Travel light


photo courtesy of Annie Spratt

I’m a great believer in travelling light. Without being over prescriptive, I think it’s a universal panacea, if only people could understand the great benefits that this simple philosophy brings. I’ve reached this decision over five decades and, while I don’t intend to live in a yurt somewhere in the Finnish wilderness  existing on a diet of lichens and berries, I do intend to shed as much excess as possible.

I started to ponder this issue after a brief but entertaining encounter this weekend with a young couple (millennials)  hoping to buy an IKEA bed which is currently (still) languishing in our garage. My wife placed an advert on line offering it for a knock down price of 50 euros including all the necessary extras to fit a full sized mattress (in this case a futon, as we were told over numerous phone calls from said couple).

Now we don’t view the selling of an eight-year-old bed for 50 euros as an act of charity. We do, however, feel it is well aligned with travelling light and we are both happy if goods that have outlived their time in our home can find use in another.

The couple arrived (first announcing that they didn’t have the 50 euros to hand) and were directed to the garage where after a very long and drawn out inquiry about endless details (which resulted in my wife and I exchanging a brief but exasperated look), the couple feeling ‘the pressure of the sale’, asked us to give them time to consider their purchase. Unfortunately, the moment had passed and shortly afterwards they drove off into the night without the bed.

In real terms we were told during that tense negotiation that they weren’t sure they needed the bed in the first place. If they had followed the simple motto I raise in this blog, they could have saved the petrol and time, and let’s not forget, our patience too.

So, after this brief but illustrative tale of excess desire and futility , I offer you a crib sheet of prescriptions for daily living:

Don’t buy shit you don’t need (after a while your possessions own you)

You only need five good friends in life (if you can’t find a fifth, create an imaginary one).

Enjoy half a loaf ( but make sure it’s organic and sourced locally from a farmer’s market)

Don’t be afraid to enjoy time during the day doing absolutely nothing

Avoid anal retention

There it is. If you follow my advice you will start to create a well aired space into which good things flow in and flow out. And now, without the slightest hint of irony, I’m off to IKEA.




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