Sometimes life just gets too cluttered. The past couple of weeks I’ve been travelling from place to place and it’s made me realise how much things weigh me down and how little I really need. It’s also made me realise how unnatural it is to coup ourselves up in a house with lots of possessions. I had too much stuff and I needed to cut down.
Looking back at our ancestors, humans lived for tens of thousands of years as hunter gatherers and moved around all the time. Living a nomadic life meant that people had few, if any possessions. They just had what they needed and could carry, essential provisions such as water, vegetables, spears, bows and arrows. They didn’t need much else. The idea of owning things was alien to them and they shared when they could because it meant less to carry. They didn’t need to store things and no one owned any property.
They hunted when they were hungry, slept when they were tired, and when food was scarce they moved on elsewhere.
Hunter gatherers also had a deep regard for nature. To them woods, for example, were full of magic and provided warmth and shelter.
Then, about 10,000 years ago, agriculture brought stable food supplies and hunter gatherers began to settle and build permanent dwellings that eventually morphed into the complex communities we know today. Prior to this there were few, if any, permanent homes or villages. The Agricultural Revolution allowed them to settle but it was a demanding way of life, much as it is for many people today. The Agricultural Revolution paved the way for the Industrial Revolution and jobs that trapped people into living in close proximity.
In some ways having a permanent house and possessions can make us feel stable and secure - we know where we will sleep at night and where our next meal will come from. But it can also make us disconnected from our natural way of living - the way of life enjoyed by over 90% of our ancestors.
In a way the internet is allowing us to become nomads again. It gives us the opportunity to take our work with us and work from anywhere in the world. We can easily find places to stay in faraway communities where we can embrace local life and broaden our minds. It allows us to buy whatever we need from wherever we are.
Bloggers often share their experiences of travelling and living where they choose without the tie of a permanent home. The internet also helps us to spread the word about the benefits of minimalism and mindfulness. So, as advanced as the technology may seem today, is it actually taking us full circle and back to our roots and nomadic past?
I sit here in the doorway of my tent, feeling the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze on my face listening to the flow of the river, my dogs at my feet. And, as I type this on my iPad, I think about how the internet gives us freedom and it is what is making this new lifestyle that I have chosen possible.