Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's in your backpack?

While on a business trip and staying in a Montreal hotel, I rented the movie "Up in the Air" (at $12.99 ! WTF?). I am not an air traveler. I have only flown twice in the past 12 years. I prefer trains. It was, I admit the fact that George Clooney was in this movie that I wanted to rent it. Hey, I was away from home, lonely and ... He did not disappoint me and.. the soundtrack was great.

There was a theme about "attachments" to things and people and making priorities for what to pack or what to unpack for your journey. The main character, Ryan Bingham was a frequent-flyer downsizing consultant and a motivational speaker who used the “What’s in your Backpack” line in his presentations. I really liked it and found it seemed "Buddhist" in a way. It was kind of sad that once he realized he wanted to have a relationship with a casual squeeze and fellow-traveler, that he was brought down to earth (pun intended) by the fact that she only saw him as an escape and was committed to staying with her family.

I think you can reduce the amount of material things along your journey and still live quite happily. Although there are some people that you may be tempted to remove from your “baggage”, I don’t think that’s as easy a task. As fellow travelers in this life, we each have something in common. Only as rare exceptions should someone be cast aside. You could perhaps put troublesome family and friends temporarily into a side pocket or roll them up in your dirty laundry bag for a while ;-) They will soon learn to be less of a burden and help lighten your load.


  1. You said "I think you can reduce the amount of material things along your journey and still live quite happily."

    I would go a bit further and say "You will live quite happily only if you can reduce the amount of material things along your journey."

    We don't own things - things own us.

  2. Thanks, Adam. I googled the phrase and found this article: "Things: We Own Them, They Don't Own Us"

    Snippet: "How do we become more skillful in our relationship to things? Much of our lives is spent purchasing, returning, taking care of, cleaning, putting away, moving, and getting rid of things. We acquire possessions through purchase, gifts, and inheritance. Once we are owners, possessions demand a large portion of our life energy. What do we do with the things we no longer use and the things that belonged to the people we loved dearly? Our choices about possessions shape our lives."

    Full article:

    (Sorry, I don't think comment boxes support hyperlinks)

    Good article :-]

  3. You only live once. If you do it right, once will be enough."
    aloha and ohana

  4. A place for my stuff by George Carlin

    Hilarious and so true! I can't relate to the traveling to Maui part though. Perhaps John can ;-)

  5. Hawaiians say "Maui no ka oi."
    Maui is the best.
    Heavenly Hana is a place as close to the Garden of Eden one is likely to find.
    "When one has good wine,
    a gracefeul junk.
    And a maiden's love.
    Why envy the immortal gods?"
    Li T'si Po 705-762 AD
    I do hope your day will be as good as mine.

  6. A friend of mine recently published an article about dealing with people who seem to want you to join in their misery and load your life with the problems that they live with every day. Definitely something to remove from your "backpack" :-]

    She reminds her readers that "Happiness is an inside job. It starts with you!"