Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A rare shopping high.

During college, I became almost vehemently averse to the modern culture of buying useless things at whim, only to dispose of after just a short time of use. To me, this senseless hoarding seemed like the ultimate waste, driven by advertisements and social pressures that aim to devalue the importance of resourcefulness as a virtue.

This is not to say, however, that I don't buy things anymore, nor that I don't enjoy making certain purchases. One result of my developing minimalist mentality is a vastly increased interest in the durability and craftsmanship of the items I do purchase. I spend the majority of my income on non-material things, mainly rent, food, entertainment, travel; but when I do acquire a material good, it is usually after serious deliberation on the necessity and quality of the item.

That said, I'm pretty damn excited about some of my newly-acquired loot, all stuff I will be heavily using on my trip.

REI portable towel. A friend of mine has it, and I thought it was so useful that I got one myself. Folds down to wallet-size, light, dries quickly, and doesn't smell. Much better than wet, mildewy cotton towels while traveling or backpacking.

REI convertible pants. Always wanted one of these. Good for rainy days and hot weather in dusty India. Dries fast and packs small.

Keen mid-weight hiking boots. I spent an absurd amount of time trying on shoes at the store. I thought about getting Goretex but decided that I'd prefer something more lightweight and breathable for warm weather. I've been happily breaking these in around the house, and can't wait to test-run them in the mountains of north India.

Katadyn water purifier. I wasn't planning on spending the money on one of these, but a friend generously sent it to me as a gift, and I imagine it'll be indispensible in a country where tap water is unsafe, and I'll be unable and unwilling to boil water or buy bottled everywhere.

Lafuma 40-degree sleeping bag. For potential camping around the Himalayas, and for all those budget hostels with sheets of questionable cleanliness. I was worried it would feel like a straightjacket, but it turns out there's plenty of room.

There's a lot of satisfaction knowing that I put a lot of consideration into these purchasing decisions, and that this is all stuff that will serve me well on my trip and beyond.

P.S. It's relevant to add that I'm planning on buying a lot of the clothes I wear once I get to India. This is mainly for logistical reasons. I don't want to ruin my nicer clothes from home that I have to wear to work, I'm not sure what the weather will be like, and I'm trying to pack as light as possible. Besides, I can blend in more easily if I wear the same clothes as other people, and thereby be a less visible target for harassment. I love gorgeous textiles, and am looking forward to adopting saris into my temporary wardrobe. Moreover, clothes in India are cheap, and I'm sure there's not a lack of people who would appreciate a donation once I'm through wearing them.


justinnhli said...

Yay convertible pants.

Do you know if the place you're camping will have temperatures less than 40F? I know India's warm in general, but if you're going into the mountains that sleeping bag might not be enough.

Faye said...

I thought about getting a colder-weather bag, but decided not to because the majority of the time I'm sleeping outside will likely not be in temperatures that can't be guarded against by more layers or buying additional liners. Whether or not I get to actually backpack, as in sleep overnight, in the Himalayas depends on a lot of things, so I might just be only to trek around the foot of those mountains. I'm also thinking about my typical uses of the bag in the future.

Man, I love those pants.

Lexie said...

oooooh i remember always LOVING when sonia dressed in saris .. i cant wait to see what you pick out in india.

Jon said...

Yeah, the temperature in India is more like 40C =P.

Convertible pants are awesome... if you're hot, unzip! Double funny if you're in class sitting at a desk with the legs around your ankles (because you can't pull 'em off).

Also, do you have a good multi-tool yet?

Faye said...

My dad gave me his old leatherman so I'm good to go there. Why do you ask?