Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Friday Morning Book Post
I really want to have a Friday book post as a consistent part of my blog this year. So, here I am on a Tuesday trying writing again about Packing Light.
I thought about this book over the weekend, but more, I thought about how to write about it.
Allison Vesterfelt wrote an interesting spiritual/travel memoir about her six month road trip to visit all fifty states. She had always had a dream of taking this trip then writing a book about the experience, but she didn't think she'd actually do it until her friend Sharaya pushed her and convinced her to follow her dreams. She probably needed a good nudge because this road trip was just going to be something Allison always talked about but never did.
Dreams are tricky things. The more I thought about her trip over the weekend, I thought about how exhausting it all sounded. I know. Her road trip dream isn't my dream, but chasing down a dream isn't all cupcakes and gumdrops. A fifty state road trip isn't the road to an easy life. It's hard work, but therein lies the fulfillment of the dream. We are happiest, I believe, when we are tackling difficult things.
There were times that Allison felt trapped in the car and her dream felt less like freedom and more like claustrophobia. They relied on the kindness of strangers and friends for places to stay. It actually sounded more stressful than adventurous, but the thing is, she went! She wrote a book about it! Dream accomplished!
Probably the most interesting part of this book is Vesterfelt's thoughts about the notion of lightness. To prepare for their trip, both Allison and Sharaya sell most of their belongings to raise money for the trip. It isn't cheap driving around the country for six months even if most of your lodging comes from free by sleeping on friends' couches. Allison realized that there was very little that she needed and the extra stuff just weighed her down.Throughout the book, even if her thesis meanders a little, she focuses her energy on packing light.
In the end, her journey is really about letting go. There's just something about letting go whether it be mental or physical that's just so appealing. She had to let go of her comfortable life in Portland, take the plunge, and stop worrying that she was making both a wrong and frivolous decision. She had to embrace the journey while also realizing that life would be different when she returned. She would be different and her trajectory would be different and I'm sure it made all the difference.
It's good stuff. Packing Light is a good philosophy. I'm sure I will work this into everyday life because life can feel heavy sometimes.