Well, it’s about that time… time to physically place everything in my pack. I look around the room and see all my favorite books, both poetry and yoga-related ones. I see my comfy jeans, my meditation cushion, my puja (alter), my computer. And I realize, although I’ve really down-sized in the last few years, I still have a lot of stuff.
And then I look at my pack. On one hand it’s amazing how much can fit in a backpack, and yet inevitably choices need to be made. What goes and what stays behind?
This trip my plan is to land on the island of Koh Phangan and pretty much stay put. I’ll be there 8 weeks or so, followed by quick jaunts to other incredible places on my way home. So, given that I’ll be living on the island and teaching there, there are many things I’d like to have with me. The difficulty comes in balancing those desires with the much stronger and more practical need to keep the back light and portable.
I decide to nix the books, choosing only one meditation book that I’ve been reading and a journal. The jeans would never get worn in the Thailand heat, so those stay behind as well, although I do pack significantly more yoga-wear than last time I traveled. I minimize the puja to a small Ganesh, some dried So Cal sage, and a few pocket-sized crystals, then, at the last minute, throw in my singing bowl; the sound it makes ringing out from the studio will be worth the extra weight. I guess it goes without saying the computer came along.
Pack closed up (and somehow stuffed fuller than I imagined), I take a final look around the room. All the items that remain scattered about, I realize, are just stuff… fundamentally no different than the stuff that made the cut. I think about all the people and places I’m about to leave, even if just for a short time, and I know that the most important things in life can’t be placed in a backpack, no matter what gets left behind.