This post was contributed by our Couples Travel Experts, Mack & Laura.
What do you dream of? Is it a fancy house, the glitz and glamour, and the biggest brands? Or do you find your mind wandering to something a little less tangible?
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If you’re anything like us you’ll choose a plane ticket over a new toy every time, and you’ll spend your time, efforts and money filling the bank with the things that you hold dear.
For us, they’re simple things. Freedom and passion. A complete life based on experience and connection. Freedom in its purest sense, to be unbound and unrestrained.
Passion, to fill our hands and our hearts with the energy and love that sustains us.
Minimalism is a big word. I remember being put off by its extremity, the first time I heard it. I imagined renouncing my worldly possessions to walk into the desert and live off the land. It was a bit frightening, but it didn’t need to be.
Now, after taking the leap, we’ve come to realize that when we break it down, minimalism becomes a simple shift in priorities.
Our minimalism is a modern life with a simpler focus.
We aren’t homeless. We have jobs, bank accounts, and financial security. We have commitments, we use technology and if we get sick, we go see a doctor.
We also take time out to travel the world. We pursue new experiences, we invest in mental and spiritual growth, we get off the grid, and sometimes, we live on the road.
Like any lifestyle, the secret to minimalism is balance. We understand the need to exist in Western society, to be engaged in the market, and to invest in our future.
But as a parallel, we understand our personal need to invest in ourselves and create a life that we believe to be worth living. We buy a little less, own a little less, go out a little less and in turn, save a little more.
We work hard with our purpose defined in experiences. Our closets may not be full, but our passports sure are. Luckily, we discovered a long time ago that there is only so much you can take with you when you go.
It can be all too easy in this world to become bound to material things, wind up wrapped in stress and feel weighed down by all of life’s daily demands.
So with that in mind, my question is this:
In a world filled with burden and commitment, what would it look like if you could lose a little weight and float free?
Who would you be? What would you do? Where would you go if there was nothing standing in the way of you and your partner escaping the traps and losing yourselves in a life worth remembering?
I promise you, it’s possible. Your daydreams can become a reality if you allow them the space to grow. Here is the how and why of our journey to a simpler life, and a richer one.
Why Choose a Minimalist Lifestyle
Minimalism Allows for More Freedom
Freedom is one of our biggest motivations and rewards for living a minimalist lifestyle. The world is expansive, it is diverse and it is inviting.
There are so many places to see, people to meet and cultures to experience that even if we spent our entire lives chasing the feelings the horizon holds, we could not find them all.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t try. Once upon a time, I made a promise to Laura that we would create a lifetime of epic memories together. These experiences that we share are the fire that burns inside us and the freedom to pursue experiences, goals, dreams, and passions sit at the forefront of every decision we make.
Minimalism Creates Flexibility
We find joy in impulse and spontaneity. Snap decisions and last minute adventures keep us on our toes and rarely do we find ourselves bored.
Flexibility is something that we place great value in and it is something which allows for us to make decisions without much consideration of our commitments. Minimising bills and reducing expenses means that we only need to worry about supplementing the life we’re living, not the one we return to.
We’ve been active in slowing down and taking the scenic route, allowing life to become more about the journey and less about the destination. We made a conscious choice to live a lifestyle that is not dependent on the income which we earn and borne from that, is the flexibility to say yes when wonderful opportunities arise.
Minimalism Brings Appreciation
Our joy lies in the little things. It sounds simple, and maybe a little overstated, but I can honestly say that it is one of our most fundamental truths.
When we live a modest life, we create so much more space for joy to settle around us. We spend our time outside, enjoying the sensations that this world has spent eons perfecting.
We search for fulfillment in our relationships and our experiences rather than in our closets and garages, and what we find is a much more deeply rooted and informed sense of contentment.
This world never ceases to amaze us. Each day as we work our way around the sun there are countless moments of clarity and wonder. We find that the more simply we live, the closer we get to the world in its natural state and the deeper our appreciation of each aspect of our existence becomes.
Minimalism Heightens Environmental Consciousness
The earth is our shared home. This lonely island refuge in a sea of space and stars is all that we have and all that we know. It is perfect. Or at least it should be.
