The gradual realization of how little I need to sustain myself has given me more joy than any one item I have purchased. It’s beautiful to be able to wander, feeling strong and sustainable. I traveled to India for two weeks and only brought two shirts to rotate between. Some people might consider that extreme, but traveling with nothing more than a day pack empowered me to explore places that I wouldn't have been able to venture with a large pack.
I’ve spent many years of my life acquiring and emotionally attaching to all sorts of sentimental possessions. From the dresser I built myself to the shirt that I wore backpacking Zion, each item in my room has some type of meaning to me. That’s why letting go of things can be a taxing experience. When going through my clothes, I find myself stressing out even though it’s theoretically a simple task. What has made getting-rid-of-clothes challenging is that I care about my clothes, and that challenge has reminded me to stop investing into material things. I want to be sure that I’m loving people more than I’m loving things. I want to be at peace with myself and know that I can search inwardly for comfort and happiness. I want to be able to move in just one car trip.
I love the practice of feeling the weight of each item during a backpacking trip. When I want to bring something with me, I have to discern with questions like, “Is this worth the extra strain that it's weight will bring over the journey?”. I when on a backpacking trip with some friends in the Trinity Alps and although I had brought the smallest and lightest pack of everyone I was with, I was able to cook dinner for us all, and even carried the tent we all shared on my pack. My only other personal belongings consisted of the clothes I was wearing and a sleeping bag. I loved how efficient I felt that trip!
Having less has empowered me to halt consumerist tendencies and build savings. Now when I look at clothes or other items I may be drawn to, I step away not because they are too expensive, but because my goal is to have less possessions. I value being light weight. Having more stuff becomes more weight to move any time I consider re-rooting in a new location. If you really embody the concept of not making purchases, then it's easy to get ahead. You just need to live a bit below your means. Live less comfortably, so that you can have the power and time to make your life exactly what you want it to be. Money is power, and money also is time. If I can live on $4 a day, I could backpack through the world for a year and spend $1,460. This price is not including any flight or other travel costs, and would be much more challenging to maintain in Europe versus India. But none the less, it's a number that's tangible. Even someone who works a minimum wage job full time- that's less than a months paycheck!
Letting go of material things has been the first step of pursuing the ones that truly matter. I want ideas and experiences to define who I am, not material possessions. I want my idea of “treating myself” to be an act that truly stimulates my mind and personal journey, rather than a temporary and outward satisfaction. Minimalism has empowered me to dream of such a great life. Time is the most valuable thing I have. I want to be able to coat this short life in as much color as possible. I feel like I could go anywhere in the world and be okay with close to nothing. I dream of just disappearing for a year and fully giving in the urge to explore.