The time you stuff a spare mattress in your kitchenette

You know you have a problem. That had been my mattress at some point, but luckily, it wasn’t my kitchenette and I wasn’t guilty of the stuffing. That was a friend of mine with acute pack-rat syndrome. He tells me he’s doing better these days.

I always think that I do a decent job at not accumulating stuff, that is, until I have to move. While I was still living in Bangkok, I had to rent a pick-up truck to move my stuff from one place to the next. And I was moving from a tiny studio into a full-sized apartment, not the other way around. Both were fully furnished so the move didn’t involve any of the heavy stuff.

When I moved out of Bangkok, even though I thought I had already learned my lesson, I left a mess for my roommate to sort through. (Buddha bless homeslice for that.)

This past year, I’ve been traversing through the US and considering how efficient I thought I’d become at travel packing (i.e. one small backpack, two weeks anywhere, no problem), I was utterly befuddled at the amount of things I stuffed into my ride. (I blame the roomy interior and spacious trunk.) All jokes aside, it was only then when I decided to take full stock of what I really needed and what I had to let go. It was an awful lot.

The weaning began and it’s still ongoing.

There’s nothing like a good set of statistics to help us visualize our problem with clutter. “Ours” as in the “developed world,” and by the “developed world” I mean mostly America. The site becomingminimalist (great site!) compiled a few crazy and scary stats regarding the accumulation of goods.

Among the crazy:

5. The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing (SSA).

Among the terrifying:

11. Nearly half of American households don’t save any money (Business Insider).

Back in Thailand I have a stylish American Thai Cambodian Australian short friend who (aside from remaining anonymous) had the habit of wearing a particular tee on a given day. There was the Wednesday tee, the Thursday tee, the Sunday button-up, etc. Incredibly efficient… is what she calls herself. I don’t think I’ll ever be on her level but I’m definitely cutting down on my surplus threads and belongings. Becoming minimalist? Maybe so but definitely heading in that direction.

R.:

Two weeks after the initial rush of the news media to cover the disaster that hit Nepal, its people are still in dire need of help.

It’s easy to get mixed messages about what to do in situations like this, some prompt for money for the convenience of it while some officials ask for food and equipment donations because the influx of money can be troublesome in the present environment in Kathmandu. Plus, the risk of corruption can be problematic.

In situations like this, I’d rather let the experts do what they do best and allow them to deal with the situation. leave it to On The Media to give us a better idea on how these relief efforts develop on the ground immediately after disasters. I figure that two weeks into this tragedy, these organizations should have their operations running more efficiently. To learn more about what some relief organizations are doing and how individuals can help, check out this list put together by PBS:

Originally posted on digital overground:

A selfie in Durbar Square.

I snapped this in Patan, just south of Kathmandu in Nepal, a day before I bought a one way ticket to Bangkok, where I would spend the next 5 years of my life. If you’ve been following the news, you know that this place was leveled by an Earthquake last month. Kathmandu is an odd juxtaposition of ancient and modern architecture and a lot of both was brought down by the quake. Around two thousand people are dead and thousands more have been heavily affected by it. It has been two weeks since the disaster and the Nepali people are still in dire need of help. If you’re wondering what you can do from where you are, PBS put together a list of legitimate relief organizations taking donations:

Here is how to help the victims of Nepal’s earthquake disaster.

View original

Free fallin’.

Those are my feet dangling up above at the Horseshoe Bend. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t holding on for dear life. I’m terrified of heights. Somehow, I managed to carefully aim and not break my camera as my knuckles turned white. If you’re feeling that pic, go check out my photoblog. I just got back from crisscrossing the US on four wheels and I’m working on processing a whole lot of RAW files I’ve accumulated along the way. That’s where they’ll end up. Plus, I’ve got thousands more photos from my time in Southeast Asia currently trapped inside my old Mac’s drive that I’d love to get out and share. Anyone got any ideas how to go about that?

marketing vs. science

NPR’s The Salt goes heavy on the snark to make a point that focused more on the marketing angle rather than its effects on science, while using science. If you ask me, this is precisely the reason why we should take it seriously. Ironically, The Salt, flubbed their bit on salt. (Coincidentally, Health Care Triage did a short piece on salt in your diet back in August.)

Eating GMO or non-GMO won’t affect your health. People have the right to eat whatever they want, where ever they want; pay for food as much as they want. This makes a lot of people apathetic to this seemingly non-issue. The problem is letting the suits at Chipotle and Pepsico off easy for fudging the facts for the sake of marketing. My beef with this whole GMO issue was more eloquently stated by Dr. Carroll at HCT:

“bowing to popular pressure when it runs counter to science, sets a precedent that may come back to haunt us.”

The possibilities feel like something right out of a dystopian sci-fi book.