In most respects, we are all very similar around the world. But if you look closely there are little things that make us unique. Little ways we look at life or feel differently about it. The first time I pulled my shopping cart to the register in Ireland, by the time I got done paying I realized that they were not going to give me a bag. I looked around and everyone had their reusable totes. Behind the counter was plastic bags for sale. It seems so normal to have a stock pile of plastic bags at home - one shopping bag filled with 50 shopping bags, just lying around. I just have them sitting there, saving them.
Then I began to look in my panniers (saddle bags). I sure do have a lot of food in there. Probably enough for 5 days for Lydia and I. We definitely see a town every day. Why am I carrying all this food around like there is a famine? It is making me reconsider my conception of "enough." I come from a society of stock piling; shopping at Costco and SAMs club. I bet I would appreciate every pedal stroke up that mountain a little more if I ditched the extra 10 pounds of food.
Not only am I shedding the weight from my panniers but I'm shedding this mentality of paranoia of scarcity. The markets and stores are very small compared to the USA, yet everything one would need is around. The selections are less, but a little more thoughtful. I hardly miss the endless options of home and more crave the lightness of getting used to just a little less. It is not so much about having less, it is feeling that more is not necessarily better.
A perfect word to summarize much of the accumulation back home is "surplus." A surplus which measures up to be unnecessary. "Take as needed" is much more suitable and simple. And the art of simplicity peels away the layers of stress, which is hidden in complexity. The essence of "more" or "bigger" is not particularly better or worse. It is the underlying implication of "safe" that is deceptive. The undoubted assurance resides within one's self, not the objects that surround you. When you find the inner security that things are alright and taken care of, the outside world always seems to adhere.