It has now been almost four months of travel and trails. And while I haven’t yet found the magic cure for “indecision about ones future plans” I have started to change.
There are those easy to see superficial changes. My hair is obviously longer and looking very Scandinavian, if I say so myself. I am developing more muscle tone, though after three rest days this appears to already have returned to flab. My skin got a lot better, but then a lot worse after we ran out of options and ate three packets of biscuits in two days. And the best of all, I have what would seem to be irreversible tan lines and will wear shorts and a t-shirt for the next three years.
Luckily, and somewhat refreshingly, the importance of appearance diminishes each day. After wearing the same clothes day in and day out I surprisingly have no desire to add to my wardrobe. Time is saved each morning as I always know what I will wear and the only toiletries I carry is a toothbrush (soap is too heavy, sunblock can double as moisturiser and makeup?…I just assume I always look gorgeous as a sweaty mess).
A quote on the wall of a Norwegian cabin long drop sparked inspiration:
The best things in life are not things.
Minimalism and simplicity have become our mantra, a shift from the Singaporean motto of “Shopping, shopping, shopping…“. It’s a never ending game to see how much we can live without. With no “things”, chores are almost non existent. Hanging up the washing only ever takes a couple of minutes as I only clean undies and socks. “The dishes” entails rinsing a cup and a spoon, and maybe a can of fish. And of course gas-less cooking takes no time at all, ie. all food is not cooked. I could get used to this. Our biggest compliment to date was a Norwegian (the masters of the art) saying they could “learn minimalism from these New Zealanders”! And like a sign from the gods, our in-flight plane magazine as we departed Norway had an article on Steve Jobs, accrediting his success at Apple to his endless drive for simplicity.
Between trails we hit the city sights. Luckily my two outfit options (shorts and tights) have been more than adaptable, I basically dress as an activewearing housewife. I had always questioned the self respect of those that wear leggings. Why do you not buy real jeans? Although I wear black running tights, not strictly leggings, I now understand. It’s impossible not to feel awesome in these pants. Made of spandex they are never too tight; I cannot have a fat day. They are about 75% socially acceptable in all situations. Where other clothes would vary between 0-100%, that’s pretty good based on the law of averages and an easy choice if you choose to own only one other pair of legwear. Running, yoga, museums, restaurants, bed…I dare you to defy the statement that they can go anywhere…except perhaps a French beach where I may be asked to remove them to preserve my decency (they are after all 50% of a burkini).
Most importantly my confidence is improving. Self-belief that I can run 30km of trail, 10 and a half hours, five days in a row is spreading to other aspects of life (there is nothing to foster self belief like isolation, icy rain, and the legitimate prospect of death if I decided to give up).
Will I change more? Of course. But will I buy actual leggings when I move home…probably not.
Written by Rosie
Also published on Medium.