Four bags and a week and a half into my trip I realized I have too much stuff. The inconvenience of being a musician with equipment and having to travel for a month with it all.... someone please spare me. Honestly, it hasn't been that difficult because I've had access to transportation and there have been moments where someone is able to help me carry my load, I thank God for that, but I also see the need to take proactive measures to spare my body from harm.
Leaving Austin, I carried my estimated to be 60 lbs load about half a mile from my hostel to the bus stop. Man, talk about breaking a sweat even though it was 30 degrees. I promise you, no amount of exercise can match what it means to actually be living and traveling by backpack, big ass backpack at that.
I've been settled into New Orleans for about a week now, feel like this is a good place for me to get grounded so I decided to stay here the longest. It's been great because I have access to a house, vehicle, wifi, and laundry. I hardly feel like a hippy. Having to survive off of ebt, it's been nice to have a kitchen, it forces me to eat right rather than eat out. And the culture is so rich here that I feel comforted and welcomed by nearly everyone I've met, makes for easy going conversation and a lot of learning.
Anyway, because I've been here for a week I had an opportunity to repack my bags and try to reorganize everything. When I first set out on this trip, I packed the "bare essentials", or so I thought, but as the load began weighing on my shoulders I had to figure out how to best minimize all that I was carrying. After recalling watching my father pack and looking up some pretty cool YouTube videos, I found a solution that worked for me and consolidated my bags from four to three. And although I have most of the same stuff, the weight distribution makes it so much easier to carry everything. What a relief!
What is cool and significant about consolidating was that I began to realize how little relevance some items had. Something I thought I'd depend on for the month but hadn't used in a week, I overestimated the value of that product. Not being surrounded by irrelevance makes you realize what is actually relevant to you.
Life is similar to that. We hold on to baggage. Sometimes physical, sometimes emotional. I'm learning in this journey that I cannot hold on to too much baggage or the weight will be unbearable, it'll slow me down and keep me from progressing properly.. To truly be minimalist must also mean to roam through life with a clear head and heart and maintain a body that's not going to fall apart anytime soon. That's necessary, and people often overlook that. And going back to weight distribution, have you ever stopped to assess how well you're balancing your baggage. Are you holding on to things that have no relevance? I know I am.. So as I pack and repack, I also focus and refocus. In every moment I look at the mindset before I act. I've never done that before. This is a big change for me. I am consolidating my life, physically and emotionally, and truly becoming the minimalist I set out to become.
At the end of the day, minimalist to me has meant, God first, me second, and then the rest of the world. I feel good about my decisions, protected by God's grace, and encouraged by the gifts he's given me.