and then proceeded to his bathroom. He went through the motions in there I am assuming, because he looked damp and did not smell like a stale taco when I passed him in the hall. He was dressed by the time I finished my coffee.

We left the house and went to REI and Dick’s (don’t laugh, I hate the place, but we had a coupon). Money was burning a hole in my pocket, and we needed to finish up our purchases. Mostly for his list.

What he got: Trekking poles (REI brand), another pair of synthetic boxers (REI brand), a Z-lite (torso length), another pair of Darn Tuff socks, a twenty liter dry sack for a food bag, a few stuff sacks, and a beanie (at Dick’s, so yes he could be called that). That was it.

I bought a stuff sack for the tent, my food bag (same size as his), a few smaller sacks, and a 3 pack of belts because it was cheaper than just buying two. I also bought some more line to use for bear bagging (you can never have enough line/cord/rope).

That’s it. It didn’t break the bank. We looked around in the stores but we both had the same thing to say when we picked something up.

“We don’t need this.”

We have arrived at the point where need and want are considered. We even look to see where stuff is manufactured. Nothing against China, but come on. Dubious business practices. We ended up at Kroger where I bought dog food and some bones for our hounds (because want and need are synonyms in their vocabulary).

I picked up a pack cover and Bailey looked at me shaking his head. “You don’t need that. A trash compactor bag in your pack and the waterproof sacks will keep your stuff dry.”

I picked up a Thermoball Jacket, on sale! “You have a puffy jacket already.”

I eyed a GoPro. “Really? You want to be a cliche?”

He wanted a “sit pad” but I pointed out we had several pads we could cut down to size.

The need has outweighed the want. Other than Ziplock bags and food we are at an impasse with our consumerist selves. The want is losing. But we still eye stuff. Nice stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice to have stuff?

The new mantra: If you are willing to carry it, by all means have it.

The new thinking: If only does one thing, and it is general in its ability to do that, it is not worth it.

So what will we be doing in the days leading up to this thru-hike?

Clearing out our drawers and closet. Ridding ourselves of clothing we no longer wear, or probably won’t be able to after this is over. Luxury items and electronics are finding their way to eBay, because we not only do not need, but are finding we do not want. My Mom did this a few years ago. She whittled away her belongings and clothing. It made laundry easy. Cleaning became a simple walk through and vacuum. If you look in a hospital room it is spartan, but it is clean and efficient. Look at an IKEA ad. Same thing. And while I have nothing but disdain for IKEA… be an IKEA ad. Or at least simple.



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