I sit, atop a small hillock, taking time to just enjoy being there in the moment, my time spent watching a sunset, a sunrise or the stars. Life at these points is as simple as it can be, my luxurious derriere becomes my makeshift cushion for the evenings entertainment of nature at its finest.
Nature carries on and provides no second glance, just another new anomaly in the landscape to be weary of for next time, wandering and running has taught me my level of need, the simple equation of stuff=comfort sustained me over each and every park I crossed.
It has taught me what I am capable of and also what I am not, teaching me humility and respect for the natural environment that I choose to inhabit for brief periods of time. Wandering for multiple days teaches you something very important, that want does not equal need.
In my home I have numerous objects and belongings which I believe make my life easier and happier, like anyone I love buying something new and shiny the momentary joy then subsides and the item is left to the side to be stared at for months and not used. I’ve long held that these items are just that, items, they mean little in the grand scheme of things other than brief glimpses of enjoyment and they contribute little to my general feeling of contentedness.
Walking for days across the remotest parts of the UK helps one to strip back that life, to get back to what simplicity of need over want. Maslow would argue that there are 5 different levels of need in order to be fully content or happy, psychologically speaking, that each level needs to be fulfilled before moving onto the next but in reality it is much simpler than that, its subjective what one person believes to be the need is not the case for others.
My 9kg of basic items sustained me through my various treks, warmth came from a few clothes and my sleeping bag, shelter from my little tent and food in the form of dried meals gave me sustenance to fuel my journey. The simple act of seeking a warm drink and cake became an event in itself, one to savour the reward of hard work, the warm sweet liquid coursing into my body and warming and reviving every part of me.
It was simple, no frills, living my life confined into a 40ltr bag of items that provided everything that the body and mind required for the purpose, I laugh, that little chuckle of amusement when I read blogs or posts around what is the top 10 essential items for camping or running, some people make doo with a little bivvy bag and sleeping bag, others carry 14kg of kit for a single overnight camp in the wild. Bulging bags adorn the backs of weary campers who trod like laden snails across the countryside in search of that ‘break from society’ but inherently we are all a little unwilling to give up some connections to society.
I’m no different in this respect, I fully enjoy the stripped back living arrangements, but the warmth and comfort of a shower always held a certain sway for me and lure me in like a sirens call, but its greeting and welcome are brief and the next day I leave again for the unknown.
How much kit? “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” Socrates. If a Greek philosopher was aware of this at a time when people had far less than we do now then why dose it escape us today. You learn a lot being away from the safety of home, lessons that I feel will improve my wellbeing.
For me its not about being happy with stuff, it’s about being content with what I already have in my life.