The ugly truth is that we are poisoning this place. For all our complexity, ingenuity and empathy; we are yet to find a cure for ourselves. It’s a simple fact that this earth cannot support 8 billion consumers.
It is our responsibility to shift our behaviour, and if we don’t give, something will. For now, our solution is to live simply and with the heightened level of environmental consciousness that minimalism brings.
When we consume less, we are more invested in a product’s origins, more likely to make informed decisions, and hopefully, to be a part of the solution instead of the problem.
Minimalism Creates Space For Creativity, Hobbies, Happiness and Passion
Laura and I decided early in our relationship that we were going to allow for a life with lifestyle. We chose to forgo a life of luxury, brand names, fancy restaurants, and new toys. Instead, we award ourselves the space to enjoy this life for what it is and not just for what fits inside it.
The question of why has always been present in our minds. Life has a way of building routine and structure around us. One universal human characteristic is our willingness to exchange our present for our dreams of what the future might hold.
The future is unknown. Invest in it, but not exclusively. What’s the point in living a life for later, without ever enjoying our lives as they are? When we live simply we create space for our creativity, happiness, and passion to thrive in each moment. We create space for a life worth living.
How to Create a Minimalist Lifestyle
What is important to you? For us, it is a life of experience, contentment, and passion. We decided a long time ago that we could compromise on almost anything; except for the life that we wanted to live.
Decide what you want. Prioritize it, place it at the forefront of your mind and make decisions around it. You will be surprised how your dreams take shape.
When there is something you think you need, when you are about to spend $20 on a salad, or even $5 on a coffee; when something you own becomes old and outdated; or whenever your consumer’s brain starts to itch; stop to think. Ask yourself: Is this something that I really need? Could my money be better spent?
Learn to think like a minimalist.
Grandma always said, “look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.” Grandma always knew best.
Test the Boundaries
People will question you. They will try to offer advice; they’ll suggest that your decisions are misguided; they’ll think of reasons why your ideas won’t work. They will tell you that your dreams aren’t possible.
Our advice is to chase them anyway. Nobody knows what this life will hold; not even you. Be willing to test the boundaries. Don’t be afraid to find something great.
Fail, and Fail again
This life is about learning. Set goals, experiment and have dreams. Allow yourselves space to try different things and harbour new passions.
You don’t need to have all the answers right away. Try living with less, see what works for you and what doesn’t. Then mix things up and try them again. It’s all part of the ride.
If you have property, rent it. If you have a lease, sublet it. Housing is a huge expense and if you can offset that cost and contribute towards your trip while you travel, take it.
Does it really make sense to pay for your home to sit empty? Decisions like these will help you to maintain the life you are living, not the one you need to return to. It’s amazing the difference this kind of thinking will make to any travel budget.
Dare to Say Yes
Life is scary. It’s a big world and one which seems as though it could swallow us up some days. We are trained to mitigate risk, to set ourselves up for success, and to surround ourselves with comforts. We’re taught not to challenge the status quo.
But what if your dreams and passions lived on the other side of fear, would you have the courage to walk through it? Eliminate fear-based decisions, be willing to say yes, try something different, and sometimes do without.
A world of opportunity exists if you can eliminate your dependence on what feels safe. Content yourself with less, believe in an incredible life.
Dream and Do
Take the leap. If you find yourself dreaming of travel and adventure, or about freedom from the stresses and commitments in your life, now is the time to go for it.
When will there be a better time to make it happen? You’ll be amazed at the possibilities when you trim the excess out of your life. You’ll find more time, more money and more joy. It’s sitting there waiting. It just needs space to grow.
Minimalism isn’t something that we can define for you, it is whatever each of us needs it to be. If you are in search of a simpler life, one with less stress, less weight, and more freedom, then minimalism is the path that will take you there.
Surely there is more to this life than an education, a career, a house, and retirement. At least there is in ours. In search of purpose and passion to accompany our existence, we stumbled across the realization that if we could be happy with less, we could have the life we wanted.
We prioritized lifestyle, made space for growth, stoked the embers of passion, and loosened the chains of constraint. We don’t need so much. A spare set of clothes to wear, a few blank pages in our passports, plenty of time and each other for company and we will be just fine anywhere in the world.
It’s amazing how far you can go if you’re willing to trim just a little bit of excess.