I have come to believe that the way we engage with the various stages of an adventure directly relates to the way we live our overall lives. Do we immerse ourselves in the planning phase? Relishing each minute spent detailing our moment to moment itinerary? Do we daydream about the lives we want to be leading without ever getting past the google-image searches to actually purchase a ticket? Do we throw ourselves into the travel, show up to our station without speaking the language and no clue where we will sleep that night?
With this concept in mind, I began packing for my most recent exscursion to Argentina. This being my third visit to Bariloche, the northern jumping-off point in Patagonia, I have made progress with my packing list, learning what to bring (an inexpensive ball point pen will not start leaking after it's first flight), and what not to (when you are only in town for a few days, you do not need more than one fun town outfit, with layers of course). In doing my best to strike the balance between traveling light while also being prepared, some themes began to emerge that I consider worthy of applying on a broader scale to my "baggage"... what I choose to carry with me on this journey of life. In the next several newsletters I will offer a look at a portion of my pack list and explore it's metaphorical applications. While everyone has a different way of packing, and may prioritize separate items, I invite you to consider these concepts and create your own version of a packing list for life.
If I have the means to fix my existing items when they do break, then I don’t need to bring multiples of a single item, nor spend the time and money making replacements. A needle and thread, a spare buckle, a bit of p-cord (the uses for this are endless: extra shoe lace, a strap, a belt, a guy line for a tent, to secure an improvised splint, and on and on), duct tape of course. And then there’s the human repair kit… the first aid kit. I don’t need a stack of band-aids (what do band-aids really accomplish anyway?), but when my feet are blistered a bit of moleskin and athletic tape go a long way towards repair. A few basic medications for more severe situations (Benadryl for the allergic reaction, ibuprofen for swelling of a sprain or strain, and that’s about it, unless I’ll be in the wilderness for more than a few days). Tweezers and scissors. Most other things needed for first aid can be improvised.
What is your repair kit in your day to day life? What tools do you use when you’re feeling low? When you’re feeling disconnected? When you’re overwhelmed?
…A box of calming tea, a yoga class for back pain, a mindfulness practice, a trusted friend, a family doctor, a WRAP plan (never heard of it? It's a thorough resource available here)
More than having the items necessary for a repair, there is the time invested in learning how to repair and the attitude of working at it. Do you approach a broken item, or a broken day, with a desire to mend it? To bust out your repair kit and get to work? Or do you chuck it in the trash and go buy a replacement, or give up on the day and wait for a new one to come along. This is a powerful choice, and one that may come more easily with training, with support, and most importantly, with practice.