In 2001, we started backpackinglight.com on the premise that one's wilderness travel experience would be "heightened" (a simplification which defines the complex result of elevated satisfaction in emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical experience) if they had to carry less weight in their backpack. This reduction in weight could be achieved in two meaningful ways:
- Less stuff could be carried (fewer items); and
- Lighter stuff could be carried (simpler, smaller items).
In the past 15 years, these two principles (less, and lighter) have applied themselves to so many other areas of my life that I couldn't imagine living on a trajectory of more, and heavier. In fact, the thought of more gives me great anxiety, whether it's weight in my pack, the fraction of my time that has been allocated to predetermined commitments, or the amount of drama I'm experiencing in professional, family, or personal relationships.
My own path to becoming a student of minimalism as a life philosophy was borne out of first being a student of reducing the weight of the equipment that I carried for wilderness expeditions. Through those expeditions, and the process of lightening up in general, I've learned much about the outcomes of a minimalist approach. It naturally follows then, being a fiercely intuitive type as classified by Myers-Briggs et al., that I've tried to transfer what I've learned in the backcountry to other areas of my life.
What I've discovered on this journey, however, is not simplicity so much, but complexity.
You see, when I've tried to enforce a paradigm of simplicity to any particular area of my life, it has revealed the vast complexity of what it was like before, and it has given me the clarity to see the complexity that still remains around me that I could not see before. And that's the thing with seeing life through a lens of minimalism - as the reduction process evolves, you see things you didn't see before.
Thus I can propose a confident hypothesis that minimalism leads to clarity. That clarity comes in a variety of forms - clarity of what material items you should own, how much money you need to live on, what relationships are most important (and likewise, which one's aren't).
If you're thinking about this, you might then start to realize that as you gain clarity in various areas of your life, you'll gain clarity for the most important things: clarity of purpose. Clarity of your calling. Clarity in your decision-making. This would be a beautiful way to live!
I will explore this concept in much greater detail here as we go.
So while I have much to say (and much more still to learn) about the philosophies, tools, mechanisms, and processes of minimalism, my real heart with Pack Less, Be More is to share with the reader how life's more challenging moments can be approached through a lens of minimalism as a philosophy. For it's in these moments - trials if you will - where the rubber meets the road, and where we have the best opportunity to learn and grow - i.e., to be more.