The last couple days I've been away, camping at a local campsite. We had a great time playing games, walking around the lake, and reading books. I kept thinking of minimalism (duh!) and how our camping habits converge and diverge from my minimalist ideal.
First, I love the simple lifestyle we follow when camping. My husband and I spent at least a half an hour talking and watching the ducks and turtles in the lake. (Two of the ducks had ducklings, and they were adorable.) There was no rush, there was no clock, we just sat and talked. Then we went back to camp, started a campfire, made cream puffs out of crescent rolls. The next day was more hiking, card games, reading in the hammock. The kids rode bikes and trained the dogs to run alongside the bikes. (The dogs had a blast, running ahead of the bikes but they are sleeping now. They are sleeping hard.)
On the other hand, we brought a lot of stuff. We brought kites and croquet and card games and trackball. We brought two tents, four sleeping bags plus extra blankets in case we got cold. We brought air-mattresses for us, and for the kids. We brought non-inflatable sleeping pads for the kids. We brought so much stuff!
As we packed up we determined that some of the stuff we brought was unnecessary, and we have either already gotten rid of it, or we will do so soon. However, a lot of the stuff we brought was stuff someone thought we might need. People in my family would rather pack more stuff, and shift it around the campsite, rather than think of something we would want (want, not need) and have to do without it.
And so it goes. We will continue to work forward, trying to eliminate the pieces that are weighing us down. We will try to leave behind the stuff that isn't actually useful and I hope we will learn to give up some of the things we are bringing "just in case."
The most memorable moments of out trip required very little material supplies at all.