Bare Essentials

Watauga Lake

Our campsite alongside the Watauga Lake

Life on the trail is a stripped down version of a life and one that takes things down to the basics. This could be viewed as a simple life but simple does not imply an easy life. Thoreau might say that simple is better (I’ve never actually finished Walden) and there are certainly some benefits, but the stripped down and simple life shows me the value and benefits that come with a life more enriched and filled.

The simple is a positive and is part of the reason I’ve done these treks every few years. By stripping life down to the basics, we are able to look at life in a different way and evaluate what is important. We have time to think about what we’ve done in life and what we want to do still. We have little to worry about other than life’s necessities of food, water, and shelter; we also get into pretty good shape.

However, we have quickly realized that there are some things that are less simple that we greatly look forward to adding back to our lives. I really look forward to getting back into running, to cooking good meals, and reading books. I look forward to being able to relax in front of a good movie with some popcorn and ice cream too. I also think a bed for Julie and I would be excellent as well. These are not big luxuries but out here, they are and they’re things we look forward to enjoying again.

We also think about what sort of life we want to build when we’re finished. After our previous hike, we decided to focus on building a career life and building around the job. This time around, we have the opportunity to go in many different directions. Whatever way we go, it will be nice to start building back again.

Stripping life to the bare essentials is an important part of life for us but probably most important simply because it enables us to rebuild anew. The challenge out here is to enjoy the present and not get too caught up in the parts of life we don’t have. Those times will come soon enough and when they do, we’ll embrace them and do as well as we can with whatever life we decide to build next.

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