Living A Minimalistic Life on the Road
If you read this, then you will be well aware of how Taran and I have set about creating simpler lives, centred around travelling, living with less possessions and little to no clutter.
We aren't above material things, or spending money, or ever acquiring ANYTHING. Of course we do. I like clothes, although I have got pretty used to my tiny travel wardrobe. Taran likes gadgets (albeit not the latest mobile phone). We both like stuff, we're only human.
But in the past year we decided to eliminate all the extraneous things that weren't bringing anything to our daily life or adding satisfaction. It made sense to do this because we were leaving home for a long time and it felt like a cleansing part of the mental preparation, off-loading years of accumulated bits and bobs.
Taking a hard look at our buying habits or tendency toward hoarding things, and changing our approach to 'stuff', we have saved ourselves money, time and energy. We haven't got the stress attached to having a home full of things, or the emotional linkage towards lots of things we can live without but have turned into items of symbolism; items that are ultimately irrelevant to your overall contentment and fulfilment and simply create clutter.
Now we live in a tent, out of two backpacks. Our most important things e.g. wallet, passport, phone, stay on us almost all the time. Our life has become a whole lot more simplistic and yet travel brings new complications.
We don't have a proper bed, or quilt, or pillows. We have one hoody each, neither very warm. Taran's shoes are falling apart. My cheap sandals are ruined by mud. So we are going to slowly lose even more possessions through sheer over-use. But it's teaching us a valid lesson, a new and fresh take on minimalism.
Yes the dress I'm wearing has approximately 3 holes in, and yes I do view the other girls at the hostel like a constant cat-walk of all the fashionable clothes I would buy if I had the dollar. But most of the time I just get on with it, and remind myself how my money is better spent elsewhere, or at least put toward functional things!
When you need to, you really can get by with a very small selection of belongings, and not feel any less happy whilst doing it.
The proof is in the pudding, the pudding being that we have been backpacking for 8-weeks with just a bag on each our backs and we are no more miserable because of it. Obviously buying new or random stuff would literally not fit into our nomadic life. But also, money spent on stuff would be money not then available for nice food or excursions. It would be wasted money and limiting to our overall travel experience.
So maybe in non-nomadic life, this reality also exists, whereby material gains become overall losses.
I have found that whilst travelling and currently not working (only 6 hours every two days for accommodation) you have plenty of free time, in which you could easily over-spend. But I have found myself developing an interest in things I never did before, back when our work/life balance was geared towards consumerism.
Now we can choose how to use our time more flexibly, and develop hobbies that allow creativity, entertainment and don't cost a whole lot.
The people around us spend their days writing music and practising playing instruments, making jewellery, knitting, writing poetry, doing yoga or meditation, all stuff that seems to keep them busy and satisfied.
I have loved spending time just reading, planning places to visit, people-watching, and enjoying the sunset over the Byron coast. Taran has loved drawing and listening to his music, meeting new people and we both love waking up whenever we want!
Lucky me, lucky us. We are leading a charmed life, one which we chose, one which is sometimes hard, when you miss home or worry over your dwindling bank account, but we are using this experience to gain even more separation from the financial ties that bound us in our previous lives. And that doesn't feel like a bad thing, at all.
We are living our own version of a nomadic lifestyle, where some travellers live out of a van, packed to the rafters with kit, whilst others travel with the tiniest of tents and are never seen out of the same outfit. And both appear quite happy with their choices.
For us, travel has helped us become even bigger devotees to minimalistic living, and we hope to take these newly learnt behaviours with us whatever our future shapes into.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at NomaderHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!