Monthly Archives: February 2012

Minimalists Find Packing Lighter Means Living More Freely

Airline limitations have angered many, requiring passengers  to fit all of their essentials into smaller spaces and keep their bags lighter.  While a fifty-pound bag seems to be a squeeze for some, it would be enough to store all of minimalist Andrew Hyde’s earthly possessions more than five times over.  This is because Hyde, like many minimalists, is finding that possessing only the necessary items actually makes you much more ready for anything.

Andrew Hyde with all of his belongings

For two years, Hyde only owned 15 items, allowing him to carry his nine pounds of possessions with him everywhere. After assisting in the startup of several successful tech companies, Hyde spent two years exploring the world, from Thailand to Colombia and everywhere in between, all while traveling light to the extreme.

Even when he boosted his total to a whopping 31 items, Hyde could carry all he owned without inhibiting his ability to move about freely.

“The bag is light enough (about 14 pounds with the iPad included) so I can run (really) around any city with no problem. This has saved many trips going to and from the hostel before I take off on a trip or meal,” Hyde said.

Hyde’s mission to travel lightly is not purely about practicality, but also about the state of mind it allows. “It is very simple living this way. I do laundry a lot, but besides that, that simplicity allows me to think about other things,” Hyde said in an interview with ABCRadio. “Other than the issue of really wanting a new shirt color sometimes, I really am not missing much, but experiencing a lot.”

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Five Places You Have to See Now

Cruise the canals of Venice on a Gondola.  Swim beside the Great Barrier Reef. Stand beneath the shadow of the Taj Mahal.  Spot alligators in the Everglades.  Take in the vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park.

If any of these are items on your travel bucket list, you might want to cross them off sooner rather than later. All of these famous destinations are under threat of deterioration and destruction within our lifetime.

While global warming and sprawling development have put many legendary places in at least eventual danger, these five are predicted to change drastically as soon as the next few years.

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Lose Yourself in Allegheny National Forest

According to the university website, St. Bonaventure is 70 miles from Buffalo, 195 miles from Cleveland, 220 miles from Pittsburgh and 360 miles from New York City.


As far as many are concerned, that places St. Bonaventure right smack dab in the middle of nowhere.  And in many respects, they may be right.  However, that doesn’t mean that the area surrounding St. Bonaventure is without things to do or places of interest.  So for the next few weeks I will be exploring different things to do in Cattaraugus County and the surrounding areas.

This winter has been a disappointment to skiers and snowboarders in Western New York, including myself.  However, the uncharacteristically warm weather does allow for other outdoor ventures that are much less expensive.

St. Bonaventure is situated near plenty of places to hike, but Allegheny National Forest, with over 200 miles of hiking trails, is just a short drive away. This Saturday, after having hearty pre-hike Burton burgers, my friends and I set out to take on a small portion of these trails for a chance at some fresh air and a change of scenery.

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To Begin…

Then what?

As a college senior I am sure I am not alone in thinking that these two words have become the most terrifying, stressful, and frankly just plain irritating phrase that has been bombarding me from all directions recently.

Even for those who are sure of what they would like to pursue, the answer must be tough, because the economy and job market don’t seem so sure that there will be an opportunity for them to do so.  And for those of us who aren’t sure, “I’m still figuring that out,” doesn’t seem to satisfy or impress the interrogators when graduation is a mere 100 days away.

Usually I would make something up.  Whichever of my most recent life-plot musings seemed like it would please the asker most. But as of today, I am finally excited for someone to ask me that question, because as of today, I finally have a concrete, in-motion plan.

This summer I will be setting out on a trip to Costa Rica to become certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and then actually teaching abroad.

This is something I had thought about for the past year or so.  A few months ago, I told my dad to brace himself for yet another one of my brilliant life plans, which are proposed to him and my mom on about a bi-weekly basis.  When I told him wanted to teach English abroad after I graduated, his response confirmed I might be onto something.

“Well if you’re going to go off and be a gypsy, at least you have a way to support yourself while you do it.”

To some people that might not sound like the go-ahead, but coming from the one who has always been the first to put my ideas in check (and for good reason since they are usually ridiculously impulsive and unrealistic), this was overwhelming consent.

So I began further research on the best means follow through on my plan, and for once, instead of just talking about it, I took the initiative and put my idea into action.

I’m not naïve enough to think I’ve figured it all out.   I’m unsure of what career I hope to find myself in 25 years from now, or maybe even five years from now, but I’m not sure that’s really the most pressing matter.

Photo credit:

Someone whom I respect very much recently told me the most important thing isn’t to start in the perfect place or in the perfect long-term career; it’s just to start somewhere and to always keep moving forward at full speed from that point.  I was struck.  What if we’re all so concerned with trying to figure out how to get where we should be 10, 20 and 30 years from now, that we are too afraid to pick somewhere to start now, in case it’s the wrong place?

In reality, the “then what?” question probably won’t be going away anytime soon.  In fact it will probably be looming overhead for my entire life. But, for now, I’m happy to have picked somewhere to start.

So to begin, Costa Rica. Well, completing this semester of college, then Costa Rica. And after that, full speed ahead, wherever that may be.

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