Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stuff, and how much of it you need

"Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them."

Moving to Casablanca will mark the third time I've relocated to a new country (4th if you count the eight weeks I studied in the UK). When I went to New Zealand, I took a full backpack, army duffel bag and two suitcases. This time around, it will just be the backpack. 75 liters, plus a carry-on.

There are practical reasons. I’m not actually going to be in an apartment right away. I’m going through Spain first, and then I’ll be in a hotel for the first few weeks in Casablanca. So lugging suitcases around for that would be exhausting (and infuriating when I actually had to find something in them). As it turns out “how far am I willing to carry this?” is an interesting standard by which to measure an item’s value...

You’re standing on an island and I present you with a plasma television and a small comfortable folding chair. You can take either one, but you’re going to need to carry it 20 miles back to your camp on the other side of the island.

When I think about it, and am totally honest with myself, not much of the crap I own holds onto its value when I increase the carry factor. The nearest corollary to this measure I can think of would be frequency of use. In my case, as I suspect is the case with most people, there are only about a dozen items that I actually use with any regularity. If you graphed it (which I will, because I’m a nerd), it would look like this -->

I’m bringing my toothbrush, but I’m giving the expensive jacket I never wear to Goodwill. I love my books, but they're not going to impress anyone (why else does someone keep books?) in a box under my parent's steps. I’ll put those green items at the top of my backpack. The blue ones will be packed in descending order.

I have my philosophical reasons for packing light, too. But rather than starting to quote Aurelius, I’ll defer to what most of you probably already know about me: I’m novelty obsessed. It’s hard to do new stuff if you weigh yourself down.


Caught In Motion said...

Less is more


nasshi said...

When you relocate a lot, you often find most belongings burdensome on the margin.

Chesirae said...

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