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Socrates once said, “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.        Standing at the edge of some lonely road, thumb high with a huge smile on my face.  The first car slows to a stop and picks me up.  “Where are you headed?” My Chauffer admits to having never picked up a hitchhiker but I seemed so friendly.  When I let on to my destination she immediately questions my light load.  The truth is I’m first headed to Seattle to have my Watch shipped to Geneva for service, my trip although less exotic will be far more  adventurous.  6 weeks from now when we are reunited we will both be shiny, overhauled and as good as new. Minimalism isn’t about poverty, it’s the exact opposite.

Take a moment out of your busy life, find a quiet corner and try and remember back to your childhood when you were free. I could spend hours running through the park chasing clouds, catching frogs and stomping though puddles. The truest wealth I know in this world is that I can and often do still engage in such luxurious activities. My infatuation with daypacks started when I was 10. After the family had gone to sleep I would crawl out the window with a carefully packed bag, pick up my walking stick and head out to explore the night. One of my favorites was stealthing around the high security of the Huntington library. The grounds were huge and I had mapped out every inch. The highlight of the night was ringing the giant gong in the Japanese gardens and fleeing from security. They never once did catch me.

As soon as my New Tom Bihn Synapse 19 was shipped I made a giant sidetrack home, grabbed it, stuffed it, admired it  and jumped right back on the ferry. January has been a near nonstop month of travel, much more to come in February, actually I’ll be more or less living out of this pack for the rest of the year.  I’ve had my eyes on this baby for years but already having so many kewl bags I just couldn’t justify it till now. Its one thing to bobble around the islands with a half haphazardly packed bag but I’m going rogue.  I need the best damn bag on the planet and this truly is it.

My little boat house is almost empty, I’m taking minimalism to the extreme. Back in my jet set days I had an old saying, change your location not your clothes. I always had a bag packed beside my desk, I never knew when I would get the call but I was always ready and the phone rang often.  My travel style is bring half as much stuff and twice as much money.  I’ve never not been able to find everything I need on the cheap regardless of what country I’m in. Years ago I ran a website called the Daypack Diary, it was the most fun website I have ever had but the industry fell off a cliff with mass produced poorly designed look a like junk and my interest waned.  I killed the site as I often do looking for something more meaningful to occupy my free time.

I first laid eyes on the Tom Bin Synapse 19 when I met a hippie girl living in a hammock on Maui. I briefly wrote about her but never forgot about the pack or her minimalist attitude.  She carried little more than a hammock, sarong and a bag of nuts, fruit can be found anywhere in the islands.  I was packing light but she was free as a bird. I don’t want to be bothered with the responsibility of possessions anymore so I’m moving into the pack for the rest of the year or at least half of it so I have space for snacks and a stellar bottle of wine. As a society we are choked with personal belongings, over abundance and with each growing year accumulated waste in epic proportions. I’m feng shuing my life to the extreme or actually the opposite of extreme.

Way back when as a naive young photojournalist I always kept a few thousand dollars in cash and my passport tucked away in my camera bag. I could fly anywhere in the world for a grand, I still can. Upon arrival in each new world all I had was my small camera bag and half filled daypack. By traveling so light I found it easy to hitch-hike anywhere. My scant few possessions never held me back, it was the opposite. I found in traveling so lightly that it opened many doors and there was always room for the young kid with such a small footprint.

My life’s goal has always teetered towards minimalism. To not be surrounded by disposable cheap Chinese shit. To buy American, live slowly and care for and protect the planet I live on, my home. This year will be my tenth in my boycott of automobiles. I no longer shower with any soaps whatsoever, nothing goes down the drain but water. I intentionally walk barefoot everywhere I can to live and move slowly to stay grounded and connected to the earth. Free love, free spirit, open, aware, involved, engaged, eyes wide open and always eagerly learning…

The Tom Bihn pack is made in America, these pictures don’t even come close to showing the amazing craftsmanship, attention to detail or thoughtful design behind this amazing piece of art. I’m sitting at the train station as I write these words, I can’t imagine what adventure lies in wait but where ever I end up I have all the essentials for a trip around the world…

“You need to belong to yourself, and let others belong to themselves too. You need to be free and detached from things and your surroundings. You need to build your home in your own simple existence, not in friends, lovers, your career or material belongings, because these are things you will lose one day.” 
― Charlotte Eriksson

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