IN CONTINUATION FROM: THE CIRCLE OF LIFE AND EVERYDAY, TALES FROM THE WALK BEHIND ME, NO.13
For wherever you are reading this thing, happy, happy, happy days. Well, that was random, even for me. But truly, I wish you well, and that is it more, or less.
The recent events in my life are fairly interesting, which brings me to note on two things that I will briefly list —for the sake of my memory— prior to explaining them.
- When faced with indecision, or the fork in the road, life will present specific circumstances beyond your intervention that ultimately forces your participation into action.
- A theme that always seems to surface: less is more.
The Fork In The Road
If you have been following my story over the last blog post, I divulged the back story on how my girlfriend and I are about to welcome our first child into this crazy –yet beautifully marvelous— world.
Over the past 1.5 years we have found ourselves in northern England living in a beautiful and cozy flat overlooking the countryside.
For the short time to call this place home, we have been happy here.
Good Ole Canadia
As a Canadian, I have been spoiled by the beautiful Canadian landscape to call my backyard. As a result, I have such a deep love, appreciation, and forever incessant yearning for nature, and the vast emptiness of the great outdoors.
England, and the UK for that matter, is a significantly smaller landmass. A big island, really, it’s landmass is smaller than most Canadian provinces on an individual comparison.
Taking into consideration that Newfoundland and Labrador is approximately 405,720 km2, it makes up just over 4% of the total Canadian landmass. On the other hand, the United Kingdom is approximately 242,495 km2, but of course, it is considerably less remote, and much more densely populated. 270 people per km2 vs 1.4 people per km2 (4.2 people per km2 representing Canada as a whole).
The numbers are pretty wild, with an overall landmass of approximately 9,093,507 km2, Canada is 97% larger than the UK. However, Canada’s overall population is nearly 60% smaller, and it’s population density is 98.5% less per square kilometer.
Putting the number crunch aside, the UK has some beautiful country. There are so many picturesque corners, splendid viewpoints, serene country sides and hilltops, and countless winding country roads.
It’s quite extraordinary, but I also do feel that the opportunity for the purchase of land, with some good acreage, and a house with a view is a lot trickier to come by here in England.
That has been my perspective thus far. But to clarify, it’s not that you can’t find these things, rather, the cost is a little bit more than a pretty penny to find what you’re looking for on that scale.
Full Of Shite.
Maybe I’m talking shit, I don’t know. I haven’t been here long enough to know the ins and outs whole heartedly. Regardless, this is the long way to tell you that our current flat sits on the top floor of the building, the view is great, the trails are right in my backyard, and it gives us comfort and peace of mind.
With that off my chest, the bigger picture of things reveals something different. Personally, I do not want to live in a flat, or a building for the matter in the long term. Rather, I’d love to have a small dwelling on a plot of land, with some acreage to it, however that looks. The future possibility of that being a reality for myself, and many individuals is seemingly up to debate, and another story altogether.
To avoid any further pessimism, we have been discussing moving out of the flat to accommodate the birth of the child. The benefits being to ease logistical and financial issues that we are currently facing.
Seeing as I am the only one who drives, our flat is inconveniently too far for our personal liking and time management, and such it makes sense to be closer for our personal needs, and the baby’s.
Wow, I can’t keep focused today. Having slept to heavy rainfall, and waking up to a medium drizzle, I set off for a nice 8km rainy run before dropping into Starbucks to work on this post and some other projects. I’ve been here for a few hours already, and I’m pressed for timing trying to beat a dying computer battery before setting off to the gym prior to closing.
Time, and Time Again.
If I may bring us back on track in our discussion to move, our main objection and barrier to moving —at least from my girlfriends point of view— is that “WE LOVE THIS PLACE”.
Again, we do love the flat, but I on the other hand, am more or less… a dog. What I mean, is that you can put me anywhere, and I’ll be more or less content.
My life has always been outside of the home. Naturally, my only request to find something suitable going forward together, is that our home must have two things: an outdoor space or garden, and a spare room designated to study or work.
