Why I Strive Towards Extreme Minimalism

Why I Strive Towards Extreme Minimalism

The reasoning behind a North American college student and nomad.
444
views

Last summer, I spent six amazing weeks as a camp counselor at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Northern Michigan, and a part of my identity among both my coworkers and my campers was that I was striving to be a minimalist. One night during bunk-talk, me and my co-counselor asked all of our campers to assign their bunk mate what animal they are. When it came around to me and my co, we had all of our campers shout (shout-whisper?) what they thought we were in animal form.

For me, they thought I would be a turtle. When I asked why, they said, "Well you've always talked about being able to carry everything you own in a backpack and suitcase, so it's like you have your home with you just like a turtle has their shell."

For the past seven months, that comment has resonated with me, and it has helped me take more active steps to becoming an official “turtle” so to speak.

It hasn’t been an easy journey though as camp life and college life are polar opposite in terms of fashion and general hygiene upkeep. Throughout the summer, I was limited to a uniform and 1-2 outfits of “rec/street clothes” and only had a few minutes each day to wash my face and shower. And on top of that, makeup was just not a thing anyone had time for. However, in college, I love to look well put together and professional on a daily basis.

This factor equates to owning and needing more material goods, which makes it a lot harder to fit everything in a suitcase and backpack. But I refuse to stop trying.

And this is why:

After observing my habits for the past few years, I've come to believe that possessions tie me down. Being a minimalist allows me more freedom and gives me more flexibility to leave home and travel, move, explore on a whim.

And my family inspires to do exactly that. I've had a cousin who lived on a boat; a cousin who backpacked South America; a father who walked to Florida, biked around the continental US and was in the 82nd airborne. So here I am, eager to make my mark not out of obligation but out of this burning need. Why the burning need? I have this crux where I hate staying in the same place for too long, especially if I don't have a chance to stretch my legs.

I love the idea of being able to pack up my life in 30 minutes just so I can go catch a last minute flight, hop in a car, ride a train, or do something spontaneous. I wouldn't need to spend hours, days, or weeks planning on what to bring, what to leave behind, or what to get rid of.

Pairing down all my items has been and will forever be a continuous struggle because consumerism and materialism are deeply ingrained in American society. There's advertising everywhere that appeals to me in one way or another, whether it's emotionally, ethically, or logically. However, with consumerism and materialism, there's another catch. Both of those ideals are directly linked to other ideals such as beauty, fashion, and health. As someone who has questioned how beautiful, trendy, and skinny I am over the years, becoming a minimalist helps to reject those bogus influences that I let interfere with my overall view of myself.

Even though adopting this new lifestyle isn't easy, it is worth it. Since I've embarked on this journey, I've found a freedom inside of me despite society trying to infiltrate my lifestyle by telling me that minimalism is "wrong", "weird", and "un-American." But I don't care. I'm happy roaming around with my turtle shell.

Cover Image Credit: Stacey Keba

Popular Right Now

12 Things You Pronounce Weird If You're From NJ

Our accents are just as big as our egos... and our hair.
15315
views

All of my life, I never thought I had a Jersey accent until I went away to school in Pennsylvania. My Pennsylvanian friends have a field day when they hear the “weird” ways I pronounce certain words. I am constantly the butt of all the jokes and have been asked way too many times to pronounce certain words for others so they can hear how “weird” I speak, but if you’re from Jersey then you know what I mean when I say these things.

NOTE: The words in parenthesis are the way we say it. Which is also the correct and best way to say them.

1. Water (wader)

Okay, so maybe I say water a little differently than others, but this is the way my family has said it for generations. This one is sort of a dead give away. When I’m on vacation and ask for “water” people will always know where I’m from.

2. Drawer (Draw)

I’ve gotten into many screaming matches with people about this. It is a "draw"! This causes many fights between me and my roommate, but I know for sure I’m not the only New Jersian who pronounces it like this.

