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June 8, 2013 / A Mindful Traveler

“The Rule Is To Carry As Little As Possible”

I’ve spent the past week packing for two reasons.  First, a week from today I’ll be flying home to the United States for the summer.  Second, my school requires that in my absence I pack my belongings so that my apartment may be cleaned.  Although simultaneously planning for four seasons in two different hemispheres has been onerous, it has been a good exercise in compelling me to consider what I really need.

As with my journey home last year, most of my luggage will be composed of things I’ve found I haven’t needed in Korea.  With the availability of both books and videos via the internet,  I need only my computer and Kindle for entertainment.  Likewise, I’ve found that I have more clothes than I need.  I’m bringing so many things back to the United States that my hope is that only one of the two bags I’m packing will return with me in August, the opposite of what I did last year.

Packing up my apartment has been more of a challenge, since I still need certain necessities for the final week of the school year.  Selecting these has been a stressful process, so much so that I’ve needed to take breaks from it, by reading Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man.  The crucial parallel I’ve found between his life and mine is in the physical, mental, and temporal space removing my belongings  has given me.  Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal that “the rule is to carry as little as possible.” (July 22, 1857)  His observation does not only apply to packing.

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