So without trying to point fingers, but to point fingers anyway, my girlfriend is a little bit – a lot more— particular and selective when it comes to these matters. My criteria for a suitable home is a lot simpler to satisfy than hers. And it shows, because I have found 30 out of 31 listings for let that are suitable homes to potentially move into. In comparison, she has found 3 of those 31 listings for let to be suitable. By her standards, the rest of the listings are unquestionable, and condemned to even speak of.
The dilemma continues in our search as we have been discussing it:
- Do we stay in the flat that we love so much?
- It’s inconvenient because it’s on the top floor, which is a carry on for the pram/stroller.
- It is logistically inconvenient as it is significantly further from local shops, meaning that it would be much more difficult to manage our time.
- It is smaller than we’d like, and it is fairly more expensive.
- Do we move house, and where to?
- With inflation, and the global cost of living crisis, we may end up paying more for less than what we have now —potentially.
- We could be close to shops, within walking distance.
- We would reside on the ground level, and closer to family.
- The move would be more budget friendly in other ways in cutting down commuting time, and money for utilities and amenities.
- The drawback would be, that we would have less views, and more confined— relative to the general area.
This has been the discussion regarding the choices to make, and let me tell you now, the indecision is through the roof.
Life Throws You Curveballs
What’s funny is how we are at crossroads with ourselves, debating over which opportunity is best. The irony is that our indecision leads to procrastination, and ultimately inaction, which does nothing but waste our time, and expend our efforts.
But that is when life intervenes with its own plans and ideas. As if it knows you are quarrelling with yourself on which choice is best, which it then presents you with choices that you absolutely must make.
It does so by backing you into corners, all while telling you to jump, one way or the other.
Faced with both a lack of listings up for let, and the ongoing indecision to make a choice, our landlord spurs up on the phone one nights asking to meet.
“Well, this is interesting. Whatever could it be that she would like to meet about?”
Upon meeting the following day, she revealed her plans to sell the property, and wanted to discuss my girlfriend and I as prospective buyers. Likewise, if we were not going to be purchasers of the flat, well, we would have to move out upon completion of the sale.
Our dilemma now changed ever so slightly.
- Do we move house, and where to?
- Do we buy the flat that we like so much?
How interesting, isn’t it?
In our earlier discussions for rent, we have been discussing buying property as well. The most ideal scenario would be to become homeowners, as it would satisfy several different concerns.
Naturally however, purchasing a home comes with another set of questions for us to debate over.
Finances are the main culprit here. Seeing as you must have a deposit for down payment that isn’t coming from a loan or credit, it is a little trickier to get onto the property ladder here in the UK than it is in Canada.
Likewise, regarding the pandemic over the past few years, and the worsening global events in general since then, our finances —my finances in particular— have been stretched beyond thin.
Shit happens, and the storm must be weathered when facing uncertainty. In the thick of things, we must aim to ensure our very survival with direct action, hope, and faith. We must do so without succumbing to the overwhelming nature of our emotions. The most we can do in our attempt to save ourselves then, is to try. Without any effort to do so, we are most certainly lost.Make It Stick, Write It Down.
But The Question Still Remains
Do we make an attempt to buy the flat— flat out— to find the options to make it possible despite the barriers. Or do we make the move out for the aforementioned reasons above, to look to another place for rent to call home.
Well, given our discussion we have decided to move into another property instead of trying to push down the path to buy out the flat.
A big decision that locks you in should never be rushed into for the lure it provides. To keep it short, the dangling carrot in front of you isn’t necessarily the best thing to pursue, as good and tasty as it looks, it may only exhaust you in your attempts to seize the attraction.
Inevitably, it will become one of those lessons to learn the hard way.
To complete the moral, we may be considering our options upon finding ourselves at the crossroad—which way do we go? We find ourselves in the trap of indecision, as we start to overanalyze our options, avoiding making any choice in an attempt to avoid making the wrong choice altogether.
