We Don’t Own Things, Things Own Us!

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

It’s always the same. Every time I start planning and packing for an adventure, I get so wrapped up, I’m exhausted by the time I throw my leg over the motorcycle and twist the throttle. What’s 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 not to mention my motorcycle.

I’ve learned from many past adventures, 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. This makes for better traveling; as packing and unpacking gear is faster and less cumbersome when setting up and breaking down camp and it’s just plain easier to find where I stashed something on the motorcycle. Life on the road becomes less cluttered.

Nowadays,  it is easier for me to get ready for an adventure because I pack less. And really, I’m down to two pairs of 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 and I’m noticing 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?

I will be giving a seminar at BMW Motorcycles of Riverside, on moto camping, March 4th, and 5th if you’d like to spend some time talking about heading down distant, dusty roads toward the empty spots on the map. Oh, and we’ll talk about how to do it without carrying the kitchen sink.


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.

14 thoughts on “We Don’t Own Things, Things Own Us!”

  1. lol – even those of us who might be considered “stuff junkies” would nod in agreement as to ownership (guilty). I don’t suppose it is quite as cumbersome for those who remain safely tucked in their houses, but anyone who moves to a new location (often, in my case) or attempts to pack for a trip has no doubt who is the slave and what is the master.

    Still, “downsizing” involves decisions and priorities, and a certain reading of tea leaves as to what might be needed in the future, as income slows with age. I am struggling with getting rid of things these days, in anticipation of a final relocation, even though I’m not sure where I will end up. I’m sure there will be a kitchen sink, however, so I won’t be taking that! 🙂
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    1. A colleague and friend of mine came to a realization while downsizing to a smaller home. None of his family wanted most of the “treasures” he had collected during his life. His children were not as attached to things as he was……

      1. I have no one to leave most of my “treasures” to – not that they are worth much to anyone but me anyway. I didn’t “collect” things for posterity, but because they were useful or delightful to me. (I have been frugal most of my life, so we’re not talking expensive baubles here.)

        If I had anything I believed anyone I knew wanted, it has already been passed along. And if I still had an in-house washer/dryer, it would be a lot easier to empty my closets of the “back-up” choices. 🙂

  2. Absolutely! We have experienced the same thing coming home. We need less and want less. It has been embarassing to realise how much unnecessary and frivolous items we acquired over the years. The culling and giving away has been the best thing about coming home!! We talked about this in one of blog posts. We too have become ruthless at packing over time and even when travelling for a few days locally. It feels good – so liberating not needing so much stuff anymore!

    1. I agree with how liberating it can be to divest of things. Tammy and I will be heading across the US by way of the National BMW MOA Rally this year and plan to pack even less than last year. You really notice the difference when you hit the first sand of the trip. I’m sure you know what I talking about. 🙂

    1. i agree about books. There is something about cracking open a book. The smell, the sound, the feel…. However, I just got a Kindle Paper White and really like it. I can carry literally hundreds of books in it and toss it in my moto. Also, I can adjust the font for my aging eyes! But, at the end of the day, books are like motorcycles… You can never have too many. 🙂

    1. I agree. I try to develop routines of unloading and loading each day on the road that help me remember where thing are. And, of course, it helps to not be overwhelmed by unnecessary gear. Thanks for the post. I look forward to following your blog.

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