When in doubt, purge. If in doubt about purging, purge more. Discover minimalism and you’ll never go back.

I always think of the trip in the states. Standing outside the Walmart in Arkansas, Reno an Penny who we’d ridden with for three days in their stolen jeep, gone. The snow that was falling. Me in my white T-shirt. Natty wearing my brown hoodie. Our wallets and that was it. Natty swearing and me just standing there feeling free, more free than I’ve ever felt, before or since.

For breakfast I went to a Europeen bakery, like the one mom had but bigger, that also specialized in bulk products and doubled as a coffee shop.

The lady had lived in van, then Sudbury. I sat by the window and wrote in the journal for a bit, then asked for a box, say, double the size of one that shoes would come in. She had one. Perfect.

The coffee and writing had felt good. All I had for food was a bag of rolled oats and some yogurt from last night and I sat on a concrete curb on a hill above the post office [everything in corner brook is downhill or uphill] and ate it all. One thing I’ve learned: Alway’s bring a spoon. Always.

Then it was time to do some sorting.

Johno and I have different ideas about packing. This is mine:

Not Starving plus Not Freezing = Good Living.

His is a bit more detailed, like this:

Stove + tent + sleeping bag + sleeping pad + lots of clothing + garbage bags + first aid kit + extra food and matches just in case = acceptable camping conditions.

There’s no wrong or right answer of course. People are different. He’ll carry a pound or two extra by default and I’m always going underweight. Probably I’m just weak.

The point is, the front panniers, the ones hanging off the front wheel of my bike, could now go. Along with them went a bag of sugar, the stove the pot,the sleeping pad, the headlamp and other sundries.

That left me with the bivy, the sleeping bag, extra socks [I’ve brought old worn out ones this trip so most of them can just get thrown out instead of washed.] toque, sweater and rain jacket. Also, the pump, spare tire, and tubes, laptop and journal.

It all went perfectly into the two back panniers.

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