“That’s all your house is, it’s a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get more stuff. Now, sometimes you gotta move. You’ve gotta get a bigger house. Why? Too much stuff”
Those were the words George Carlin uttered as part of his famed “Stuff” routine in 1986 [Video Below]. And while on the eve of my move I keep hearing his words in my head and makes me feel like I still have too much stuff, albeit not nearly as much stuff as all the stuff other people have. Forget about the fact that in the last two years, save for my fishing rods, I’ve gotten rid of all my outdoor gear—dutch ovens, backpacks, outdoorsy clothing, lanterns, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, etc.— all of my everyday normal stuff still takes up two boxes each about two feet by two feet by ten inches high and yet I still feel like it’s too much stuff.
While I’m no minimalist, by the extreme definition, I’ve always been spartan and get easily annoyed with stuff just sitting there not being used. I don’t collect, keep or save things for the sake of memories and emotions. Things for me must serve a useful purpose, not satiate or elicit an emotion. Things must make sense in use, not just create a use for it to make sense— “Without purpose, there is no purpose.” Sure, I like the ideology of certain things, but rarely will I act on an ideology without thinking it through logically. In the event I do act impulsively, driven by ideology, and purchase something, I soon after end up getting rid of the item, or return it.
As I look around the internet, I see a lot of people subjugated by their gear. These people continuously purchase and carry gear which fit the ideology of their choice, often to the point of ridiculousness. These people will create reasons why they have to have this or that, yet logically makes absolutely no sense. I digress.
There are no bigger perpetrators of this ideology than preppers and survivalists. And kudos to the manufacturers and suppliers who are making a fortune by chumming these people. Like people who serve a political party or religion, survivalists and preppers are so emotionally driven, they will often have contempt for those who don’t share their ideologies, to the point of calling them stupid and uninformed. Some attempt to instill paranoia in others, all the while they are the paranoid. I am not saying it is not wise to prepare, rather a balance should be struck using logic.
Why I got rid of all of my outdoor gear
I do a fair amount of travelling, most notably to Mexico. Every time I go there, I am amazed at how rich a life poor people have. Their living conditions seem so dire, yet they make the best of it. There is no shortage an opportunity to be festive and have a good time. Through my eyes, they seem to be camping everyday. To them it’s a way of life. I truly enjoy speaking with them, staying with them, and experiencing their ways. They don’t have the latest and greatest gear. They don’t care about the fabric their packs are made from, or the steel their knives are ground from. They don’t lust over the latest sleeping bag, or cook out of a dutch oven. They have no bushcraft pursuits, yet some are so skilled at what they do, they could challenge the most hardened bushcrafter. Like many poor people, they are enterprising and happy for what little they have. So ingenious they are, I bet many would out do the prepper, survivalist and bushcrafter during the apocalypse or TEOTWAWKI. These attributes aren’t exclusive to only impoverished Mexicans. These attributes are a global extension shared by those who live similarly, or those who are part of some hunter gatherer type tribe still in existence. I guess what I’m trying to say is, “the reason I got rid of all of my gear is because it is all bull shit!”
Freedom doesn’t come from having. Freedom comes from knowing.