The clock has elapsed, the time to choose your path is now.
It is in the pivotal moments like this, where life assumes the role of an active bystander watching the struggle of the mind unfold. Call life God, universe, source, spirit— call it whatever— It looks you up and down to say:
“What are you doing?! Just make a damn choice!”
As the indecision continues, life get’s fed up. And as such presents you with new information, or alternative circumstances to consider that forces your hand into action; to choose one way over the other.
It’s all very interesting really.
As for me in my current life perspective and experience, I can appreciate and feel grateful for having the scope to see that process unfolding as it does. Taking that approach helps me be more patient, as things will unfold and flow towards one end or another.
As bad as indecision is, taking forced actions will also yield forced results. Therefore whatever choices we take, we must become active participators and active listeners to recognize the feedback in our decisions, to navigate ourselves effectively going forward; to adapt, or to change with our best interests in mind.
When Life Takes You Out To The Edge, It’s Up To You To Jump Out With Faith That You Will Be Caught.
Let’s move on!
The following is the final post and Number 14 of 14 in the series of blog posts called “Tales From The Walk Behind Me”.
If you’re new to these, it is a series of originally journaled entries through a few of my days —events, experiences, thoughts— along the Camino De Santiago.
If you missed part one, here it is — Click Me!
This is my standard cut and paste disclaimer from the tale before, I will give you the bit of warning because it might not be what you expect– my thoughts can be ugly because I’m a weirdo.
Furthermore, the content will vary, and the timelines will be all over the place because my mind loves a wild goose chase.
You also may question my own benevolence as a human being.
Why Less Is More, DEclutter Your Spirit And Get Rid Of Some Things. Here Is No. 14…
“Completo” – Post Camino.
Thursday October 1, 2019. Marina Boardwalk- Alicante, Spain.
Here I am, sitting along the boardwalk in Alicante observing and reflecting. Naturally, it’s what I always do.
The sky strikes me beautifully, a serene light-blue fading its corners into darkness, as the wisped clouds are strewn still across the horizon. On the other end, a marvelous pink glow boldly scatters itself, as the setting sun makes its final impression on yet another cycled day.
As I sit and feel out this moment, blissfully content, thoughts ebb and flow synonymously with the foot traffic of people strolling the boardwalk out in front of me.
My legs are hollow now, as I’ve been soaking up all of this food with no end to satisfy my hunger. Munching on these olive oil crackers that I dip heavily into some store bought guacamole, I am struck by the appearance of an old man as he patiently wanders by.
As he passes me by in place, I take in his attire:
His jeans hang heavy—baggy, but not unsightly by any means. His shirt undone a quarter of the way down, the hair on his chest ripe with age, as if to highlight a deep knowledge and wisdom in the experience of his years.
He is well down the boardwalk now, but something about how he carried himself in look and posture spoke to me.
I think To Myself
There is no brand recognition, no intentional style or fashion sense, no look to put on display. He is purely unmarked—unbranded, and it’s speaks of a sheer functionality for practical application that is almost expected from an old man.
And, it’s perfect.
There is no excess—no waste— that comes attached to his look. He cares for nothing more, but expects nothing less. What I see in his presentation is a pure balance to his own materialism.
My thoughts find me again:
“How much extra shit has accumulated in my life?“
Once again, the Camino has offered up another reminder about having less— something I have set out to strive for.
We have to honor our own values. I am nauseated by how much waste is created by our modern lifestyles. Of course we can’t avoid the effects of consumerism entirely, even in my own life as perceived minimalist. But, the best we can do is to try— the best I can do is try.
I’ve always strived to rely on little, or less than what I see as luxury, and I think it’s important to rid oneself of desire, particularly the desire for materials. But also, I feel that hanging on to materials, and incessantly filling our voids through them is utterly exhausting.
How much can we carry around meaninglessly? Or for the sake of presenting ourselves superficiality?
Everyone has their reasons I guess, so to each their own. As for myself, this less is more approach stems from somewhere deeper, one that has layered itself into my psyche in many different ways.
