Toss As Much As You Can – Advice From The Fisherman’s Shanty 

​”Their heart grew cold -they let their wings down.”

(Sappho. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho)

Toss it out, give it away, purge it all. That is another phase of coming back to Canada. We live so very simply in Mali, a place sparsely furnished with very simple and economically made local furnishings.

I come back to a house full of books, stuff saved for “some day”, and those, “I’ll need that some day”,  things that bury us in clutter.

My wife has been through the wringer with me. I don’t have much left because after these last six years in West Africa, a crap load of things ended up at the end of my driveway in Canada with a “Free” sign attached.

Often  a bag of items will have a sign attached, “Free, but must take the whole bag.” 

A surefire way of initiating a rapid exodus of junk.

People have often suggested having a yard sale.  A yard sale? Oh my gosh! You mean haul my junk out to the roadside and then actually waste more of my life by sitting beside it for a whole day, or even more hellish, two?

I don’t have much left in the house.

On our return home each year, my wife reminds me once again, “You can do whatever you wish with your stuff, but please leave mine alone. 

 I do…. but when i clear a hole only to have it filled up with another’s stuff, my redhead gets inflamed.

Today, I was listening to “The Camino Podcast” in the fishing workshop as I made eel nets. The lady being interviewed shared how many say the Camino pilgrimage really begins when you get back home and take stock of your life.

The lady shared how after her Camino pilgrimage walk of 500 miles, she began to toss out most of her things, simplified her life, and changed occupations. She said hiking and living from a backpack made her realize how little one really needs in life.

A bell of understanding went off when I heard her say this.  This desire to simplify, to lighten the load, to drop the excessive baggage on our life journey, it seems, is not unique to expats

It is a common experience for anyone taken out of the complicated routines of life for an extended period of time. Anyone who is thrust into a more basic form of living, comes back changed.

Be it a simple Africa existence, or living out of a backpack or suitcase for months on end, it all opens our eyes to how little one needs to live, survive, and thrive. It also drives home the humble, if not humiliating realization that I’ve bought the western economic lie, and the marketing slavery has duped me too.

It’s not just me!

As I stitched on the new eel nets today I dreamed of selling my house. I tell my wife it is too big now. I want to live in tiny house on wheels, downsize, simplify

Maybe not quite that compact a house, but close.

Not that i will outlive my sweet thing, but i told her that if i did, no one would know where i was as I’d certainly sell everything I own, buy another motorcycle, find some secluded woods and live out the rest of my days in a simple shack.

Could be just talk…..

Here is a great article on 12 Reasons Why You’ll Be Happier in a Smaller Home

I enjoyed the simplicity of working on my nets today. Picking up my aged fisherman father to go and check on some fishing supplies I ordered. Sharing with him a task that is now mine, but was his for an entire lifetime. Simply enjoying time with my dad while I still can.

Tossing shit is a good thing. Why is it that most of us seem to hit our 40’s before we realize we are permitted to do so?

Life advice from the fisherman”s shanty

Tip # 01

Toss that physical shit, toss as much of it as you can. Then take stock of your life. Affirm your values, and move forward.

“Had another rich ramble.”

(John Muir. My First Summer In The Sierras)

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