Weight and space are the enemies of the long-term traveler. Whenever a friend hangs out and watches me pack my luggage after I've been in one place for a while, they're always amazed at how I sit and analyze whether to toss or keep any given piece of gear.
For instance, the USB-to-power-outlet adapter for the Amazon Kindle and the iPhone works for both of them. So, I threw one of them out. A friend was with me when I was packing, and he said, "Dude, why don't you keep both? It's tiny..."
And yes, it is tiny. But I'll probably make 80 decisions like that in a given year, and if I default to "yes" on all of them, that adds up to quite a lot. (Eventually, I threw out the USB-to-power adapter entirely, and I just charge both devices from phantom power on my laptop now)
This gets tricky, though, when you have something that's somewhat valuable but also bulky. When I got a new laptop, I now had two power cords/bricks. I've had a pretty nasty run of breaking power cords/bricks for whatever reason - just one of "those things," I guess - so I was sitting and figuring whether to pack both.
Eventually I tossed one.
It's easy enough when you've gotten things for free. I rented a room in Taiwan for a while, and my roommate left back to Europe with a lot of his things in the place - and then said he wasn't coming back. This was the last month of the lease, and he said if I cleaned the place, I could have whatever I wanted.
So I stocked up basics - I had some extra space so I grabbed a nice towel, some soaps, things like that. He also had a bottle of cologne. Now, I like cologne. I think smelling nice is nice. I used to wear Azarro Chrome back when I was less on the go. But cologne is heavy and takes up space, so it's one of the first things to be gifted away when I eventually leave.
But again, for whatever reason, I had extra space in Taiwan, so I grabbed a bottle of cologne and was wearing it for a while. Later, I had space constraints and gifted it away to a friend in Vietnam.
No problem, no stresses there.
But it's funny, when you purchase something, the attachment levels go up, and it becomes much harder to gift/toss things after that. For instance, you get a pair of shoes but they turn out to not fit well. If you got them for free, they're easy to toss in the trash or gift on. But if you paid a fair bit for them, the decision becomes a bit harder.
It shouldn't! It doesn't matter how much you paid for gear once you've got it. Gear should be judged on its usefulness to your life, and the costs of carrying/maintaining it - in my case, space/weight is a major constraint, but also the general upkeep of having more stuff in your life.
So I'm trying to mentally discard the price I paid for things after I've got them. By focusing on the past price, which is a sunk cost, it's made lug around stuff that wasn't very useful to me. This increases my traveling weight/space (a pain in the neck when boarding and unboarding trains, means my bag moves from carry-on size to must-be-checked size, etc) and also has an opportunity cost - I can't get other things. And then there's the mental cost of having more stuff.
That sucks. That's made my life very slightly worse. So now, with gear, I'm trying to remove price paid from the consideration and just think about how useful something is to me and how much it costs to keep having it. This leads to clearer thinking, better decisions, and ultimately less junk.
You are right, people become way to attached to their "stuff". If it doesn't give you peace, isn't useful or enrich your life let it go....you can always acquire it again when you do need it.
Brings back not-so-fond memories of lugging around a heavy and almost useless travel guide around Europe. I eventually tossed it.
I see your point here, and I assuredly agree with you. There is however, an importance that is placed on things that are purchased with your own hard earned money. Also, some things are just valuable and you don't want to have to buy them again.
But for your point, these things listed here are for the most part disposable anyways.
Coincidentally, I threw out my power adapter for my Amazon Kindle yesterday. Parts of the protective covering disintegrated and it stopped working (after only 2 years). As it turns out, they used to be faulty, and a lot of people had problems with it. Luckily, Amazon gave me a full refund on the replacement adapter. I was actually impressed with their customer service.
Power grid went down in District 3 today just when I was connecting to the internet for a phone call. I gathered my things, packed up, and headed over to a cafe in D1 to make the call. My business partner there luckily had cleared two hours for the call, so we still covered everything.
I sat in this cafe for a while, but it was a little bit loud, so I decided to move to another cafe nearby. The place I moved was an American chain that serves weak coffee at high prices. Really, it's a bad choice of a cafe to go to for coffee's sake, but tends to be an excellent cafe for work environment. Normally there is quiet, ambient music playing, it's well lit, and there's plenty of space and power outlets.
So after I'd bought my expensive, weak coffee, and expensive, mediocre food, I headed upstairs to see some guys setting up audio equipment. Hmm.
One guy is testing some sort of mixing board or something, in short toot toot toots and feedback. This is a little bit annoying. I put some light music on so I can read, write, and do some work. The testing eventually stops and two guys come up with guitars.
They're playing and it's... not very good. They're all over the place, pretty uncohesive with their music. No transitions between songs or even genres. They played some Led Zeppelin, and then some country music, and then some Eric Clapton, and like, a lot of this is music I like, but you gotta transition through music for it to be decent.
My senior requirement at my Catholic high school is to take a semester of world religions and a semester of spirituality. I'm currently in the spirituality semester and I've found the class simplified, but the hour I spend there each day is a nice escape and a time to reflect. We watch movies, write, discuss, and meditate. I'm not sure how anyone could dislike it.
A classmate of mine, however, cannot stand it. She protests the teacher's assignments, calls the class "stupid" and questions why she needs to have any opinion on her views of divinity or her own past. It's not that she has some strong view of atheism or is some nihilist- this is purely disinterest and she lets it be known.
Disinterest in the collective beliefs of humanity, in the origins of the universe, in your place within it, and in your connection to the forces around you- this is something my mind cannot wrap around. Since a young age, I've asked the unanswerable questions that I'll keep contemplating. I've felt connected, I've felt disconnected. I accepted the wonder of reality and the unending pursuit of knowledge and rejected the beliefs and systems that have held me back. I've learned through my own intuition. My whole life is driven by a bigger, undefinable sense of my purpose and at the same time by my own insignificance. For those who stop asking questions and have found a belief set that explains it, all the power to them. I also think pure agnosticism is great, when people really accept the impossibility of figuring anything out. Pure disinterest, however, escapes me.
How can someone toss aside these essential questions of human existence? I see people all too often that ignore these feelings, dim their understanding of reality, out of fear or out of ignorance. I've had my phases, but I always come back to this sense of childlike wonder towards the universe. I've tried my hand at being Catholic, at nondenominational Christianity, and more recently, in embracing Buddhist practices. I've been more religious than so many so-called Catholics/Christians that I know. My sister will never reach the peak of Catholicism I was at at one point, yet still looks down at me for eventually rejecting it.
How would these people's lives change if they took some time to think about things? What, exactly, is more important? This is me ranting, but its been of greater interest to me recently. I'm happy that I've checked into a broader understanding of my life, and for those a little jaded by their daily worries, I can only hope they find the curiosity to expand their mindsets eventually.