I’m A Minimalist

light weight packWhen it comes to travel,  particularly backpacking, I’m a fiend about getting lighter.

I cut the boundaries off of maps. You know that little bit of white boarder that ring the outer edges of printed maps? Who needs that when your backpacking (in my mind I just heard some of my travel companions answer, “For fire starter, you dope!”).

I’m not near as radical as my friend Scoobyphotos.com. That guy would do the Naked and Afraid episode in a heart beat! You really got to meet this guy.

I use a collapsible, telescopic fishing pole so the rod doesn’t require extra navigation through dense tree limbs, branches, and underbrush.

Now, I do splurge on underwear…I have a fresh change daily. I had a travel companion one time that said, “Why don’t you just turn them inside out? That’s about as fresh as I get.” Whew! That was the last tent-for-two I had with that one!

Tooth paste tube, no sir, just  few squeezes into a coin size packet, double wrapped and I’m good to go for a week.

It’s a mini light, not a full size flashlight for me. I take a headlamp that uses coin size batteries and multi-LED bulbs.

Tent? Who needs a tent when you have a lightweight netted hammock and a rain poncho that doubles as a covering over the hammock for sun or for night time mist?

One pair of lightweight hard soled sandle with a low quarter lightweight breathable well structured hiking shoe and I can go forever.

Two pair of those pants to shorts (zipper right at the knee on both pant legs) will serve just fine for whatever I walk into.

A purifying water bottle and a light weight cook pot with collapsible handle, coupled with a spork (spoon curved fork) and a three bladed pocket knife takes care of most needs.

Now obviously that’s a spring to fall in the south kind of travel list. The point is, you can do a whole lot of things with a whole lot less of things just about any time you go traveling.

When the winter comes in the south, I add two more layers with a short tee, a long sleeve tee and a zip goose down vest (arms and hood zip off as needed).

Dehydrated packs of a few staples gives me the confidence to use a bandaid box of lures and tackle to catch the fish I plan to eat all week long. A small double compartment salt on one end and pepper on the other takes care of my spices. Drink mixes in tubular packets are all I need to create variety for flavor, snack or meal.

I carry a small trail blazer medical kit that gets me by and an emergency survival kit no bigger than a billfold.

Nature never feels more natural than when you visit with less than 20 lbs of gear. You walk in and you walk out and there’s no evidence you’ve even been there (except of course to those very impressive trackers who read the time, the weight, the speed, and the intent of every turned blade of grass that a visitor may have stepped on during that brief encounter with the wild). It’s scary, I know some guys like that.

Binary Compensation Is NOT Light

Binary Seems So Light and Rightpyramid design

If you’ve done any study about MLM, you understand that compensation plans can be very confusing.

A person can say, “We pay 75% commission on the products that you sale.” You can think, “Wow, if I sell a $10 product, it’s $7.50 in my pocket. If I sell a $100 product, I’m walking away with $75 in my pocket.” It’s OK to think that, it’s just that isn’t right.

The 75% is the total commission paid out on the product and you may be sharing that both upline and downline, but you are definitely not getting the full 75%, or the business you are working for could be no more.

  • Binary compensation is a common plan used in MLM businesses. It is one of the most appealing and most popular. The problem is, it works for the company more than it works for you, in most cases.

The basic sense of binary is the bi equally two. There is the:

  • two you recruit
  • two legs on which you recruit
  • two directions to help you recruit

That’s it? Yep, it’s just that simple and that’s why it’s popular.

  • Two you recruit: You only have to recruit two into the system
  • Two legs: Each person you recruit starts a leg; You have two legs to develop. No more, no less.
  • Two directions: Those whom you recruit and spillage allows those above you to help those below you, there are only two legs that need to stay constructed.

What makes that so alluring?

  • Most prospects quickly buy into the strong possibility they could find two other people who will be as interested and as motivated to buy in and stay in.
  • Most prospects believe the same will happen with any two they enlist (they each can find two others equally suited to the task)
  • Most prospects enjoy the help coming from above and from below, it fosters team spirit to strengthen the legs.

So, why is it so heavy…seems light to me?

  • Bi means two legs…but your commission is only figured on the weaker leg. So, you have a “power leg” and a “pay leg.”
  • Once you are placed in a leg, there is no changing from strong to weak to sure up the weaker side and get more commissions.
  • If one “power leg” just takes off, grows and sells at an enormous rate, you’re still only paid at the weaker “pay leg” rate.

