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  • Amy Michele

Become a minimalist by traveling: 5 reasons to hit the road


Thank you to Elementarist for this guest post.


Traveling is not only fun and beautiful, it is also important to get to know ourselves. And will help you to become a minimalist. To us, traveling has been the entrance ticket to minimalist living (learn more about our definition) and we therefore would like to encourage you to pack your things and go!

All inclusive won’t help you to become a minimalist

Of course, not every kind of traveling will help you to become a minimalist. 5-star-all-you-can-possibly-eat-castles won’t do the job. When we say traveling, we mean authentic traveling. Traveling that exposes you to unknown cultures, where you have to learn and adapt. Traveling where you do not follow a pre-defined itinerary but go on unknown adventures. Possibly alone and to a foreign continent. This is what we call traveling.

Now, how can traveling help you to become a minimalist?

1. Learn to live with less

We are surrounded by all the stuff we own at home. It is sitting around us, watching us and waiting to be polished once a week. When you travel your space is suddenly limited to 20kg. Or your ticket might turn damn expensive! And if you go professional, it will only be 7kg – minimalists love hand luggage

While this seems like an impossible challenge to many people, on the way to their holiday they eventually succeed to catch their flight on time with only one – sometimes barely closing – piece of luggage. It’s possible to leave your house with only max. 20 kg for a couple of weeks. And then, something magical happens: they spend great holidays and come back full of memories and joy. How often did you hear someone say: “Gosh, good to be back, I missed all this stuff here which is just standing around?” Well, there you go. You have just experienced how you can live more with less. And how to become a minimalist.

Interestingly, we all make this experience year by year but only a few consider applying it to their everyday life. To most of us it seems too difficult, too extreme. So if you want convince your mind that it isn’t, start with traveling. Traveling is the elementary school of minimalism. And so much fun!

2. You discover who is important to you

Everyday, we meet dozens of people. Neighbours, friends, colleagues, acquaintances. Moreover hundreds of Facebook messages, tweets, calls and chats pop up from our social circles (check out our article on the ability to focus). But when you travel, you will discover that you only miss very few of them. A handful of people, maybe. And you will probably miss some that you did not expect to.

This is when you start discovering who is truly important to you. Whom you feel safe, connected, loved and appreciated with. And whom you might only deal with, because – … uhmmm, not idea? Well … then have a nice day – to become a minimalist also means to learn to say good bye.

3. Value time before money

At home we consider time as given. Yet, it is our most scarce resource. We don’t value it as we should be in our every day life. The reason lies in the fact that everyday has no clear end. When you travel, however, you know the last day of your journey. You start counting down the days: “Only three days left!”. Suddenly, time becomes a limited resource.

This leads many people to perfectly structure their holidays. They try to bail out every minute. And they come back full of energy, stories and happiness, knowing that they have used their time wisely. Unfortunately, this mindset shuts down the minute people arrive back home. This is when time becomes an infinite resource again. At the same time money becomes the main factor of concern.

Minimalist value time over money. Time never comes back, money does. It is our most scared resource and should be appreciated as such. Traveling allows you to experience this thinking and pave the way to become a minimalist.

4. Discover other ways of living

Many decisions are made subconsciously. Our thinking is often influenced by our surroundings and cultures. What we know, have been told to do and see around us become our points of references. However, these references are not necessarily good for us.

Most of us only know the models of life that we have been born in to. We see different ways of living in movies and the news, but these stay somehow fictional. Some of them even seem to be from another world. But you are wrong. This world bears an unimaginable multitude of lifestyles, which can all be a source of inspiration to find the best one for you.  Traveling allows you to make the step from fiction to reality. It allows you to realize that these other lifestyles are not unreachable. That these could also be yours. When you meet, talk and shake hands with people, that live in a fully different way, your mind starts to accept these ways as real. And this is what minimalism is all about. Discovering most different ways to live and determining which ones are right for you.

5. Leave your comfort zone

Authentic traveling does not always work out as planned. Or has no actual plan. Your bus has left without you and the next one is coming in the morning. The ATM does not take your credit card and you are out of cash for dinner. Oh, yeah, and the hotel, of course. You’re lost somewhere in the dark concrete jungle and “Sorry, no English”.

Congratulation, you have found the bright side of traveling!

It sounds scary but actually is so much fun. At home, everything can be solved with one or two calls. When you travel, it is not working that way – so, what do you do? You really get to know yourself! Deeply. Your underlying fears. Your true needs. It is not a comfortable moment. It is raw and painful. But it is one of the greatest experiences that you will make: getting to know your naked soul. You learn to trust in other people, in yourself and how to solve uncomfortable situations with no worries.

Remember this moment the next time you feel lost and overwhelmed. Remember that there are only a few things which are truly essential in your life.

Time to buy a ticket – and to become a minimalist! And have a look at further tips to become a minimalist while waiting at the gate.

#wanderlust #minimalism #mindfulness #travel