"Carry-on!" and "Hand wash!" Is our motto, after four weeks of reading about simplicity in my course, we're trying it out in the field. What comforts are you willing to leave behind if you're going to live on top of a pillar as the desert ascetics did, or, in our case, fly at 34,000 feet and be pilgrims when we arrive? (Clearly not the iPad I'm typing this on, though I did leave my actual laptop at home - meaning I can't do quantum mechanical calculations on the fly unless I want to log in remotely to the Beowulf cluster.)
Last night I spread everything out on the bed, and decided that anything I was remotely uncertain about bringing should stay home. Not an extra shirt, or a few bags of my favorite tea. I did decide in the end to bring my travel breviary, though I have an app that will let me pray the hours. There was something anchoring about having, if not my usual volume, at least a book. Each time I pack, I let a little more go.
One of the Augustinians, who lived for many years in Japan, wished me a good trip yesterday after Morning Prayer. "Itte irasshai!" he said. Go and come back. There is something in that saying that implies balanced travel, travel that practices indifference.
I'll be writing about the trip as we go, posted at the college, and if you want to follow our adventures in real time watch for #Japan360 and #BMC360 on Twitter and Instagram. .