Big Traveling, Small Imprints

What is the measure of success? Is it having more than enough or is it having enough? Is it being able to dictate comfort or is it being comfortable? Is it having no limits or is it being creative enough to excel within the limits that exist?

“Enough is as good as a feast” Mary Poppins

We just picked up our new car last week.  Due to the VW buy-back we were able to jump the curve and get an Audi A3 E-tron. This is a class change, pushing us into the “luxury car” definition and it is a move into plug-in hybrid technology. We test drove, we looked we assessed, and the e-tron was the one vehicle that fit us in size, in money, in technology and in feel. It’s a beautiful car. We just couldn’t go backwards from a highly efficient diesel car to a gas vehicle, and we wanted to support the industry move to all-electric, but still have the range we need for our occasional vacations. Most of our driving is within the 20 mile all-electric range, but as we have only one car, we wanted to ensure this flexibility.

And we need to go kayaking. Three ‘yaks on the roof: a must.

Are we worried? Yes. Especially about vacationing for a week or two in CT in the summer, when we normally take the kayaks, our bikes, our dog, our son, games, food, knitting, laptops, fins, masks, buckets and blankets…and anything else that will fit.

Revelation (picture my hand hitting my forehead): “Anything else that will fit”. The reality is that we don’t use a bunch of what we normally bring on vacations. We bring it because we can, and we might want it. But here’s the thing – if we didn’t have all the stuff we normally have at home maybe the vacations would feel more like vacations, or even begin to resemble an adventure. In a pinch, if it rained all week and we wanted a game to play, we could find one in the house we rent, or find one of those cool local coffee shops that have games strewn about. We can have a summer vacation in a house with a washer/dryer, without bringing a new set of clothes for every day, especially as my goal is to spend most of the time in a bathing suit on the beach. But it’s not easy to go from a car that fits everything and more to a car that won’t. We need to realize that we almost never need “and more”.

Success, prosperity, or whatever term we use maybe shouldn’t be about “and more” (bigger houses, cars, more expensive vacations, clothes, jewelry).  It could be about quality of time, place and thing.

  • Investment in what we need, and for long-term value.
  • Cleverness so we get full use out of all that we have.
  • Cost effectiveness in USE of the item (not just up-front costs).
  • “While we’re at it” thinking – can we make a slightly different choice that would benefit us for longer, or benefit other parts of our life?
  • Where is technology leading, and can we support that shift while meeting our current and near-future needs?
  • Info on the product, including materials cycles and social equity aspects (This is tough, but even asking questions makes a HUGE difference).

I’m not saying don’t spend money, or that buying a big car is shameful, or that expensive vacations are taboo. I’m saying make sure that what you get is what you truly want.  Make sure that you are not merely succumbing to constant marketing and peer pressure. There are so many people in the world that don’t make choices. They buy what they are sold.

Make good choices!


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