There are only so many times we can talk about wanting to pare down our belongings in life before people just roll their eyes and agree with the “yea, that would be nice to live a more minimal lifestyle.” Well while I'm not perfect, I have begun to realize what really matters to me in life and what pieces I can do without. This in turn has been slowly allowing me more and more freedom to feel less tied down by material possessions and more free to do the things I love like spending more time outside or with friends and family. My most prized possessions are the ones that allow me the freedom to get outside, be active, creative and enjoy the world we live in. I love my skis and my mountain bike- period the end. My sleeping bags, sleeping pad and tend allow me the freedom to travel and use my skis and bike as well as explore new places on the cheap. I frequently sleep in my car in some random back corner of a parking lot hidden from the rest of the world at night, and these funny stories are what are getting me to the places I love and doing the different activities I want to do.
Now while I am enjoying the paring down process I am also frequently considering the option of an extended cross country road trip and looking into the possibilities of figuring out how to pack and fit everything my dog, Kit & I will need for several months and this is helping fuel the process. Every few weeks I am fully caffeinated late at night and I go on a cleaning rampage where when I find something I know I have not used in several years or it is clothing that does not fit I put it into a pile. And I have several distinct piles: Trash (landfill), Recycling, and Donation Pile at the dump, outdoor gear consignment and fashion clothes consignment. The paring down process also has me realizing that while not everything is trash and a lot of it is very usable products I have been working hard to try and keep as much as possible out of the landfill waste situation. I am not perfect- yes I have purchased a lot of these items new BUT I have learned the value of a quality product and when to save my money. And sometimes some of my most prized possessions are not those that I have purchased but have received as gifts, or second hand. And frequently we all end up with more than we want- it's easy to accumulate items, especially if they are coming to you for free or for a great price.
Owing less and adventuring more is a battle many outdoor enthusiasts like myself battle and face daily. There are the boxes of things that are hard to part with because someday you don't want to have to repurchase this item and those you couldn't get rid of fast enough. But there are the basics like a good bowl, mug, sleeping bag, insulating layer and hat- and good basics are always important to keep your spirits high. Then there are the gear basics and those are all dependent on your primary activities of choice whether it be skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, or fly fishing there are staple items which make those experiences most enjoyable. And ultimately with all of these possessions they are a statement of you and your personality- don't be surprised to find me on the ski hill, bike trails or local bar wearing a tutu- somethings are more important to people than others.