While we do talk alot about barefoot shoes around here, footwear is certainly not the only form of minimalism that we embrace. Scaling back is a practice my wife and I have been practicing for some time now.
I am a believer in using less to achieve more. No debt, less house, less car, less stuff... by reducing the burden of our north american lifestyle, we have been able to more easily move in the direction of our goals and dreams.
As you are also probably aware, our family is quite fond of hiking and backpacking (hence my series on minimalist footwear for backpackers!). In fact, the majority of my experimentation with minimalist shoes in the early days of this site (back when it was called ADVENTUREinPROGRESS) happened on hikes and backpacking trips. It should be no surprise then that the philosophy of going light also spills over into those activities.
Lightweight backpacking principles are what have enabled us to do multi-day trips with our children, comfortably and safely, without overburdening ourselves under the weight of gear. Because we use the same gear for car camping as we do backpacking, we are able to fit all of the gear (for five of us) neatly (although tightly) into the trunk of our car. So far we have managed to survive without having to purchase a minivan or roof carrier - an achievement I am proud of :-)
Over the past couple years I have had the opportunity to get to know the folks at Gossamer Gear - a well established and respected ultralight backpacking gear manufacturer. Glen Van Peski, the founder, has written a couple guest articles for Toe Salad (How FiveFingers Made Running Fun and A Review of the Primal Professional Barefoot Dress Shoes). Last summer at OR, I had the privilege of staying with Gossamer Gear during the show - they are a great group of people.
This summer, Gossamer Gear asked me if I would be interested in applying to become a trail ambassador. This looked like a good fit for me, so I applied, and was just recently accepted to the program.
The purpose of the program is to build more awareness of ultralight and lightweight hiking/backpacking through education and inspiration. This is something my wife and I do a bit of already through our online writing, but is also something I would like to be more intentional about in the future. It also gives me the opportunity to test out and offer feedback to Gossamer Gear's product development process. Being an engineer by training, and geek by day, this is the kind of thing I really enjoy.
Are you interested in learning more about lightweight hiking and backpacking? In minimalist footwear? With kids? Or at least some of those topics? I would be happy to give a presentation to your group/company/organization - please contact me. Want to pick-my-brain on any of those topics? Post a question in our Q&A section!