A pair of shorts

Last year I did some research about simple living – what people do, why they do it, and what difference it makes. One of the best parts of the research was listening to all the stories people told about their endeavours – their hopes and fears and ideas.

One a bloke told me a beauty from his time living in a remote community, out in the central desert near the Western Australian border:

I always remember this guy, one of our neighbours, I saw him get into a truck one day with a pair of shorts on and the truck was going to Kalgoorlie. And that’s all he had, a pair of shorts. He jumped on the back of the truck and we never saw this guy for 3 months, and then later he came back from Alice Springs and he’s done this big circuit from Wingellina to Kalgoorlie, across to Port Augusta up to Alice Springs and back to us. And I’ve often thought about that and thought, in one sense it was a good little reminder of simplicity and I thought well, extended family helped out and all that …

This story is far removed from the experience of most in modern urban environments, particularly in Australia. Still, it brings new meaning to ‘travelling light’. In a sense, travelling light is a useful metaphor for simple living. Those who travel light have less impact on the world around them, they take up less space and use less resources. Travelling light also holds possibilities for reliance on others, for sharing and the fostering of relationships of all sorts, within families and between strangers.

 * * * * *

 The research project about simple living yielded some wonderful stories and lots of ideas to think on more. It’s long, but the full document, “More or Less” is available here.  

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One Comment on “A pair of shorts”

  1. Muzza Says:

    I do love this idea – of having much less and being able to leave or travel with very little.

    I’ve tried to get rid of many things in my life (books, CDs, etc) bur realise that the next time I move, I’ll still fill up far too many boxes.

    For most of us, modern life is simply far too complex to be able to walk off with just a pair of shorts, but we can always aim.


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