This shirt is good enough.

“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and that one is what we are doing.” – Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

I’m not buying new things. My husband and I are deliberately sloughing off possessions. This task is hard enough without bringing in anything new.

But awesome travel stuff has its own siren song.

To travel well, a part of my brain assures me, I need sturdy, well made, foundational equipment that will withstand repeated use and abuse over miles and years. So, I need a shirt, obviously, a new shirt, the perfect shirt, for my upcoming trip to New York City and all travels beyond that–a good tech shirt to eschew odor, dry quickly, look reasonable in a midrange NYC restaurant, and endure being crammed into a backpack.

This afternoon found me in the aisle of my local branch of a national outdoor outfitter, touching this fabric and then that one, nothing quite perfect, when Annie Dillard’s wise words came to me. Is this what I stopped teaching for? Is this how I am spending my days? Is there ANY shirt on the earth that would justify this means of spending this hour of my life?

I chose a shirt and a pair of wool socks, and now to the road, dammit. Because I’ve done my due diligence to be prepared, even if later I see a better shirt that makes even more promises. There will be times on the road when we will get blisters, or get smelly, or get lost, despite our best efforts to prevent these things. But we still get to go. At some point we must say, yep, our level of preparation is good enough, and now we may spend our days doing the thing, not just prepping for it.

Thanks for reading, and by the way, I love comments. Bookmark for more on travel, minimalism, books, public transportation, and hikes. For daily postcards from, well, wherever we are, subscribe to

One thought on “This shirt is good enough.”

  1. Well said. I spend too much time researching for just right thing, when so many choices would work fine, and the time saved would be better spent on more important endeavors. A good reminder for me, thanks 🙂

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