Living with erratic cell service, cut off from the internet and relying on battery powered lighting can also do it. When you are traveling for several days and you need to keep the food on ice, you might prepare food and eat differently than normal too.
You find all kinds of ways to practice simplicity and you learn to not only get good at it, but you start to really like it. Love it even.
There's something to be said for waking up with the sun and going to sleep at dusk. There's a magic lull that happens when you eat by candle light or under the stars. When the only sound you hear at night is the lake gently lapping the shore or the hoot of an owl and come morning its the coo of a dove and the rustle of grass from a curious deer.
We lived simply for the two weeks we were on the road. I packed way more clothes than I ever needed and learned a lesson in that. I found what was comfortable and stuck with that, putting the rest at the bottom of the basket.
Taking sponge baths or dips in the lake made me realize how much I took hot showers for granted but I found I rather enjoyed the quaintness of heating water for my morning routine. I let my make up and hair product rest in the drawer and turned my face to the sun for color.
Coffee perked the old fashioned way never tasted so good. The smokey flavor of grilled meat and the sizzle of eggs in a pan delighted me in ways a cappuccino machine can never do.
We lived simply and we ate simply. Yet we never felt deprived and we relished every meal. We developed a system for cooking and cleaning and the partnership it created was fun. I cook. He cleans. Likewise our traveling: he drives, I navigate. Setting up camp got easier each time as we both had our roles to play and didn't have to be reminded of it, we just did it.
We lived simply and we simply lived. Without the distractions of the world wide web we could sink back into the soft pillows of the hammock and get lost in a good book. We took hikes and enjoyed the sounds of rushing water over the creek bed. We saw wild life up close and struggled to breathe in altitudes we were not used to. We reveled in the majesty of God's Creation: mountains and crevices, rolling hills dotted with trees and brown grass. Snow capped mountain peaks, whistling marmots and chattering squirrels. The thrill of seeing a big black bear as it meandered in search of berries!
Curiosities in the form of road side attractions and tourist traps. Pulling over when the mood strikes and buying ice cold coke from a funky little store in the middle of nowhere. When your shopping list is as complicated as "eggs and milk" and your needs are whittled down to a shady place to park and water to cook with, you know you are living simply. Living simply but simply living. Rejoicing in the simplicity of life and how much pleasure it can bring if you just stop long enough to drink it in.
I've been in a bit of a post-vacation funk since we got home. Part of it I can probably blame on the rapid change in weather-- definitely feeling like that next beautiful season is fast approaching and wanting to stretch summer out for a few more weeks. But I think a great part of it has to do with the busyness of life rushing in to claim me once again. For two weeks we put our regular routine on hold but when you go to collect your mail after 2 weeks and start sorting through the bills, when you have meetings to attend and decisions to make and your calendar is full of activities.... all clamoring for your attention, all threatening to steal the peace you worked so hard to achieve while on vacation... well.... post vacation funk, plain and simple.
But the mantra that has been rolling over in my mind since our return is going to be the mantra I use to hold on to some of that vacation tranquility. Living Simply, Simply Living.
If I can live simple and find joy and peace and contentment in the practice of simplicity while on vacation, can't I find it here in my every day life? What changes would I need to make to live simply in order to simply live?
It's nice to know that as I explore this I have the Burke-Turque sitting right outside my front door. If push comes to shove I can always move out there for a day or two to remind myself of how to live simply and simply live.