Well I finished Thoreau, much food for thought. Primarily on the stuff culture of the modern world. A simple life is what we all desire yet we all seem to fool ourselves into believing we cant achieve it. Obviously we cant just go to a local wood cut down the trees and build a cabin but we can simplify our outdoors lives - worry less about brand names and more about just finding gear that works for us. As he says, the monkey in paris puts on a hat and the monkeys in america copy him - so it has been for a long time by the bushcraft monkeys.
Certain guru's put on a hat and the world copies them and yet why? And are the head monkeys so wise or experienced that they know best?
Many people myself included try different things, different jackets or sacks or hats and so do the so called experts. Ask yourself this, if Ray Mears is seen using a certain pocket knife in one episode of his programmes should the sheeple rush out and buy one?? Is Ray seen using this knife often?? Does the pocket knife look like he's used it for years, a trust old friend or is it fresh out the packet??
My point is this, lacking experience or practicle knowledge we all seek advice and inspiration from those "percieved" to have more than we.
Thoreau for example states that one thick layer is as good as many thin layers - my own experience as well as the accepted view is counter to this.
A well travelled and respected Norwegian tells us that a leuku or large knife is an important tool as it can also be used to lift pots off the fire or as a stand for a candle for example, yet anyone with a ounce of bushlore might say we'll so is a stick! A stick can lift a pot off the fire and split with a loop of bark makes a far better candle holder!
Another or more food for thought is the luxury or gear we seem to think we need - I have heard the statement if your roughing it your doing something wrong and this is right, but what or who decides what roughing it is?? Surely the inability to visit a woods and camp out for a night or two without a car load of gear isnt the right approach? So what is roughing it? Going to the woods to some is roughing it yet I say to you that if your going to the woods with the intention of sleeping out then you owe it to yourself to experience the minimalistic approach, if not then why not stay at home and enjoy your luxuries there and leave the woods to its natural inhabitants!
I could go on - food, gear, mental attitude etc etc but I wont bore you.
All I will say dear reader is ponder this - it would be well perhaps if we were to spend more of our days and
nights without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies ...................how many of you have ever slept outdoors without a roof over your head?? Maybe thats the place to start, carry the tarp but if its not raining sleep without it - trust me, you will awaken next day with a different feeling, and a more subtle understanding of your place in nature!!
From there a new trail may open to you - follow it for it leads you back to that which you seek, back to a simplier life and a better understanding of the natural world of which we are all a part!