Why Minimalism Matters

“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.

The little gator we affectionately named Boots
The little gator we affectionately named Boots and his sidekick

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.

Scotty at Cages Bend
Scotty by the lake – Cages Bend Campground

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.

Chasing waterfalls in TN
Chasing waterfalls in TN

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.

7 thoughts on “Why Minimalism Matters

    1. Good questions! Letterboxing is like a scavenger hunt. People hide boxes in places like cemeteries, libraries, parks, etc. and you use a set of written clues to find them. It’s one of our favorite hobbies. You can sign up at http://www.atlasquest.com/.

      Scotty needed more love and attention than we could give her. By the time we called it quits, we were looking at another $1000 repair for the broken air conditioner. We put Scotty in storage, thinking we might resume our travels this year but my with my mom’s poor health, I knew that wouldn’t be possible. I couldn’t bear the thought of Scotty sitting in storage deteriorating. Then one day we met this amazing 20-year-old man at our local hardware store. He had saved his money and was looking for a travel trailer so he could live/work on a pipeline. I didn’t ask what kind of pipeline but this was something his grandpa had been doing for years and he wanted to join him, but he wanted his own “home”. We told him about Scotty (her flaws and all). He asked to meet her that day and it was love at first sight. Seeing this boy beaming and being able to help him reach his goal, while also knowing Scotty had found a great home, made us super happy. He finished the work that we couldn’t do and set off with his grandpa. We check in on him from time to time via Facebook and both he and Scotty are doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post! Some, as I once did, pursue money in the hopes of finding freedom. I realized that money does not give me freedom- not the freedom I seek. For me it is now casting off the chains of stuff and spreading the wings of minimalism to journey toward freedom- the freedom to do what I want, be what I want and become who I want to be. My life on my own terms. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your philosophy and the idea of minimalism as your “wings.” I always liked the line from that old Janis Joplin song: “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” Downsizing our things and traveling minimally has made our futures feel wide open to possibility. It’s a great feeling.

    Liked by 4 people

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