What have you realized after living out of your backpack these past (17) days?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the past couple weeks is the simple yet overlooked principle: “Less is More.” In preparation for the trek, we each packed approximately 1-2 pairs of pants, 3-4 long/ short sleeved shirts, and 3-5 pairs of socks- with no guarantee of being able to do laundry. The concept of wearing the same sweaty clothes day after day may seem pretty gross too many of you, but with time it becomes the new normal, and looking back, I even wish I brought less than I did. As little as a few pounds makes a world of difference when you’re carrying the weight on your back every day, or in layman’s terms, less is more.
In another sense of the words, less is more because when you’re trekking with a group of people, sharing what you have becomes vital and valuable for everyone in the group- you distribute what you have with one another. There was no need for the fifteen of us to each bring our own individual sunscreen or laundry soap for a short 17 days- so we shared what we had in order to carry out a successful trip together- a very important lesson for anyone.
The lifestyle of carrying everything on your back forces you to think deeply about what you really need, not just what you think you need. In the end, all you really need is food, water, shelter, weather protection, and a positive attitude. Once you cover all these necessities, it comes down to you and your team to enjoy the process & journey. Being on the move every day is exciting and fun, but the same 6:00am-8:00pm daily routine can be gruelling- especially without a good night’s sleep. Nonetheless, a light pack, and more importantly a light-hearted attitude and mindset, keeps you going, even when the “going gets tough” so to speak.
To answer the initial question- I’m not exactly sure what the most important thing I’ve learned over the past 17 days is- but I can confidently say I feel stronger, more grateful for what I have, and most importantly, I feel comfortable carrying my own weight (in both the literal and figurative senses of the word). & Last but not least, the less weight you carry (physical + emotional), the more room you have to take in everything around you, grow from your experiences, and then bring those lessons and memories home with you.