“The potential of minimalism lies in what you choose to pursue with your life in place of material possessions.” ~ Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist.
A year ago we were, by all accounts, homeless.
A year ago we packed up our beautiful lakeside Florida apartment, said goodbye to our friends and the little alligator we had grown so fond of watching every day, and drove north with only a small U-haul in tow. We took in a baseball game in Montgomery, AL. Got a traffic ticket. Letterboxed a few cemeteries. Ate peanut butter sandwiches. And generally looked forward to starting a new life.
A year ago we had big dreams of living small in a vintage travel trailer that we called Scotty. Our adventure was to set begin in Tennessee, where we would spend the summer of 2015 with my mom, readying Scotty for travel, before heading west to California. But the Universe had different plans…and today, I’m typing this post from our small apartment, just 5 miles from where we started…still in Tennessee.
A year ago we had no tethers and it was wonderful and scary and exhilarating and terrifying, all at the same time. I wouldn’t trade the 3 months that we lived in Scotty for anything in the world, nor would I repeat it for anything either.
Am I disappointed that our dream of full-time RVing never came to fruition? No. The day that we sold Scotty ranks pretty high on my list of happiest days ever. The full-time RV lifestyle wasn’t for us (at least not at this point in our life). Had we not tried it though, we might never have known. We might still be sitting on our Florida lanai reading travelogues and wondering what it would be like if we gave our own adventure a try.
So what does this have to do with minimalism, you ask. EVERYTHING!
With minimalism, there’s no fear of failure. When our adventure came to an end, what had we lost? Absolutely nothing. What few material possessions that we owned prior to the move all came with us and they all fit (with few exceptions) in the RV. We paid cash for Scotty and got back almost everything that we put into her when we sold. We didn’t have a huge financial safety net to fall back on. Our safety net was simply knowing that starting over wouldn’t require much.
Because we’re minimalists, we had the time to spend on this adventure. Chasing the American Dream is time consuming…and tiring. We realized a long time ago that the work-spend-work even more cycle wasn’t for us. Downsizing our possessions and eliminating our consumer debt allowed us to downsize the income we needed to get by. Less income required means more time to do what you love. And while it didn’t work out, I’d never say our time on this adventure was time wasted. We had some fun and learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.
Minimalism has taught us the value of living with less and it continues to allow us to do things on our own terms. We might be living today in a tiny Tennessee apartment but we’re nowhere near the end of our journey. We might not even be nearing the middle. Who knows? Each day is a new opportunity and being minimalists allows for endless possibilities.
Whatever your adventure, minimalism can be your wings.