OK, I’m just going to be very careful to get equally strong members on each leg.

That is everyone’s expectation. Invariable, those who achieve it tend to end up on the same leg and it becomes even more outrageously powerful than the pay leg. In fact, a frequent request from new recruits who understand this dynamic is, “I’ll come in, but I want to be part of the power leg side.” The problem with that is, the power stays out of balance with the weak, pay leg. The advantage of that is, you have a strong leg, so in actuality, you only have to work on the weak leg. That in effect reduces your focus and effort from working on two legs, to just strengthening your pay (weak) leg.

I’ve Always Been Fascinated With The Diminutive

Have you seen the Russian stackable dolls? They are described in so many ways. Stacking, stackable, nested, nesting, it really makes no difference. These things are amazing!

The real name is matryoshka. Most say it comes from a very popular name for females particularly among the peasant class of Russia. Seeming to always carry the theme of reproduction, the concept is attributed to a matriarchal figure. In fact, many Russians refer to these series of wooden dolls as babushka dolls, a term that refers to a grandmother or elderly woman.

These dolls usually begin with the outer, larger form of a woman dressed in a traditional jumper (a shapeless Russian dress or overlay). The painting is quite elaborate and depicts all types of characters from fairy tales or even Russian heritage leaders.

A series of several (usually no less than 7, but can be twice or thrice that number) wooden dolls descending in size, are each capable of being halved as a shell for the next smaller figure until it typically ends in the smallest baby figure, a solid piece that can not be halved.

There’s just something about being able to occupy the same space with more than what meets the eye. It intrigues me and it always has.

Tell me, do you take up more space inside your space with something more?

Socrates, 470-399 BC, was attributed with the saying, “The unexamined life is a life not worth living.” Interesting, isn’t, that there are is no content in all of archaeology that is attributed directly to be the hand of Socrates? That’s true. All we know of his sayings are the quotations shared by his students or the students of his students. I wonder if he ever thought what he was saying was worth writing? The word unwritten is a word not worth saying?

Socrates at the very least was saying, “Occupy more than the space you find yourself to be.” It’s a metaphysical, mental kind of thing.

Traveling light doesn’t mean you don’t think heavily. Ponder, consider, enjoy.

Make use of that which is around you, trying to replenish or to mutual sustain that which you use. That’s traveling light.

It’s much more than recycling. It is taking it a step further. Find the use of that which you think to discard. Preserve its use without turning into a pack rat. A pack rat is motivated to keep something for a future use and then forgetting it is available to be used. It just accumulates to no one’s betterment.

Examine your life. Stack that which is stackable. Nest that which can be nested. Find the extending life of the value of what you thought to discard. Use it now.

That’s traveling light.

How do you travel? Is it to consume without replenishing? Is it to count on the services of others without a care for sustaining those services for others?

The other day I mentioned to a man in the restaurant we just entered. “Hey, you left your lights on in your vehicle. The dome light must be still glowing. It hasn’t turned off.” To which he replied, “It’s just a rental. The battery won’t run down until I get back to it. No problem.” Is he occupying the space in which he is located?

Let’s care for one another.

Princess The Prius

I got a new car!


I call her Princess. I’ve already driven close to 1,000 miles. I can’t stop driving. I get 53 miles to the gallon! Fifty-three miles to the gallon! Two gallons and I go more than one hundred miles!

I’m excited. Princess has everything. Lightweight doors, lightweight glass, aerodynamic hood and even the rear lights are shaped in contour to avoid any resistance to the wind.

The battery and gas alternate as sources of power. When you put on the brake on go downhill or simply let off of the gas, there’s magic! The computer added axle and individual wheel driven assistance provides charge to the battery.

I can switch from power, to economic, to intermediate for the application of power and strength by the battery and the gasoline through the engine to help with steep hills or long, plateaus.

I took it into the mountains of Colorado and never lost acceleration on the climb and when I was descending the mountain the onboard display said I was getting more than 99 miles to the gallon…saving so much energy the little car couldn’t even register!

I can charge my mobile devices by USB or through the regular plug in charger.

It came with Sirius on board for 90 days and satellite radio is the way to go! The audio system is balanced in every way and the high fidelity contrast holds the bass and treble in perfect harmony.

Princess comes with a backup camera that concaves to give me full view as I go into reverse, and even at dusk the view is visible and helpful.

