In the first World War a marching song from George Henry Powell became famous. “Pack up your trouble in your old kitbag, and smile, smile, smile…”
Well, maybe you needed a good rousing song to march of to the trenches at Ypres, and you definitely needed all the ammo and gear you could carry. Usually it was just a one way trip anyway for most…
These were some darker thoughts as I had a full kit hiking session in training for our upcoming Camino. There is a long uphill road out of our town, and I slogged it up with everything I plan to carry on the Camino. At the turning point at 5.5 km I stopped at the Wildevy Farmstall. They have a butchery there, and I asked them to weigh my backpack on their hanging scale. Including 1.5 l water in the hydration bag it came to 8.4 kg. Not bad! In 2011 I tried it with 14 kg, and that really got heavy after 25 km every day.
I remembered the one piece of wisdom of the Camino that I usually forget in real life. If you want to travel happy, travel light. I have the bad habit of overthinking everything, and buying extra stuff to cope with all possible eventualities.
But you can’t plan everything in life. And you don’t have to take every possible piece of equipment with on your journey. And this is much more wisdom to live by than just planning to walk the Camino. It applies to everyday life.
Which brings me to my point: I tend to gather too much stuff along the journey of life. Not just things. Emotional baggage. Useless social media relationships. One of the joys of walking is the time to reflect on my life. Yesterday I decided my life needs some serious decluttering. It is time to get rid of things, and bad memories, and people wearing me down on my journey of life.
One of my first steps will be to use the unfriend and unfollow button on facebook mercilessly. I do not need all the drama of 1100 people every single day in my life.
I am also going to seriously unfollow some people on Twitter. I am sick and tired of South African racial politics and the endless blamegame.
Then I seriously need to start throwing old magazines away, and selling or donating some books.
So, troops of World War 1, I do not wish to pack my troubles in my old kit bag. I wish to unpack them, and throw them away, so that I am travelling light, with people adding joy and meaning to my life. Then I will smile, smile, smile some more…