Leaving the house for the afternoon: Better bring everything. You never know when the afternoon is going to turn into the evening, and by then you’re halfway to night. Rely on no battery, count on no charge. You might need deodorant. Also everything you would need for a quick shower, in case you’re invited to Noël Coward’s country house at the last minute and need to dress for dinner. A book, in case your chargers don’t work and you need to pass the time.
Leaving the house for a week: Your home is the road! The road, your home. If you didn’t remember to pack it, it probably wasn’t that important, was it? And who needs all this stuff, anyways? “The feudal ownership of land did bring dignity, whereas the modern ownership of movables is reducing us again to a nomadic horde. We are reverting to the civilization of luggage, and historians of the future will note how the middle classes accreted possessions without taking root in the earth, and may find in this the secret of their imaginative poverty.” All that truly matters is that which we can fit into that great suitcase of the mind. My memory palace is richly furnished, and would not be unsuitable to receive a humble beggar or a great emperor. Ho ho! Onward, ho, in one flow, as the river goes right on. Get a farm, lose a farm, that’s a jerk, but the river goes right on. We’re the people, Pa. Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good, an’ they die out. But we keep coming. We’re the people that live.
Leaving the house for exactly two days: You are about to become, whether by sheer coincidence or precisely because this trip is happening now and will only last a weekend no one can be quite sure, but you are about to become an entirely different type of person. Be sure to bring:
Vitamines!! You should buy vitamines, because you’re going to become the kind of person who takes a vitamine every day, despite already having a diet rich in folate and antirachitic A and vital amines, liver salts, cod bran, and polished yeasts.
Bring only one shirt, because you are incredibly self-reliant and deeply committed to simple, humble living. Fold it with great humility and simplicity, not neglecting perfection; like Brother Lawrence washing a single fork perfectly for the sheer love of the divine.
Twelve of your heaviest books, because you are going to read six books a day, likely while doing squats with the rest of your books in your backpack.
Unguents and aromatizers, spritzers to perfume your pillow with slivered magnesium and lavender ash, because your commitment to simplicity does not mean an aversion to pleasure for pleasure’s sake.
A fine pillow of your own, that you may sleep anywhere at a moment’s notice
Comfortable, minimal clothing for Swedish gymnastics, light calisthenics, Greek-style wrestling, dashing nimbly through the woods like a nymph, planches, et al
A beautiful journal and the heaviest pen money can buy, as you will begin a casual-yet-consistent log of your finest thoughts, to be collected and distributed widely after your death as a guide for how to live
A beautiful, simple cheese
A single, perfect apple, with one red cheek and one white cheek, for your honest supper
One-half loaf of good honest bread, wrapped in gingham cloth
A very simple first-aid kit, as you will experience total awareness of your surroundings for the duration of this trip and may very well be called upon to lend medical support (light chiropractic work, basic herbal remedies, wound-site dressing) to those still suffering around you
Lifting stone for strongman demonstrations (Húsafell Stone preferred)
Kalevala, Kirby translation, 1907 edition
Voynich manuscript for some light deciphering
Brass sextant or astrolabe in case of celestial navigation or friendly stargazing competition
A mysterious pod
Utility knife, wayfinder, two pairs socks, three pairs underwear, partly-used metro cards from every city you have ever visited, amulet, pancake mix, last-minute addition of two pairs underwear, simple ring forged of unknown substance,
That’s it!! Congratulations on your new life