My journey into my minimalist lifestyle started shortly after the turn of the century. I had many addresses that I called my own but was happily living out of a very small backpack. My transition was simple and painless, I walked out my front door and left everything that wasn’t in the pack behind never missing or wanting to see any of it again. I would close million dollar deals from my laptop while parked at some off the map mountain summit camping in my car with my dog, I was well on my way.
Riding my bike through Lahaina I noticed a fair bit of seemingly homeless guys riding thier clunker old beach cruisers around with a small daypack in thier front baskets. I assumed that those packs contained all of thier worlds possessions and was very envious of the freedom it afforded them over my very heavy 38 liter backpack with my tent, Uke and camp pad strapped onto the back; there was no mistaking that I was camping out.
Later in that journey while swimming in one of my favorite off the tourist track waterfalls I met Marina, she had the smallest pack of any Trekker I had met. I shared a rolli with her as we discussed traveling light. When I asked if I could see what was in her pack she took her sarong off, laying it gently on a patch of dirt and carefully remeved everything placing it all in neat little piles on her makeshift picnic blanket. She didn’t even have a sleeping bag, pad or tent, just a hammock and a tiny blanket from the plane for chilly nights. No cooking gear or a stove, just a single mug. She had a few bags of fruits and nuts to last each day between hitchhiking to the next roadside stand. She told me that everywhere she went guys would offer to buy her dinner but that she hadn’t accepted a single one not wanting it to ruin her solo zen existence. She was about half way through her one year stay and easily living off of less than 500 per month and contemplating a second year as she was way under her travel budget.
Most of the Trekkers I met carried the biggest packs I had ever seen with front packs larger than my main pack. They had silly wide brimmed hats and wore full grain leather boots. It exhausted me to watch them trying to gear up for the long hike from the baggage claim to the taxi stand. Those guys reminded me so much of my previous over stuffed life.
My disconnect started with my television and home phone. My laptop and cell phone were shut off at 4:00pm every day and not turned on until the next work day. I found my phone to be a devil that created a false sense of urgency, clients would call me at 2:00 Am and I would answer even though there was literally nothing I could do till the next day. Shutting off my phone relieved 50% of the stress in my life, having no TV made me smarter-happier and much healthier, it also made me much more of a fun person to be around. The car was next and again now that I’m human powered. I have far more time to ride my bike as I don’t have to work to pay for my car, phone, tv or any of the other stuff in those subliminal ads that are fired directly at my brain 500 times a second. By this stage I was given back a full 8 hours a day of my life, time that is much better spent walking to the market, riding my bike or napping in the shade of my favorite tree, the more time I found the more I wanted, I was becoming addicted to living my life.
As a true minimalist I haven’t gotten rid of anything important to me. I don’t count my poesssions, or get rid of anything simply under the premise of getting rid of things. I simply don’t aquire what I don’t need. I recently closed all of my social media accounts other than this blog. I had been browsing Instagram when I clicked on a picture I really liked, it turned out to be someone I know and I flipped through all thier pictures and captions and realized the whole page was 100% BS then I started looking at all the pages I followed and my tiny brain stated to click. I looked at my own feed, no captians just pictures that I made and that I liked but was like, who fucking cares, I had these same images on my fb, my blog, my Instagram, I didn’t even know it but I was on Twitter and Google plus, what a fucking waste of other peoples most valuable commodity, time… So I killed them all.
The reason my posts are so short is that I don’t believe my words or experiences are worth more to others than one minute and thirty seconds which is the average time people stay on my blog. Now having literally nothing that the joneses insist I do, I have no debt, no revolving debt, my total monthly expenses as of today are zero.
I can get anywhere on the island by bike in about an hour including the ferry which is free because I ride my bike on, all of the other islands and the mainland are also free, not that would ever go to the mainland. I have time to make strange concoctions of food in my camp, I take at least two naps a day, I get up early and do a lot of shit in a day so I need em. There is always time to BS with other people and best of all I’m not a slave but I do work a bit, the other day at work I was asked to clean because it was slow and my answer was, bite me; it’s not my job. If I want to sit around all day at work I will as long as my duties are done and they are always done because that’s how I roll, the rest of the time is for socializing, if they don’t like it I’ll get on my bike and go ride the coast. Just because you are on a payroll it doesn’t make you a slave. Because I’m not desperate for a paycheck, I’m not at anyone’s beck and call. Sure I’m working a menial job but it’s only for 2 months and it’s really fun, I don’t worship money, I worship freedom and freedom is a very powerful thing.
So when ever I feel like it, I will wash my small load of Landry by hand and hang it to dry. I guess I should make my way to the lodge for some free wifi so I can post this. If I don’t get around to it today there is always tomorrow, or next week. I never once asked myself how I could live a simpler existence, just why would I want to and once I found the answer it’s been all down hill.
So I’m reading this journal and it says that less than ten percent of the people on the planet will ever follow thier dreams. Of those ten percent 90 will be back at work within the year. So its Independence Day week, I take time I reflect on my life and what I’ve made of it. Reading the statistics above aren’t hard for me to understand. With so many distractions in this world how is one ever to even find the time to think clearly. If your not living your dreams it’s nobody fault but your own. You can sit around blaming the world for the mess you’ve gotten your self into or you can look into the mirror and see how much you’ve aged, perhaps you don’t need that new car or iPhone or cloths or fancy dinner. Perhaps you just need to face the fact that your days are numbered and if you don’t start living your true life now you just never may get around to it which is also ok, without spectators there would be no parade. Happy Independence Day
“A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.”