- May 2012
- Simple Living
I am a brazilian climber and paraglider pilot as well.
I am a big fan of your work and legacy.
But, I have a question…
What, for you, is to live simple?
I would love to hear from you.
Best wishes from Brazil!
For me living simply is what I’ve learned from climbing: having what is necessary, and nothing beyond that. What I mean is, when you are climbing, you bring only the water and food you need. You don’t bring more–extra food and water would actually be a bad thing, because it would be too heavy and make your climb unpleasant. Same with clothing. Even your climbing gear and ropes have to be chosen for weight and versatility. It all has to be carried up the route. Wasting anything–water, food, shade, time, energy, strength–is wrong. You always need to conserve, make sure you’re not overextended, that you have a little of everything in reserve in case getting down takes more than you expected–you’re not done when you reach the summit. And when you are packing for an expedition, the things you take for your base camp are limited, because they need to fit into your bag that you will have to travel with and get to your base camp. So you have to decide on one book or maybe two (because things you like can be necessities also), one cup, one fork, 2 pairs of socks, etc etc.
Once you have formed those habits, it becomes a way of life, I guess I’d call it the climbing way of life. That way of life is to use only what you need, not to waste things, and to figure out how to make use of everything you have. Rather than trying to have more and more, it’s the idea of trying to have less and do more with it.
This doesn’t mean renouncing all material possessions and living in a cave…it’s more about focusing on what’s important to you and learning to be self reliant, to make sure you have the essentials and you know how to manage in both difficult and pleasant situations. From a material standpoint, this philosophy is about making sure you have what’s necessary to be happy and healthy, but then taking good care of what you have and enjoying it and appreciating it, rather than continuously looking for the next thing. From a financial standpoint, the goal is always living within and ideally under your means–making sure what goes out is less than what comes in. Simple living from this perspective means conserving, keeping a reserve. The climb isn’t over at the summit. The only one who’s going to get you down is you.
For me, the simpler things are, the more I’m enjoying life. The less constraints you have, the more you can be free.