Travel Lightly Through Life

Once upon a time my possessions were neatly displayed on my dresser, my desk, my bookshelves. My, oh my! My life was about me, what I owned and what I cared for. I collected things because of the culture that I was brought up in. I valued items with reckless abandon because I saw others doing exactly the same, until one day I didn’t.

It was a process of letting go and it didn’t happen from one day to the next. A leap from Seattle to Hungary was the catalyst for major change. Shipping 20 boxes and a couple of trunks with what we thought to be our most treasured belongings was actually our first glimpse into minimalism.

We arrived to the countryside long before our “stuff” did, and then those many boxes sat in storage for another 4 months before we moved out to our homestead. We did not miss a thing in those many months detached from our possessions. What my husband and I had carried on our backs was nearly enough.

However when it came time to open up some of those boxes we did take a simple pleasure in rediscovering our ceramic bowls, stainless steel pots and cast iron frying pan – these are essential items for us since we cook every meal at home. Some herb identification books have proved invaluable as we took the courage to relearn, identify and forage for edible plants from the wild. Much of the rest was just stuff.

Emotional attachments can be broken. Recognize the needs, evaluate the wants and decide where each and every item fits.

Clutter will accumulate if you let too much into your suitcase, or too much into your life. Right now, chances are that you already have too much, definitely more than you need.

travel lightly through life

Learn to think outside of conventional systems to travel lightly through life:

You can, in fact, wear the same thing two days in a row, even more, provided that you stay naturally clean. Society may deem it unacceptable, but that is mostly from a consumer stance. Fabrics can last decades while “styles” are constantly changing. A slow, artful and simple solution is to design your own handcrafted wardrobe with compostable materials that keeps sustainability in mind. Keep to the timeless flair and you can replace your wardrobe as it wears out.

Think beyond your wardrobe and minimize all possessions. Give away your duplicates (or excesses) to those in need. Share. Borrow. Don’t pack your bag, or life, so heavy that you need to drag it behind you on squeaky plastic wheels.

Stop wanting more than necessary to live a personally fulfilling life. What are the basics for your survival? For your enjoyment? Keep in mind that things/objects/stuff make us happy temporarily, but life with lasting amusement includes that of:

Reduce your use of technology. It isn’t necessary, nor is it healthy to live in a virtually connected world all day. If it takes imposing limitations of your time consumed online – then do it! Don’t distance yourself from the time spent with family and friends in favor of screen time. It almost goes without saying that if you get rid of your television you will have much more time to learn, experience and do the things that you really love.

When you begin your consumer elimination diet you will find there are many things you can live without. Those “trace mineral” deficiencies you discover as you simplify, can be replenished by changing your habits and adopting a healthier attitude of balance in all aspects of life.

Unschool your thoughts, undo the ingrained consumer messages of buying and wasting, most of all unbrand your life, so you can live ecologically, mindfully, with the consciousness of a sustained future under foot.

Travel lightly through life, admire the unconventionality of it all and tell us in the comments below what your biggest challenges in embracing a simple life are.

 

Need assistance on your journey? We started exactly where most of you are and we are here to help!

 

Giveaway!

By commenting below you are eligible to win a package from our Sustainable Life Design Services: 2 weeks of intense communication valued at $120. 

We will choose the winner at random, on Saturday the 12th of April (evening hours) and the online consultation will take place beginning the following Monday, from April 14th-27th.

Take action, comment and share!

Update: and the winner is Lindsay!

 

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About Cheryl

Organic coffee lover, knitter and weaver of natural things, spinner of hemp and wool, stitcher of handmade garments, real food eater, gluten-free advocate, conservationist, homesteader, simple living enthusiast and so much more!

Comments

  1. I have been doing my best to get rid of my CDs and DVDs. The CDs are the hardest for me just because I still like a lot of the music I have not listened to in a very long time except for if a song happens to be played on the radio. I am doing my best and have gotten rid of a small portion but, feel I need to do better at getting rid of even more of them. Any suggestions would be great and helpful.

  2. Ron Nilson says:

    Thanks for your help as I work to free myself from ideas and stuff I’ve been chained to for so long. Your posts have helped me redirect and focus.

