By Ashely Hogge Do more with less. I try to live this mantra every day. Luckily, I prefer less. Less technology, less clutter, less shiny, less expensive. For me, I find more in the experience. The things that aren't quite things but rather untouchables. I'm attracted to places that offer and encourage outdoor activities like skiing, biking, and hiking. Even Portland Oregon, where I currently live, is close to both the mountains and the ocean. I have such peace of mind knowing I can escape the city at any moment. And quite often, I do. I keep it easy---a day hike in the Gorge with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, Goldfish (yes, I love kid food) and chocolate. With my camera in tow, I am most content on the trail. In this setting, hikers are stripped of those day to day annoyances. Signals are lost. Perspectives quickly shift. Most of the time, the literal and figurative weight will lift. Tension and anxiety will dissolve. It seems almost primal to be so out of touch and yet, you can do so much more. More thinking, listening, meditating. It's easy to let the mind wander. I become inspired by possibility and tend to dream up vacations, travel plans, or a simple meal for dinner.
It's outings like these that keep me grounded for weeks to follow. How do you maintain such a mind-set with the many distractions out there? I focus on quality not quantity. One hot cup of coffee, a good book recommended by a friend, a restaurant I've always wanted to try, or maybe it's as simple as a walk around the block. I can't help but quote Gus McRae, a character from one of my all time favorite movies, Lonesome Dove:
Lorie darling, life in San Francisco, you see, is still just life. If you want any one thing too badly, it's likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to like everyday things, like a good sip of whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, or a glass of buttermilk.
To piggy back along with what Gus said, life is still life no matter where you are. I believe that experiences, conversations and a genuine hello to a fellow hiker can make our days valuable. We can be happier with less and most definitely do more to better ourselves and those around us.