We Don’t Own Things–Things Own Us! – Weekly Lessons from the Road

Ready to head out for a three month adventure in Baja.
Ready to head out for a three month adventure in Baja.

It is always the same every time I get ready for an adventure. I get so wrapped up in the planning and packing that I’m exhausted by the time I throw my leg over the motorcycle and twist the throttle. And what is craziest about all this is I always pack too much which is half the reason I’m tired in the first place. I realize it is not the effort of packing but how all that stuff weighs on the mind.

I learned from many past adventures, that, except for emergency gear, if you haven’t used it in first three days you don’t need it. So I pack it up and send it home at the first chance I get. This makes for better traveling; as packing and unpacking gear is faster and less cumbersome when setting up and breaking down camp and its just plain easier to find where I stashed something on the motorcycle. Life on the road becomes less cluttered.

So, while it is easier for me now days to get ready for an adventure, I still pack more than I need. And really, I’m down to one pair cargo pants that make into shorts, two pairs of underwear, one Jetbol to cook in–you get the picture.

I have slowly grown into to a minimalist on the road. But what I’m noticing is that this philosophy has carried over into my life off the road. After several months out, I return needing less, and more, importantly, wanting less.

To paraphrase Thoreau, we don’t own things–things own us.

Have any of you found this to be true? Or is it just me?

Author: Baja Moto Quest!

I am an educator who came out of retirement to consult with school districts, but I also live to ride my R1200GSA motorcycle as much as I can especially in Baja! In fact, without those adventures into the outback of Baja, I wouldn't be able to give my all at work or write. I've written a novel, Almost Human which was published recently and am working on the sequel, More Than Human.

11 thoughts on “We Don’t Own Things–Things Own Us! – Weekly Lessons from the Road”

  1. Too true. The one thing my sisters and I said after my mom passed away a year ago was “It is time to lessen the load” we don’t need it and our kids don’t need to have to deal with it when we pass.

  2. What a very poignant post! I am not an adventurer, but I related this post to my tendency to always pack too many worries and concerns and then it exhausts me and most of the time the stuff I worry about never happens! So I am going to keep this post very close to my heart and if I apply your advice, I may end up with a lot less baggage. Thank you! And please stay safe and go well. iTener un viaje seguro!

  3. Connectivity is always a challenge in the outback of Baja but the little pueblas usually have something. This is a short run of only about 10 days to check on my place in bahia de los angeles to see how it fared after the hurricane.

  4. It’s funny, I never imagined much effort went into packing for a motorcycle ride because there isn’t much room to put things. I’ve never been on a long motorcycle adventure. I don’t own a bike, but I jump at the chance to go for a ride whenever it comes along. Of all the rides I have been on, riding through the mountains has been my favorite. Another thing your post made me think of was how much easier it is for me to be a minimalist at home. I know you said being a minimalist on the road has made you more of a minimalist at home. I don’t like having a lot of stuff at home. I hate junk. I hate useless stuff. I hate clutter. However, on a road trip, I literally try to pack everything I own. It’s like I want to be prepared for anything and everything. Isn’t that crazy?

    1. The challenge on a moto trip as in life is to pack only what you need not want. This requires being creative about multiple purposes an item can serve. An aluminum pannier not only carries gear but serves as a seat and, oh, is the platform for the stove…. That is the real challenge of packing for a three month moto adventure and still travel light. It works in life as well.

  5. Yes I’ve found it to be true. I don’t travel much but when I do I take less than most. Even in my home, too many things clutter my brain. I’m always filling a box to give a way. And still we have too much.

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