Posted on August 20, 2016
Minimalism and Road Trips
I have been on the road for the last 10 weeks or so and I have written so much about what we are doing and what we are seeing. I must tell you about how minimalism has affected my trip thus far. Next week I promise to continue with our journey. This has been on my mind and in my heart for so many weeks, I just want to get it out of my brain.
When I first left Chicago, I was absolutely ready to begin this life on the road for the summer. That nagging negative voice in the back of my head did start talking a little and trying to make me feel uncomfortable and unsure of my decisions. It said things like, “what if you don’t have enough money?” “what if people think you are a poor single mother because you don’t work a regular job?” “what if Bean wants to go back to Chicago because she hates being on the road?” “what if this is the worse decision you have ever made in your whole life?”
As I do whenever that ugly negative voice starts talking, I acknowledge the thought and either address it or dismiss it. This time I decided to set it straight and shut it up! We have a long way to go. I can’t have that noise as an ongoing companion. I told it, “I have enough money for the journey. I am working online and I am receiving great ideas every day. If people think I am poor, then it is their problem and not mine. If Bean wants to go back to Chicago because she hates being on the road, it would be difficult. However, I let Bean know at the beginning that our house was no longer our house. Our time was up in living there and now it was someone else’s turn and someone else’s house. If this was the worse decision in my life, I am willing to learn from it and start over. I adamantly believe that if we are given another day to live, we are given another opportunity to make our lives exactly how we want to live.” The noise stopped.
Being a practicing minimalist helps in many ways to alleviate that negative self talk in many ways.
1. Minimalists identify their life’s purpose– Minimalism is a journey, not a destination. I constantly look at the life I have, the things I have and the people around me and ask yourself if this is enriching my life. I ask myself if this is truly what I want to be doing in the this moment in time. I am able to say no to anything that isn’t getting me closer to the life that I choose to live. It is easier to do, I feel, because I have already done the hardest part of getting rid of all of the physical things that do not serve me.
2. Having fewer things brings greater freedom of mind– The items that we own end up owning us in so many ways. Whether it is the time it will take to keep them in good condition, the self-worth that we attribute to owning certain items or the thoughts we spend on what to do with our stuff, they take up a lot of space in our brain. The moment I was able to put all of my earthly possessions into a suitcase, I felt so light I could fly away. No negative voice in my brain could tell me that I had not done the right thing. While it may not be the right decisions for everyone, it was completely right for me. No one and nothing could tell me differently because I know how free I feel. It is a feeling that I have been seeking for years and one that I want others to experience. I could never feel poor when I feel so rich in freedom.
3. Minimalism opens the door to life’s possibilities– Because less time is spent trying to attain, pay for and take care of things, minimalists seek to interact on a greater level with people, nature, and the current situation. Once I focused on having better interactions with people, gaining beautiful stories to share, and exploring what is around me, my mood continues to improve, my dreams get bigger, and anything great seems possible. How could that be the worse decision of my life?!
Please understand these were not thoughts that plagued my mind, just thoughts that passed through. To keep them from returning, I felt I needed to address them. In case you listen to your negative self talk, address it. It is probably wrong! I remember one thought I had earlier this year, “How will I feel if I am in someone’s great big house or very nice car when I own nothing but what is in my bag?” I have faced that and I can say that I feel secure in my decision. They have their life, and if they are happy with it, truly happy with it and are not just existing, then I am too! I want the best for people. For me, the best is not in attaining material possessions, but in relishing experiences in my life. I know it is my path as a minimimalist single parent. Other’s may or may not see the beauty in it. Until they do, I will be happy with what they feel they have accomplished. I will ride in their big beautiful cars and spend the night in their houses. I will be thankful they have it so that I can share the experience with them. I have not felt envious or jealous or even slightly wistful of the possessions of others. I have felt gratitude. I pray that I will continue to feel gratitude and show Bean how to express gratitude for all that we have and are able to do and for what others have that makes them proud. I want to inspire others to try our way too. When and if they do, I will continue to express gratitude. This is minimalism on the road!
If you have a story to share about how minimalism has brought change to your life, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment in the section below. If you are not someone who considers yourself a minimalist, but you have decluttered or downsized at some point in your life, please let me know. I enjoy hearing how getting rid of stuff makes others feel.