I always forget how packing can exhaust a mind. The equation is simple, though. Packing == decision making. And decision making — hundreds of tiny yeses or noes or maybes — == much more draining than anticipated!
Mainly it’s because we tend to remember in big chunks — packing as a chunk of work, when it is anything but.
The irony is I could probably spend 10 minutes packing and be fine. A couple pairs of undies, shirts, socks, computer, camera, phone, wallet, hat, go go go. Everything else can be snagged along the way. (Amazon has truly transformed things in this way — most anything you can imagine can be “3D printed” to wherever you’ll be tomorrow; and if no Amazon, then a convenience store; and anyway, you probably didn’t need the thing.)
But the benefit of overindulgent “upfront work” is post-embarkation freedom. A walk is a tool and a platform and as such, prep work feels like tool refinement. And with a refined tool (that is: one that sits well in hand, where all the parts move smoothly, no snags, no hiccups in mechanism, has satisfying tolerances, feels milled with great care) you have more latitude to develop your creative routine. (Which is another way of saying: You have fewer excuses not perform your creative work; good prep is a way of removing dingdong reasons not to work later.)
I wrote about my walk routine extensively over on (for some reason) my non-walk-related newsletter, Roden: Creativity Bootcamp and the Long Walk.
This upcoming Kumano Kodō walk should be similar in rigor and routine to that Tōkaidō walk. Going back to the Kumano feels a little weird, since there are so many other great walks in Japan that I could be doing. But to return to places you’ve been before is to lean into the Rigor of Process. And that’s exactly what this feels like: Going back to (some) paths I’ve walked a dozen other times (others, never before) to see with fresh eyes in yet another season.
Of course, with great prep there are days that are still a slog, but also days where you get That Floating Feeling.
I’m running a members-only packing livestream tomorrow (Sat May 8, 11am JST (Fri 10pm EST)) where I’ll just show-and-tell through what’s in the pack.
Because I’ll be writing Where are all the Nightingales? daily during the walk (click that link to subscribe!), I’m going to take the next month off from Ridgeline. We’ll be back the week of the 14th of June.
OK — packing prep calls. See you on the road (or the livestream).