Living Out Of A Backpack

 After returning from a ten day trip to the Grand Canyon, I have to say my perspective has changed greatly about how many awesome things there are to see in this country. It’s amazing how many sights there are to see in your own backyard.

I have also found my perspective has changed yet again on just how much useless junk I have lying around. Walk into my room and you may notice I own less than most people living in this area of the world. Over the past year I have adopted many minimalist habits. By not being obsessed with material things, you not only set yourself up for a rock solid financial situation, you free up a lot of mental space as well, making you a higher functioning and happier human being.

What am I talking about when I say mental space? A lot of people do not realize the amount of time and effort that goes into maintaining the things they own. Cleaning, organizing, fixing, or looking for misplaced objects because it is easy to lose items in your sea of stuff.

After living out of a backpack for ten days, I am surprised to come back and see all of the junk I still possess for no logical reason at all. Old books I don’t intend on reading again, mounds of art supplies from grade school that some child out there could be using, and shelves of miscellaneous other things collecting dust. These are all objects that slowly take up my time and energy. 

Knowing this about your material possessions is a very powerful tool when it comes to decreasing your spending. It allows you to view every purchase as a potential lifelong burden. Do i really need this item? Or will it end up taking more from me than it gives in the long run?

For many it sounds like crazy talk to live on as little as possible. There was a time when I too was skeptical about the idea of living a rich life by living on less. However i am continually shocked at how my quality of life does not decrease as I learn to live on less. This trip was one yet another wake up call to me on just how little physical items we truely need.

Here is a list of the things I brought with me for my trip

  • Clothing: two shirts, a pair of shorts, socks and underwear, PJ’s
  • Medical: toothbrush and paste, band-aids and gauze, Advil, cough drops, insect repellent
  • Cell phone, charger, tablet for pictures and blogging
  • Gallon ziplock bags full of dry food (nuts, granola, protein powder, fruit)
  • Wallet

With this I satisfied all my needs, I kept clean and fed, and being around my two good friends provided endless entertainment. So now as I transition back into home life, I will take with me the lessons learned about how much I really need all this stuff. I will be increasing my efforts to minimalize my time spent on tangible objects and maximize time spent on the experiences I wish to have.
Update on Frugal Vacation:  after the unexpected costs of replacing TWO control arms and re-aligning my front axle, total trip costs came to $305, not bad for a ten day cross-country trip!