We value possessions. Our entire life is surrounded by collecting stuff. Stuff gives us meaning, power, identity, and joy. But in reality, it’s meaningless. When I returned to school this semester I had the chance to figure out where I was going to put my new things from Christmas. I started looking at my great collection of stuff that had accumulated over the past four years in my home away from home. Why did I think I need all of this crap?

TrailLast month I started clearing out all the junk from my life. “A wise man once said that the things you own end up owning you…” That is a quote from Alastair Humphrey’s book There Are Other Rivers, and I adopted it as my own mentality. The less I own, the less there is that owns me. We are constantly worried if our possessions are ok as if they’re all that matters. If we owned less, then there would be less to worry about.

A wise man once said that the things you own end up owning you. On the road you have few owners…

I began gathering clothes I never wear to get rid of, and thought I might sell some of them. But why sell when I can donate? Not everyone is capable of having a job that provides them with enough income to buy brand new clothes. I gave them away, and as I did so I cleared out more space in the closet of my mind.

I’m not advocating getting rid of every earthly thing! Humans are never satisfied, and that is one of the beautiful things about us humans. It differentiates us from other animals in the world, and we should embrace it. We must redirect where we derive our satisfaction from though. I hope that I’m never satisfied, for it’s then my mind turns stagnant.

Of course, merely clearing out my house is not the end goal. My desire is to be on the road with everything on my back. “Adventure is worthwhile,” says Aesop. I long for the pain, joy, struggle, and experience that only being on the road can bring. What the road is – a mountain trail or dirt foot path – only time can tell.

HikingBy James Kennedy



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