Traveling light is a real experience.

It does sit very low to the surface of the road, but unfortunately and fortunately together, I had to go through a flash flood of about 24 inches. Princess just swam right through it, no leaks to the floor board or door seals. No stalls to the engine. I was so scared and so thankful. I couldn’t be prouder.

The leg room is amazing. Princess can accommodate my 6’3″ father in the front or the back. He’s even thinking of getting him a Prince of a Prius.

When I asked the salesman what was the most common complaint or problem the new Prius owners had, he said, “It’s funny.”

“The most common complaint is, ‘I ran out of gas.'”

I said, “What! I thought these things were great about saving gas.” He said, “They are. In fact they are so great about it, that people get out of their 5 to 7 day, ‘I’ve got to fill up again.'”

What was happening is that the drivers look and see they have so much gas still in the tank, that they drive right past the regular fill up habit that have formed for so long. Monday comes and they don’t have to fill up. Ten days later, when they have gotten use to not needing gas, they stop watching the gas fluid level.

When they get out of the habit of stopping to fill up on Monday, and they stop watching the gas fluid level, they all of a sudden run out of gas because they forgot to check! That’s hilarious! Saving so much on gas that you forget to check the gas gauge.

That hasn’t happened to Princess, but it is true. I have to learn the new routine of putting gas in every 12 to 14 days instead of every 6 to 7 days. And, when I put the gas in, it doesn’t take as many gallons to fill it up. That means less money into the tank and more money for other things.

Princess Prius comes with a maintenance plan. No cost to me for the first year or 24,000 miles. All the engine oil changes, the tire rotations, the mechanical and fluid checks, all of it at no additional cost.

I feel like the Princess and I’ve got one parked in my garage!


Travel Light With A Heavy Load

There is always an opportunity to lessen the load.

We have have the choice about our thoughts and our actions. Sometimes our actions can be coerced because they are detectable, but our thoughts are our own.

Choices can hem in our thoughts and keep us from being in control in the moment based on choice beforehand. If we were to choose a stimulant, our synapses can fire quicker and our reactions can be swifter or we can choose a suppressant and our responses can be slower. The choice is ours, the actions are a result of our choices. Even our thoughts are under our control.

The choice of traveling light with a heavy load is always ours to make. The ancient Greeks called it hupomoneo. In English it’s translated to hupo= under; moneo= remain; or specifically endure. By remaining under the heavy load rather than casting it off, you develop endurance. Endurance comes not from casting off the load, but learning to travel light with the heavy load.

One primary way to travel light despite the load is not to carry an unresolved attitude regarding the load. If you are constantly asking, “Should I be carrying this burden?” or “This isn’t my fault, somebody else has done this.” then you become weary psychologically as well as psychosomatically.

 Aesop Fables

Aesop, an ancient Greek fable teller (fabulist) living in late 500 BC, told the tale of a man and his son journeying to market with their donkey. A traveler bound in the opposite direction said something deriding like, “you idiots, why isn’t someone at least riding the donkey?”

The man then sat his son on the donkey and they continued to the market.

Along the way a group of travelers approach and one of them spoke insultingly, “What an ill-instructed son, he rides and makes his father walk!”

So, the father commands the boy to walk, while he rode on the donkey.

Then, no sooner had the group passed and two women passed the son, father, and donkey. One woman turned to the other and said, “What a poor excuse for a father, riding and making his poor son trudge along side.”

Not sure what to do, the man placed his son in front of him as the two of them rode the donkey on into town.

As they entered town the jeers continued. “Why would you burden that poor donkey with the weight of you and your son?”

Having tried everything else, they decided to cut a sturdy pole, tied the donkey’s hooves together, and shoulder the pole. They carried the donkey into the town.

As they came to a small bridge the donkey freed one hoof, got caught in the slats of the bridge, and the boy dropped his end of the pole. The donkey feel over the railing and into the water only to finally drown, having his other hooves tied to the pole.

The response to the fable through the years has been as varied as the audience.

“Get off your a$$ and walk”

“You always end up looking like an a$$ when you try to please everybody.”

“No matter what you do, if you follow the advice of those around you, you’ll lose your a$$ in the end.”

My take is, travel light with a heavy load by deciding for yourself what the load is actually going to be. Then, set your plans to endure for the sake of endurance and the prize that always comes in the end.