How Travelling Taught Us Minimalism
How life on the road has taught us minimalism. As I was doing the monthly clean out of the caravan I realised that we have nearly perfected the art of having limited attachment to things or stuff. Every month since we left our residential address in Western Australia we do a caravan clean up and throw out or donate any stuff that we no longer use or need. Everyone in the family participates in this…you would be surprised what ‘collectables’ the kids hoard.
In saying that no one is forced to throw anything out. The kids have a box at the end of their bed and if they want to keep something then it gets stored in the box. We then revisit it the next month and talk about whether they want it or not. The kids don’t have a lot of toys in the van but they certainly do have their favourites that they play with everyday.
This monthly tradition started after the first three months of being on our ‘Great Australian Roadtrip’. We began accumulating more and more stuff every month. It actually started to get a little out of hand, I would pick up nick-knacks from the second hand store IN EVERY TOWN, I would order stuff online and other travellers would give us ‘hand me’ down clothing that no longer fit their children. One day I turned to Dan and said ‘How the f@ck did we accumulate all this stuff’?
Consumerism got me bad in those first three months….prior to leaving we had sold everything we owned from our house and only kept three tubs of memorable items like baby blankets, photos, videos etc. Everything else we sold…..and rented the house out. So we knew what it was like to have the feeling lifted off you of not owning so much stuff. But for some reason we kept buying ‘stuff’….I brought a fruit bowl and never used it. I brought a guitar and did not commit to learning to play. There are a lot of other useless buys in those first three months that we definitely could have done without.
So we started the tradition of doing a monthly clean out. This has been the best thing for us. We always have so much storage left in our van every month and we don’t feel claustrophobic with a caravan filled with useless crap. It has taught us that the simplicity of living with less is really giving us more in other aspects of our lives together……some form of minimalism.
What Do We Live With
Believe it or not we don’t actually travel with a lot ‘stuff’ anymore. Lucky for us our van is fully decked out with everything we need to live off grid. As for packing items we didn’t pack much either. When we left we didn’t even pack winter clothes….whoops! and none of us have hiking boots either….just some thongs do us all fine.
It Saves Us Money $$$$$
It’s a pretty obvious one but not getting caught in the trap of consumerism saves us a tonne of money. I was the worst culprit for shopping when I was upset or stressed. I brought some of those bad habits into the van with us. Now I can honestly say I have no satisfaction buying useless stuff that we really don’t need. The stuff takes up space and it’s so cliche to say but I find it very calming being around my kids these days. I don’t have the urge to go and stress spend.
Living a minimalist lifestyle means we live within our living means. We don’t proclaim to be true minimalists as that is a little too strict for us and I wouldn’t want to restrict us in anyway living up the standard of being a minimalist . But our lifestyle swap has certainly done a 180 and we have pure happiness with less stuff and more memories.
But lets not mistake living on a tight budget to minimalism. There is a difference. Many people think that cutting down possessions means living on a tight budget. Which simply isn’t true. We choose to live with minimal possessions as a choice and if we choose to make a purchase of a new drone or a new Apple Macbook then we go and buy it. We enjoy our electronics and we also like to have the best quality too.
We just feel a lot less lighter knowing that we don’t have to keep to up with the Joneses nor do we care what anyone thinks. Our lives have been richer in memories and the time spent together with each other has been priceless. Believe it or not we don’t miss any of the stuff from our house. I couldn’t even remember half the crap I had in our house prior to leaving.
Planning On Doing 'The Lap of Oz'
If you are planning on doing the lap of Oz then you really don’t need that much stuff to travel with. It is a true way to start a life of minimalist living and seeing the beautiful country of Australia. If you have the slightest urge I encourage you to go and do it. Take into account the minimalism lifestyle along the way.