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Why Do I Explore? Simplicity

I want simplicity. I am eager to pare my life down to the basics once again. My life is becoming flabby at home, the creeping lassitude of easy living. I need a crash diet. It’s time to get out of this place.

Simplicity of possessions feels difficult to embrace, accustomed as I am to life, liberty and the pursuit of stuff. Yet it is liberating and enriching once I do it. Having to carry every one of my possessions through a hot Indian day is a sweaty penance for materialism, a purgatory that helps focus the mind on what I really need. It feels good to carry my world on my back. I could travel and live this lightly forever.

As well as a lighter physical load I also wanted a lighter mental load. Simplicity of purpose. I walked away from all the clutter in my life. I switched off my phone, put a smug Out of Office response on my email, and left it all behind. I certainly left some important things. But the buzz came from leaving behind all the non-important stuff that suffocates my life.

Find something you love. Do it well. Do it often.

With the reduction comes an appreciation of what I left behind, all that I have to be grateful for and a reminder that my ‘real life’ should not equate to a compromised mediocrity.

Walking the length of a river all the way to its source is a metaphor for simplicity. I began at a broad, stagnant delta. As I walked upstream the river became smaller and smaller. It was like meditation: paring layers away, searching for the source, for who I really am and what really matters to me. At the river’s source flowers floated in the holy well; the very essence of the river. The simpler things are the happier I am.

This text is an extract from There Are Other Rivers, available as a giant mappazine or a free Kindle sample.

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