    Peace – Ron

  3. Such a beautiful reminder. My partner, small daughter and I made an international move 8 months ago. We brought 3 bags. It was so freeing to give everything away!Funny thing is it is easy to get new “stuff”. I do not even remember most of the old “stuff”. Thanks for the reminder about screen time. Be Well.

  4. This is one of your most significant posts for me. I struggle with the concept of possessions on a daily basis so am very interested in other people’s views on this subject. To sum it up, I need to be able to separate several strands on this issue, some of which are as follows:
    - do I have a desire for less possessions because of my commitment to living a lighter life?
    - or because I have a penchant for self-punishment?
    - how far can I go if the rest of the family is not on board, without compromising my principles, or my relationships?
    - does my refusal to buy more possessions actually have an impact
    - or is it all the futile gesture of a single hopeless idealist?
    - how can I live a simple and happy life while living in one of the largest cities of the world?
    - how do I get rid of eco- guilt, where is the balance?

    As you can see I have a lot of unresolved questions about this issue, and would be very interested to hear more on it and perhaps open a debate.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  5. I came across your blog via Lois at Simply Living Free, but I hadn’t read your journey before, and I didn’t know you used to live in Seattle! I moved from the UK to Perth 2 years ago and whilst I have not simplified nearly as much as you, that shift did lead me to realise how much of my stuff was completely unnecessary. I still see so much more work to do, and sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming, but I’m sticking on this journey and taking it step by step.

  6. I believe I’m well on my way to ‘living’ with far less than needed… but, still desire! Oh, the desires are there to tempt me! Working on being happy and content.

  7. Heidrun Searles says:

    I have been living ?a simple life” out of necessity for 30 years now. The difference between want and need is hard foe some people to understand, but we are not ment to worry about tomorrow. Worrying about tomorrow is what causes us to accumulate stuff.

    I could entertain you with stories of my journey, but I will just tell you that 30 years ago I was intrigued by the fact that Jesus traveled with only the cloths on his back. I was living the typically middle class upwardly mobel household. I left with nothing but the cloths on my back and the shoes on my feet. Many blessing were received during my travel and I learned a lot.

    Now, due to injury I am in a nursing home. I do not have much at all. A few books, some clothes, cross-stitch materials to keep my hands occupied and this iPad my mom gave me for Christmass. It keeps me in touch with reality.

    I have found however the dependence on plastics in the health care system is overwhelming. Cups, bowls, all plastic. Styrofoam cups are used for water and drinks durring the day. There seems to me that there are places where the plastics can be replaced. Sure it my make more work for the kitchen staff in particular. I understand the use of plastics is necessary to a large degree in healthcare. Ok I will stop my rant on plastics, needless to say I do not like them.

    Right now, however I am living with so much less than I had been in my last apartment. Most of those things are in storage and they are family heirlomes. My life is very simple right now.

    After my knee replacement is done and rehab is over I will be out on my own again! And my life will be simple where ever I chose to live.

    Keep thing going, I look forward to your weekly emails with anticipation.

    Peace,
    Heidrun

  8. My largest collection was my books. I had a seven foot by five foot book shelf which didn’t come close to holding all the books I owned. Three years ago I tackled the bookshelf and was left with roughly 20 books I wanted to keep. Since then the number has been reduced even further. Now I am working on my DVD collection, which isn’t large by some standards. Soon I will find away to eliminate most of my CDs which I’ve downsized a few times already.

  9. Maria Teresa says:

    I love your blog and your posts and the journey , my journey began months but was interrupted by the unexpected death of my beloved husband, hurt and still hurts you so much , it took me months to consegiur think that would get rid of the thing it it was a great collector , but in the process I realized how much I also have , I’m struggling to reduce my possessions , I separated all the family photos and even many negative saving for my kids each chose a special object of his father and saved , the rest will slide very slowly . What I understand is that deeply held collections also never realized that I now will slowly rid me of my own stuff , it was easy with clothes, bags , decorative items , duplicate items in the kitchen , pathetic but sincere what else has insured me are the shoes , but I know I only have two feet and I can only use one pair at a time , but I’m struggling and reflecting on the way . Thank you for you are all one needs to hear to stay on the right road , much love from Brazil hopefully still have the bag of coffee with the inscriptions of my country . Congratulations and many years to three beautiful family