I had the fantastic opportunity to backpack around Europe for several months of this year and came back having learnt how very easy it is to survive with very little at all.
In fact, the thing you learn fastest when you’re travelling with everything on your back is that the less you have to carry around with you, the happier you’re going to be.
There’s something so very liberating about having fewer choices when you wake up in the morning, and about possessing less superfluous ‘stuff’ that just clutters up your life.
Fearing I’d lose this feeling once the adventure had ended, the moment I got home, back to every-day non-backpack-toting life, I took drastic action, attacking my pile of possessions and turfing out everything that didn’t seem necessary anymore (given away, not dumped in the bin!).
It felt fabulous! And still does. But, of course, now I have to make sure I don’t start creating a new collection of ‘things’ to take the place of the one before (and clutter up my life all over again).
Which is why I find the idea of International Buy Nothing Day, coming up this Saturday (24 November), rather appealing. It’s ‘an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists’ (Wikipedia) first organised back in 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.”
Whilst I wouldn’t really consider myself a social activist, the constant commercial bombardment we have to endure during the ever-lengthening run-up to the so-called ‘festive season’ and Christmas is enough to make me feel strongly enough to support the intiative by staying away from the shops.
If we all did the same perhaps all those greedy media-obsessed stores would sit up and take notice, even it’s only for one day. Besides, not going shopping automatically means not being tortured relentlessly by the annoying overplayed Christmas carols that are otherwise unavoidable at this time of year – and that’s a good enough reason for me.
I will, however, still be going to market – in my opinion, not buying anything at all is a little extreme (if you’re not a social activist), and those who make their living selling home-made goods and fresh produce (without resorting to media frenzy) shouldn’t be penalised.
Find out more about ‘Buy Nothing Day’ here.