Are we there yet papa smurf?



In its simplest form, navigation is movement between two points as a function of three variables; direction, time, and distance. The tool pictured records and computes things. This is effectively a column in an abacus. There are 9 small beads in the bottom column, and 4 large beads in the top column. This marks, or counts 49 of something. At 50, the beads reset.

This device is made entirely of 550 chord, also called parachord. It makes no noise when you are walking or running, and is light (approx. 2 oz.). This, a compass with an inclinometer, and a mechanical watch, and you have the tools to navigate any map. Two or three of these, and you can do trig to solve for heights of mountains, rates of ascent/decent, etc.

The point is this little tool is part of what makes it possible to accurately travel between two points on a map.

Rule number 1


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This decision was simple, the wallet goes. A giant uncomfortable wad to sit on. It hauls around untold amounts of little papers and cards. A veritable junk drawer in the back right pocket. Be gone! Time to switch to a cheap plastic bifold. On the left, a license, on the right, a debit card. That will be all.

Time to check the ultralight backpacking list. I removed anything that requires electricity. I use caylume light sticks in place of flash lights. They weigh less than a maglite, and one would be enough each night. The red color would prevent night blindness. This would leave the pack lighter, and devoid of electronics and batteries. The pocket watch would be a mechanical wind up kind.

A map, a compass, a sharpie, weatherproof paper, a Rollei B35. Old fashioned mechanical or analog ways of recording the past, documenting the present, and planning future travels.

The pack is an REI stoke 29 (liter). It should easily contain 3 days of food, shelter, and clothing. The goal is to have the pack weight down to a half pound per liter. Fifteen pounds. Right now twenty pounds is a comfortable resting spot (down from almost sixty). Much simpler to pack, move, and maintain.

It’s hard work to get to the simple life (from the complicated mess we live in).

So rule number one, experience the joy of fulfilling your purpose, and feel the comfort that follows. Simple life.