Wednesday, August 25, 2010

1 - Countdown to our upcoming European backpacking adventure - 2010

Written by Karen
Our Packs
We start this blog with an upcoming European backpacking adventure:  21 days; a 21-country Eurail Pass; and, daypacks. Yes, daypacks and a goal to carry less than 20 pounds, in total for the 21-day trip. 

We stuck to the following principles:  (1) what do we really need? Pack what we think we need for the general route that we think we are going to take.  If it’s cold in the Alps, we’ll change our plans and head south; (2) if we were going to nimbly vagabond with very little pre-planned schedules and/or arrangements across Europe by train, we needed to travel lightly; and, (3) if we really do find that we need something, we can purchase it in Europe. 

The theme was smart minimalism, and as we started putting together our trip and packing lists, we considered these questions in our larger every-day reality. Do we really need so much stuff?  What is more important to us – experiences or things? Can we lead a more simple and balanced lives as a result of considering these questions? 

We struggled against extensively planning and scheduling our trip; instead we consciously decided that this journey would also serve to re-kindle making decisions spontaneously and living in the moment; a trait that we had seemed to lose along the way as we got older.  The idea of savoring each moment, rather than looking down at our wristwatch and dashing off to another commitment on autopilot, was sublime.

We have carefully built, layer-by-layer, a comfortable life, but I wonder, at what cost?  Each layer represents a decision, a choice, always with a long-term focus.  Did a fear of the unknown, or the uncertain, keep us in places far past the expiration date? Did our well-laid out futuristic plans cast a dark shadow on living in the moment?  Is it even possible to balance the present and the future; experiences and things; life and responsibilities with smart minimalism? 

Join us on our trip – our spontaneous, vagabonding, backpacking, seize-the-moment, adventure - on this journey we call life.

The countdown to our adventure has begun.....7 days and counting.....

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