Lightweight

lightweight backpacking equipmentJudging from my saga of preparing for camping, then actually going camping, you might think that “Lightweight” refers to me! But it’s actually an homage to my long-suffering husband, Jonathan, written when he was really in the thick of his lightweight backpacking craze a few years back:

  • 24-ounce mega-cans of Heineken beer
  • Snack-sized Starkist tuna lunch kits

This could be the shopping list of a frat boy who cares about  Omega-3 fatty acids but not about mercury. Instead the list is my husband’s, and he’s not even a drinker. Jonathan intends to pour the beer down the drain, give the cat a treat, and fashion a portable stove from the cans.

Jonathan is obsessed with lightweight backpacking. He spends hours online chatting with like-minded fanatics about the newest miracle fabric that repels water, retains heat, and is lighter than air.  They swap recipes for freeze-dried concoctions requiring less space than a teabag. Each gram shaved from the overall weight of the pack is cause for celebration; it means he can go faster and farther on his solo trips into the wilderness.

Jonathan spends all day experimenting, drilling holes into the beer can, creating a miniature windscreen. Our teenaged daughter catches him trying to boil water in his makeshift tuna-can stove. Rolling her eyes, she declares, “This mid-life crisis has gone too far!”

I know I should be grateful. Other men troll online for extramarital flings or buy expensive sports cars to stave off the onslaught of age. My husband is both frugal and true.

Yet I can’t help but wonder about his preoccupation with traveling light. How much does he long to unburden himself of home and family, of a life heavy with obligation?  The mortgage, my hot flashes, college tuition, endless household chores–they all add to his load.

No wonder Jonathan wants to set off unencumbered at a swift pace. Come to think of it, I’d like to join him. If I promise to travel light, maybe he’ll boil enough water for two.

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What encumbrances would you like to shed?

 

2 thoughts on “Lightweight

  1. We just got back from 5 months of living and traveling in Australia. While I thought I had packed light for our time there, in retrospect I did not. While we needed clothes for several different climates, and of course different activities, fact is I could have brought less and would have been fine. But the real important packing was not what iu brouy in my suitcases (or the 3 boxes I shipped there) but rather what I brought on my head and heart. I went worried about how it would work out: to live so far from home, kids, friends, family, known comforts, etc. Good news is that I came home with a lot less of that stuff!

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