Living out of a backpack makes its tough on my library space. No room for physical books. However, the kindle app is a worthy substitute.
Having said that, I did bring two physical books during my 1 year of travel:
1. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse,
2. The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (Perennial Classics) [Paperback]  (Author) Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell
I just finished reading the Tao Te Ching for a sixth or seventh time. It was during my 4-day hike through the Colombian jungle and mountains, to the Ciudad Perdid; the Lost City, outside of Santa Marta.
I’m not going to talk about the hike. I will tell you it was incredible. It was a physical challenge. It was inspirational. It sparked creativity. It was a spiritual experience; awakening and enlightening.
I will save the details for another post.
After a delicious fish dinner during, I found a comfortable hammock in our simple and cozy hut we were sleeping in. I softly swayed from side to side on the hammock with my pen, and the Tao Te Ching in my hands.
As I read, I became deeply engaged by simple and profound lines within this book. I was lost in rapture. Yes, I was lost, yet, I realized I was actually finding myself. I was thinking clear. I was aware. I was focused.
Clarity, awareness, focus.
Poems and prose, metaphors and messages, similes and stories, about letting go, about surrendering, and about detaching; about allowing life to just flow, about yielding, about love; all of these things are enveloped and weaved throughout this book. Weaved together in a blanket of truth and clarity. Weaved in simplicity.
As I lay reading, I wrapped the cloth of the hammock around my legs and body, to avoid the mosquito bites. More deeply, I wrapped my self in a weaved blanket of truth, clarity, and simplicity in the form of a book called the Tao Te Ching.
Here are 29 quotes/sayings from the Tao Te Ching that will make you say “wow:”
1. “Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you.”
2. “The Master can keep giving
because there is no end to her wealth.
She acts without expectation,
succeeds without taking credit,
and doesn’t think that she is better than anyone else.”
3. “Because he believes in himself,
he doesn’t try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn’t need others’ approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.”
4. “Knowing others is intelligence,
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength,
mastering yourself is true power.”
5. “If you look to others for fulfillment,
You will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.”
6. “Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.”
7. “The Master stays behind;
that is why she is ahead.
She is detached from all things;
That is why she is one with them.
Because she has let go of herself,
She is perfectly fulfilled.”
8. “Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.”
9. “Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.”
10. “Success is as dangerous as failure.
What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
Your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
You will always keep your balance.”
11. “See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
Then you can care for all things.”
12. “The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
She is present, and can welcome all things.”
13. “Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.”
14. “He who rushes ahead, doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine, dims his own light.
He who defines himself, can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others, can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work, will create nothing that endures.”
15. “If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.”
16. “A good traveler has no fixed plans
and is not intent upon arriving.
A good artist lets his intuition
Lead him where it wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
And keeps his mind open to what is.
17. “Yielding is the way of the Tao.”
18. “Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the master makes use of it,
embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.”
19. “The more you know,
The less you understand.”
20. “True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering.”
21. “If you keep your mind from judging,
and aren’t led by the senses,
your heart can find peace.”
22. “Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your own light
and return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.”
23. “Those who know don’t talk.
Those who talk don’t know.”
24. “If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let got of fixed plans and concepts,
And the world will govern itself.”
25. “I have just 3 things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.”
26. “The Master has no possessions.
The more he does for others,
the happier he is.
The more he gives to others,
the wealthier he is.”
27. “Give evil nothing to oppose
and it will disappear by itself.”
28. “Not-knowing is true knowledge.”