Does Traveling Make Us Natural Minimalists?
With the recent popularity of Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” and Netflix series, I’ve really started to think deeply about minimalism as more than a trend, but a lifestyle choice. Personally, I’ve been practicing minimalism for years… not out of desire, but necessity. This lead me to thinking - Are travelers (like me) natural minimalists? Does the necessity of being able to “pick up and go” more than a means to an end?
I tend to think yes. And today, I’ll share the biggest lessons travelers have been preaching for decades that minimalists can certainly applaud.
“Minimalism: a style or technique (as in music, literature, lifestyle or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity.”
Certain folks might tell you that the resurgence of cleaning, simplifying and decluttering is a temporary fad sweeping our nation as a new year begins. And I don’t necessarily disagree with them. Our capitalistic society begs consumers to buy more, to spend excessively and feel guilty when we’re not up and up with what’s new and cool. How can people involved in capitalism (as closely as we are) ignore the overwhelming siren-call of spending and consuming? It’s a very complicated and difficult task!
That being said, I do hope that more people adopt minimalism. It’s sensible, serene and brings clarity to the things that really matter.
Travelers (whether they know this or not), are natural minimalists… and here’s why.
Travelers Value Experiences Over “Things”
To save money for adventure, most travelers will tell you there’s one simple trick - “just buy less stuff.” Straight to the point, but oh so difficult for most people to do. Trust me, I know the struggle well!
Adopting a traveler’s mindset means that a person understands the value of experiences over things. No shirt can tell a story about a life changing sunset. No candle, vintage rug or pair of shoes can bring discovery the way a solo hike in the Black Forest can. No luxury hair cut or penthouse apartment can show you new cultures and flavors. They certainly can bring small bits of happiness (I’m definitely not arguing that they aren’t incredible treats in our daily life!)… but these things ultimately don’t get us closer to an experience that can bring clarity, courage or curiosity.
Suitcase Living Shows You Just How Little You Need
When all of your items must fit into a carry-on sized bag, you’re truly forced to whittle down your belongings. When you have two weeks in a foreign place and only a few pounds of clothing and toiletry items to carry you through, you start to realize just how little you actually need to have a brilliant time. Sure, you may repeat outfits a few times, you may even find yourself going to the same look over and over again because it just works. The reality of living and sustaining your life on just what you can carry makes you realize how much “stuff” just sits unused in your daily life.
Investing In Substantial, Quality Items
Piggy backing off of the notion of a suitcase being an excellent reality check, because of the limited space and weight a traveler can carry… they’re also forced to really invest in quality, weather enduring, multi-purpose items. The kind of things that work in multiple environments, settings and easily transform. The kind of pieces that won’t stretch, break, stain or wrinkle easily. Because, after all, why would you tote along an item of clothing half way around the world if it just fails you? Travelers, whether they know it or not, have to be choosey about the items they buy for this reason. They’re more likely to invest in substantial pieces that will last them than frivolous trends that are out of fashion in a season.
Travelers Know Just How Little Time We Truly Have
The resounding lesson that travel brings those who experience it is this - we’re so small and we only have so much time. Why waste it on things that don’t matter? This minimalistic mindset really puts everything to rest and allows travelers to embrace the things that count in life.
What do you think? Does minimalism and traveling go hand in hand? Or are your a maximalist with a carry on lifestyle too?
I’d love to know your experiences with decluttering and how traveling influences your daily life!