In just a few hours I shall be on an airplane to India.
I have realized how little I need to exist. It is usually just my computer (and hopefully an Internet connection) and some clothing and food. My camera is also nice to have around. I have also realized that these are all luxuries to some people, so I am grateful. But in comparison to the materialistic extravagance of other people, I live a moderately austere existence... happily, in fact.
I came to these thoughts while "packing" for India, and once I had picked out a few shirts, packed up my computer and camera and comb and toothbrush... I was done. I needed nothing else. I won't have access to anything in India - and I don't need anything else. It's amazing that all I need to go traveling across the world (whether it's walking or flying) can fit easily into a backpack... and hopefully I find some food and water along the way if I'm backpacking through Europe.
Why am I thinking of materialism? I watched Fight Club recently... and among the interesting dialogue was a line that noted how mankind is a shopping subculture. Everyone is trying to get you to buy thing after thing... when all you really need can fit into a backpack. I also watched Up in the Air some time ago, and far from being deterred from George Clooney's character's philosophy, I was intrigued. Such freedom lies in carrying your life upon your back... you can see the world! And someday, perhaps the universe (as Ender did in the Ender series).
I developed a taste for travel after going to Berkeley. I had not really traveled on my own before and when I finally did, it kindled a taste for seeing the rest of the world, too. Well, I am going to India... to visit, mostly. The world is a beautiful place... I should like to see it.