3. Coffee (Cawfee)

I can’t even explain this without getting angry. It is most certainly not pronounced “Cahfee.” I will fight to my death that coffee should just be spelled the way it’s pronounced which adds a nice “aw” sound instead of that harsh, awkward “ah” sound.

4. Pork Roll (Correct term: Taylor Ham)

Considering most people on campus here call Taylor Ham “pork roll” I am always outnumbered, but don’t think I won’t go to war on this. It is absolutely called Taylor Ham! No, it’s not just the brand. What is a “pork roll”? I assume if you call it pork roll you’re from South Jersey or Philly and I can also guess you don’t even know what real Taylor Ham tastes like. I’m sorry I’m getting way too heated typing this…

5. Dog (Dawg)

OK, I just don’t even know any other way to say dog without adding the typical “aw” sound to it. Is there any other way? I’m pretty sure us New Jersians are not wrong about this one.

6. Talk (Tawk)

This one speaks for itself (pun intended).

7. City (Ciddy)

First of all, when I reference the “city” I am always 100% talking about New York City. Never ever am I talking about Philly. Never. Maybe us Jersians confuse the letters “T” and “D” but you can definitely distinguish my New Jersey background anytime I say “city”.

8. You (Yew)

This term most usually follows a common curse word us New Jersians say frequently. Expect this phrase when you’re driving on the parkway in the summer trying to maneuver your way through the boatloads of shore traffic.

9. Sandwich (Sub)

It pains me when I hear someone go up to a counter and ask for a hoagie. It sends shivers down my spine and makes me question my existence. It’s a sub-short for submarine sandwich-where does the term hoagie even come from?

10. All (Awl)

My roommate truly enjoys making fun of me for this one. Commonly used in the phrase “awl of a sudden”. This is great for story-telling and helps create a dramatic mood.

11. Chocolate (Chawcolate)

The only thing I can say is it sounds a lot better than saying “chakolate.”

12. Jersey (Jerzee)

Please, please, please, and I seriously mean please, do not ever, under any sort of circumstance come up to me and say “Joisey.” I think I would rather have someone call Taylor Ham a “Pork Roll” and insult my favorite pizzeria than ever say that word. I can assure you that no one, and I mean not one person who is from Jersy says “Joisey.” I do however add a nice hard Z to my pronunciation. Sometimes we call it “Dirty Jerz” too.

But no matter what I call it: Jersey, New Jersey, The Garden State or whatever other amazing nicknames there are, my favorite thing to call New Jersey is home.

Cover Image Credit: lostinsuburbiablog / WordPress

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Being Offensive Is Not A Personality, Just So You Know

Offending people is all you have to offer? Really?

42
views

We all know a handful of people that enjoy being really offensive. They'll go out of their way to let you know that they're known for offending people and that they don't care if they offend you. You know the kind of person I'm talking about?

The most popular example of this special kind of person I can think of is Kaitlin Bennett, the girl who gained fame after posting a photo of herself at graduation with an assault rifle on her back. Some of you may have no idea who I'm talking about, and for that, I'm extremely envious. Since her photo went viral, she's been all over social media doing her best to offend every leftist she can. Why? For absolutely no reason.

There are people just like her all over. They attempt to build a personality off of offending people and thrive off the hatred they receive. The problem with this is that being offensive is not a personality. It's not cool, it's not desirable, and it definitely doesn't make you look good. But that's the annoying thing about these people; they don't care about looking good.

The biggest defense for these people I've heard is that perhaps they've had to build up this wall due to adverse experiences in the past. And, sure, that could totally be a reason for it, but anyone I've personally met who acts like this has always come from well-to-do families and Kaitlin Bennett sure hasn't struggled in life. So basically, these people have no justifiable reason for being offensive, they just like doing it to get a rise out of others.

I personally don't see the appeal of being an asshole to everyone. I feel like being offensive constantly would take so much effort. It's much easier just to be kind to people.

If you happen to encounter someone who's entire personality is based on offending everyone and everything, don't engage. Let them run their mouths and preach their insanity. They can't build an identity around being offensive if you don't get offended.

Related Content

Facebook Comments