Read Next

Why Pack Ultralight

I really agonized over the purchase of my latest jacket. For about fifty dollars more, I could get a jacket that was .8 ounces lighter than the other one. It sounds crazy just writing that. In the end I found a deal to get that jacket for the same price, so I was spared the agony of having to make decision.

Managing every ounce in a backpack sounds ridiculous. I get it. It seems like obsession gone awry, excess for its own sake.

But a couple weeks ago, walking through Budapest, I decided to take my backpack with me for the day. I wasn't sure if I'd find some time to sit and do some work, and we were thinking of going to baths, where I'd prefer to have my own soaps. But, as it was our first day in a new city, there would be a lot of walking.

We barely took public transport, instead walking miles up and down streets, across bridges, and up a huge hill for the view. And, for maybe the first time, I realized that I didn't notice the weight of my bag at all. At nine pounds or so, it was so light that it didn't encumber me in any way.

Happiness is where you are, not where you go

On Mike Dariano

Happiness is where you are, not where you can go.

It doesn't matter from San Diego to Buffalo.

The first line is my thought, the second is from researchers. My happiness doesn't depend on living in sunny San Diego or blistery Buffalo. My daughter reminded me of this the other day when we were walking through our snow covered yard.

We were tromping around, making tracks, the white snow a canvas for our adventure. We recreated scenes from Frozen, we pretended to be mountain climbers, we were little version of Thoreau in our own Walden Woods.

This moment warmed my soul more than any hot chocolate we would drink afterwards, and it was only possible because we live in Northwest Ohio. The skeptic in me suggests that maybe we would have more great moments somewhere warmer, somewhere we spent more time outside. Researchers question this, people living in the colder Scandinavian countries are just as happy as those on the beach in Australia. The idea idea that we overemphasize things we think will make us happier in the future is called the focusing illusion. It's a case of the grass being greener in my neighbors yard, except I don't want greener grass, just some that's free of snow.

Rendering New Theme...