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Home » The Joy of Less: Kim Coupounas at TEDxBoulder (Full Transcript)

The Joy of Less: Kim Coupounas at TEDxBoulder (Full Transcript)

Kim Coupounas

Kim Coupounas – TRANSCRIPT

I want to take you back to the winter of 1993. My husband and I are living in Boston. We’re newly married, and we’re kind of early on in our A-type high-octane business careers. So we were working all the time. We didn’t have much time for fun, and as avid backpackers and climbers, we longed for time in nature.

So hallelujah, we managed to escape for a long weekend-backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We were enchanted by the notion of meandering into this frozen wintry wonderland, breathing in the smell of the pines, feeling the crunch! crunch! crunch! of the snow beneath our snowshoes, and snuggling up next to a campfire at night.

So, in preparation for this trip, we bought every winter camping gizmo and doodad our young wallets could afford. So there we were, in this beautiful, pristine winter wonderland with 80 pounds each on our backs. Now, our dream vacation backpacking trip – probably the only one we were going to get that year – turned into a nightmare. We had welts on our shoulders, blisters on our feet, sweat-soaked base layers. We were seduced by the allure of more, and we didn’t just have more on our backs, you might say that we were “more-on” backpackers.

So after a bunch of trips like that, we took all of those learnings, and my husband and I founded an outdoor company on the basic notion that when it comes to connection in the outdoors and your gear, less really is more. We really had found the key to fun and freedom in the outdoors, and it was simple: go light.

So let’s talk about the culture of more. When we think about the word ‘more,’ we think more money, more sex, more friends, more respect, more success, more power, right? So where does all this fascination with more come from? From the rise of industrial capitalism at the turn of the 20th century. Suddenly, mass-produced products were available to everyone, life-enhancing products that raised the standard of living.

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