There is an old zen story about a man, who had to chop wood and carry water, and it was such a burden. Then, he became Enlightened. After Enlightenment, he still had to chop wood and carry water… and while he was doing the exact same thing, his perspective was totally different, it wasn’t a burden at all, it was a beautiful part of life.
I loved my little pack, I had carefully researched and purchased the smallest pack I could comfortably live out of. It was made out of waxed cotton so all of my contents would stay dry in the wet Pacific Northwest weather. It was just large enough to carry everything I need. This beautiful little pack was my world travel bag, grocery getter, and laundry sac. It carried everything I need and had space for more. I didn’t live in my day pack, I lived out of it. When it went away It was a big loss but I doubt I will replace it anytime soon, I simply switched to a smaller pack that I already have and will make due. I was recently asked how I can possibly live in such a small boat. I don’t live in it, I live out of it. Like my day pack it carry’s everything I could possibly need with space for more. I’ve had bigger nicer boats for sure but they didn’t make me any happier, sure they might have been a bit nicer or more comfortable but at what cost.
I have been doing a great amount of research on retiring broke and the key ingredient is living with less, not more. Like my boat that beautiful little pack was a monkey on my back, we were inseparable. Each day I strive to have just a little bit less, and each day I become just a little bit closer to freedom. I have a saying on the boat, 2 is 1, 1 is none. While I try and find double duty for every Item I carry on the boat I also try and find a back up for that item should one go overboard or be damaged. One thing I can say for sure is the better I get at provisioning and downsizing the bigger this little boat gets. I still have 4 giant holes in the boat that represent 25% of the most efficient storage on the boat, They remain empty and useless as I try and decide exactly what I need verse what I want, there is no hurry and I let the boat speak to me. I have decided on a Sardine wood burning stove and while the purchase and installation will set me back nearly $4,000.00 It will take me one step closer to being off grid and open up the entire winter season to sailing and save me over $3600.00 per year. It takes half of the space of a two burner stove and oven, is safer and fuel is free.
Why do we waste so much of our life seeking more when what we already possess makes us happy right now? There is always a reason to get a larger boat, more space, an enclosed head, a nicer galley… the truth of the matter is if you can’t learn to be happy with what you have, nothing will ever make you happy. There is always going to be something different, newer, prettier, shinier…When you go home tonight take a good look at your life, if you are not completely satisfied maybe you already have too much, not too little.
Wealth cannot be measured in money, true wealth is measured in time. If you want more, work less, spend less, save more, give more. Look at that old pair of shoes and remember how many miles they have faithfully carried you before you so hastily replace them with fancy new ones. What about that old wool sweater, does it still keep you warm? Ask yourself how many pairs of pants can you actually wear at once? When is the last time you came home early from work shut off the TV and took your loved ones to the park for a picnic? I could keep going but I’m not,I’m sneaking out of the office to take my dog for a walk 🙂
One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”? The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.