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From Sofa Dweller to Travel Lover – How Minimalism Gave Me the Travel Bug

Happy Woman in front of lake

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Before I became a minimalist, I wanted nothing more than to be grounded in one place, surrounded by all the things that made me feel safe; my game consoles, my figurines, and my shelves of books and games (not to mention the clutter from other eras of my life I had stuffed into every available cranny). 

I was certainly not a traveller. Just the thought of moving house or going to another town, city or country for longer than a fortnight made me feel scared and defensive. 

No way could I leave behind all my stuff for that long! I’d get bored and twitchy. I’d get home-sick. I probably wouldn’t like the food. No thank you. I’d stay with all the things I knew that made me happy. 

Except, I was far from happy. 

You see, to keep myself ‘happy’ I constantly purchased new stuff. New games, new merchandise, new books, new DVD’s, new clothes and accessories, new consoles, new phones (before my current contract was even up!). And I was forever dreaming of winning the lottery and moving into a huge mansion so I could store my current collection and have room for EVEN MORE!

Only then would I truly feel satisfied. Only when I had enough money to never work again while buying everything I desired would I finally feel happy. 

In the meantime I was in and out of counselling, had several identity crisis’s, and never felt fulfilled.

It was never enough that I owned all these nice things and enough entertainment to last me several lifetimes. Perhaps just one more game…one more console would do the trick. And surely if I found the perfect thing, my happiness would last this time. 

I didn’t know it back then, but my perceptions were to embark on a slow and painful but permanent and satisfying 180 turn, and I’d come to realise just how empty a life of consumption was, and how empty I really felt. 

It all started when my parents came to my house carrying tonnes of bags and boxes from their attic. Stuff from my childhood all the way to the present day which I had hoarded away and not took with me. At that point in time, my partner and I had been arguing about ‘the amount of crap I held onto’, and when he saw the sheer amount coming to our house from my parents’ car, he warned that I sorted through it there and then or it would go straight in the trash!

At first, I was horrified and angry. But as I started sorting through the mess I started questioning why I’d held onto the things I had. Some of it caused me to confront painful memories and feelings, and some of it made me smile with nostalgia. 

Around 90% of it ended up either in the bin or in a donation bag. And that evening, after my parents left, I felt as light as a feather. 

That was my first glimpse into minimalism, although I hadn’t heard about it at the time. It was when I was looking at home organisation tips I came across a book called The Joy of less by Francine Jay. 

That book started me on a path which has changed my life and continues to do so. 

Since becoming a minimalist, I’ve questioned myself, challenged old beliefs and threw them out along with the rubbish I was holding so dear. The more I got rid of the less attached I became and the more I desired to have experiences and see more of the world. 

I started becoming obsessed with Tiny Living and the freedom that having so little stuff and living in such a small abode could bring. When I saw how possible it was, even for people who had kids, it made me examine the choices I’ve made in my life and the beliefs that were holding me back from a life of freedom. 

Now, I want nothing more than to travel to amazing places and one day live in a tiny home on a beautiful plot of land, working from wherever I desire (I’m working on that). 

Minimalism has changed me. Challenged me. Shown me what true freedom can look like.  If you give it a chance, maybe it can lead you to the life of your dreams. 

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