We saw the movie “Free Solo” recently, which I can’t recommend enough. Alex Honnold is the main character, famous now for humanity’s most impressive free solo feat of all time.
When asked about whether or not he thinks he’s inspiring people, he responded,
“I would love to inspire people to live an intentional life that they care about, I don’t necessarily feel like people all need to go free soloing”.
A charming part of Alex’s character and lifestyle is that he mostly lives out of a van. Outdoor rock climbing can require a great deal of driving, so it’s very practical; house and transportation all in one. He has very intentionally chosen his lifestyle to match up with his goals and hobbies. One benefit of our trip is an opportunity to be thoughtful about our lifestyle, and perform a reset on our expectations around creature comforts.
I’m fortunate enough to have a life that goes way beyond meeting my basic needs. I have a nice home, secure work, and great friends and family. On top of that I can freely pursue many hobbies. It is too easy sometimes to take these things for granted. I’ve thought for a long time that a feeling of satisfaction and a positive outlook in my life has more to do with the change in my circumstances than actual circumstances I find myself in. Almost by definition, if things are looking up, it feels good. One way to notice this is that one is always most grateful for a new toy, home or opportunity right when it arrives.
This leaves a dilemma, one’s circumstances can hardly keep improving forever. This would be unsustainable not only for myself financially, but for the world. Needing an ever increasing standard of living, from an already privileged position, would take an enormous toll on the world. So, if I want to continue to experience the feeling of improvement…
Creature Comfort Reset!
We are by no means truly risking it all, and we can always bail if we really need to, but I predict the adventures ahead will continue to pull us forward. We’ll have some nice AirBnBs, but also choose some cheap hostels. The energy and excitement of bicycling and camping will keep us going for a whole two months, and leave us thrilled by even a warm shower. Living out of just 55L of backpack storage for 12 months will help us realize what we really need, and more deeply appreciate everything we have.