The meaning in our values follow us wherever we go. This less is more approach became even more apparent while working as a tour guide with AmeriCan Adventures.
That type of guiding makes it difficult to bring much of anything at all. Not only is it impractical in the sense that you wouldn’t be able to utilize much of anything, but there is simply no room for extra materials. The trailer was meant for all camping equipment, food/drink coolers, and passenger luggage. What was my own, was whatever I could stuff behind the rear seats of the15-seat van.
With so many people from all walks of life, the memories of guiding are wonderful, and have retained so many.
Particularly strong in memory, is the smell of fire.
Of course the lodging trips were a tad more upscale, but the camping experiences meant smelling like fire for the length of the trip.
To sum up the experience….
So good!Will Flowers. Aussie Tour Guide Buddy Extraordinaire.
Okay, I am most definitely getting sidetracked.
The point is that I only had a few things to call my own in the boot of the van. And for the most part, I regularly wore the same clothes—sometimes on a rotational basis.
It’s liberating to be unshackled by the pressures of fashion. To put it simply, I don’t give a shit about the latest trends, or fads, or styles, or looks. I like practicality for the most part, and have been rooted more and more to live my life that way. There is no room for waste.
Either way as I finished the Camino, I’ve spent 3 days here in Alicante. With me I have a bag full of clean clothes—not loads, but some.
During my day to day, I am still living with 2 outfits that are vary between:
- One pair of boxers
- 2 pairs of green shorts (1 stretch, 1 cargo)
- 3 shirts (2 tanks, 1 long)
- Yellow Buff Camino hat and a pair of sunglasses
- One pair of Crocs, and my trail runners.
And Thats it.
That’s all I’ve been making use of.
If I’m active, I’ll wear my stretchy pair of green shorts with my pink Body Glove tank top—and of course that one pair of spandex boxers to reduce jiggle and bounce… Just saying.
If I want to look a little bit more presentable, the outfit I’m wearing is…
That second pair of green shorts that are less stretchy, and come with extra pockets for added utility. At this point, I’ve taken off the spandex boxers to give them a good wash. However whilst the boxers dry, I’m rocking this second pair of shorts— you guessed it— commando…
This means full jiggle, full bounce… Just saying.
With that, I’m wearing a white loose-fitting tank top for more stylish outings during the day. And going for the sleek & sexy look, I am wearing a black long sleeve active top at night.
And again, that’s it.
For the most part, I’ve been living in the combination of these two outfits for the past month, and it’s great! I don’t have to overthink it, with no fuss and no headache, it’s sheer simplicity, and practical application.
So I am sold. I am sold on having less things.
Of course, the cold Canadian winters need a few added layers. But even still, it’s again my goal again to reduce my life into even less.
We hoard so much in our lives that just confuses us even more. And often times, we contribute to excess waste without realization that we’re doing it. We simply forget, or lose touch of the bulk of things that we have.
Out of sight, out of mind is a well known expression for a reason.
The pile gets higher, and higher particularly when our materials aren’t within always within view, or reach. We stuff whatever it is away in the back of our closet, or deep into our drawers, as the impulsivity of need in our moment piles up, and is kept out of a false sense of security.
Akin to a dog burying bone after bone, always looking forward to the next one to bury, whilst having forgotten where the last one was put.
So why bother?
We must be conscious about separating ourselves from our desires and materials that truly contribute nothing but to the purposelessness of excess luxury.
I’m reminded that we need nothing more than our body and mind— that’s all that matters.
Okay… maybe a shirt, some pants, some shoes, and a hat so we’re not completely exposing ourselves either. But truthfully, we don’t need much more than that.
Why, LEss Is More…
Well, less is more… more space, more headroom, more leg room, more breathing room. Less is more shelf space, more wardrobe space, more drawer space, more closet space.
Less is more space for us to keep an energetic vitality. Energy that flows— unstuffed, and uncrowded—that is not suffocated by unnecessary materials, or desperate neediness.