How much does one person actually need?

If you weren’t aware of what you wanted but only what you needed what would that be?

India isn’t as much about the age old cliche of ‘finding yourself’ but waking up to the reality of how such a large amount of people actually live, and then realising how much more you have and comparing it to what you really need…

Yes there’s the ‘hippies’ who look far deeper into the spirituality of everything, and india with its heavily influenced religious culture is a great place to go for this, but for the most part India’s backpackers are just like you or I.

One guy I met is Cameron.


I want to write about Cameron because not only does he come from the west and therefore in theory has the opportunity to have ‘everything’ he also embodies something I think is important that we as a civilisation and at large at a race really need to start addressing…

This is the difference between what we want, and what we need.

I came across Cameron in Varanasi staying in the same hostel as I and overheard a conversation he was having with an Austrian woman who works for the ministry of justice in the UK about how much he was travelling with, the list of which you can see below

3 t shirts
A pair of jeans
A pair of shorts
3 pairs of socks
3 underwear
Passport / bank card etc
Trainers and flip flops
Toothbrush, picks up little sachets of shampoo
A lifesaver bottle (filtration water bottle)


It was such an impressively small amount but also pragmatically so. He took care of all his basic needs, sanitation, clothing and financial security and needed nothing else, if he finds himself wanting of anything then he simply pops to the shop to buy it, food too is extremely cheap in the developing world in comparison along with accomodation in hostels so those are easy to come across too.

So far he’s been travelling for 3 months, his time frame is undetermined and if he needs money then he’ll address that nearer the time, opportunities to make cash are easy to come by.

So what do you need?

Well first enough I’m not saying you should forgo everything fun and live a life devoid of anything but the basics, but, in a world where the seas oceans are being depleted of their fish stocks because we’re eating more fish then ever and not allowing them to breed and grow again; and the seas are becoming more acidic due to the amount of plastics and other waste that has found its way there along with an i crease in the amount of CO2 and an ever rapidly increasing global population it’s important that we try and manage ourselves wisely, this can be done simply by not ordering more food then your going to eat , stopping eating when you’re full. Not eating the three meals a day if you don’t feel like it and not constantly buying bottle after bottle of water when you have the chance to just refill a bottle. Recycling. Using renewable energy where necessary, if you have the space grow your own fruit and veg – you hardly need any space too and they kind of look after themselves and grow quicker then you think – just water them once a day.

It all comes down to the basic comprehension though of one of the two more important things to remember in life , one that everyone dies (what are you going to leave behind, does it have any real point or purpose or fulfil any need) and secondly that this planet, the planet that sustains everything you see are all finite and need to be looked after and well managed/left to recuperate (something I think happens with time if left to its own devices).

It also makes life a lot less stressful, realising by budgeting for what you need, a place which fits you and a family comfortably (everyone wants this and should have it, but does it need to be a house or can a flat suffice?), enough for a good education (how much do you need to have a good education which develops the way of thinking and character of a child without stinting their opportunities) and the amount you want to do those extra social things to a comfortable way.

I know Cameron is doing the more extreme way of living, and I promote it, but the successes will come from not me telling you to live like him, but in the realisation (and the relief that can come with it – weight off shoulders behaviour) that , if you accept what you need and what matters as a way to gauge living then life becomes a much more liberating experience, it allows you to think more freely.

Go do it, experiment, see how much you need – it boils down to company, health and food – I had to share this story because I just thought it was such a good prof of concept and, aware of the issues we face I felt compelled to share. I hope it’s something that strikes an accord with you!

Hope you’re well!

2 responses to “How much does one person actually need?

  1. Great blog post but one little bug-bear…(really tiny compared to the important message your post is conveying but as someone whose focus is on the environment I had to point it out… sorry!) but the oceans are becoming more acidic because of the increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere, not because of increased waste 🙂 xxx

    • Thank you for that. Always eager to improve on what I know and be corrected if wrong. Glad you like the blog and posts! If you have any other areas of the environment that you want me to find out more about please let me know and feel free to join the Facebook page if you haven’t already. Hope you’re well and thanks again for the feedback.

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