I don’t know about you, but I want to live a minimalist life. And, no, I don’t mean to live with like 30 total possessions or something crazy like that. When I say I want to live a minimalist life, I mean I want to do the things that are most important to me, pursue my passions and own the stuff I want to own and that brings the most value to me. In order to achieve this, over the years, I have made more of an effort towards eliminating excessive consumption. I still own stuff. There’s stuff I want to own in the future. We can’t avoid consumption in today’s society. But, excessive consumption starts becoming an issue when we start acquiring more than what’s needed and what provides true value and meaning to our lives.
Think of someone you know (it might even be you) who goes out shopping for fun, with no particular thing in mind that needs to be bought. This results in excessive consumption. Have you got certain clothes in your wardrobe that you just never wear? Excessive consumption!
Advertising re-shapes our values around material possessions. It promises us happiness but never delivers. This is why we then feel the need to go out and buy more stuff. It’s a cyclical process.
As minimalists, we want to steer away from this detrimental habit. Owning less does not mean that we are poor. It actually gives us the chance to become richer in experience instead of possessions. Owning less “stuff” means we have less debt, less stress and more freedom to pursue the things that we are most passionate about, like travelling the world!
Wanting less actually brings us more. By removing ourselves from the consumerist culture that surrounds us, it allows us to build and develop better habits. We become more content with what we have, we become more grateful for our situation and we become freer to live our life to the full, instead of getting sucked into the whirlpool of comparison and dissatisfaction we feel every time we “consume”.
Adopting a more minimalist mindset provides you with the opportunity to pursue greater significance and achieve greater fulfilment in your life.
Breaking away from our consumerist habits is possibly the single most important step when it comes to achieving your dreams to travel. So how is this possible? What are the steps?
A Minimalist Travel Guide to Eliminating Excessive Consumption
You are not the First
Find people who have already overcome this obstacle and you will see that it’s possible. If they can do it, why can’t you? Find inspiration in the example that they set. You will not achieve anything if you don’t initially believe you can do it.
Use the Minimalist Travel Mindset for Your Life
Think about when you travel. If you’re doing it right, you will only be carrying the stuff you really need. By “travelling the world with just a backpack” you feel lighter, freer and more capable of taking on the world as opposed to hauling around giant suitcases and backpacks, having brought far more than what you need. Apply this principle to your life and live with only the things that you consider essential and that provide your life with the most value. Excessive consumers feel constantly “weighed down” by all the excess “baggage” they are hauling around every day.
Become Aware of the Benefits of Owning Less
You won’t know until you try. Why don’t you go through all of your stuff and decide what you really need and get rid of anything that isn’t essential. I recently did this with my clothes. I ended up getting rid of about 75% of my wardrobe! Now, it’s much easier to get dressed in the morning because all of my clothes are my favourite clothes.
“Fill life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” – Unknown
Become Aware of the Consumer Culture we Live in
Back in the 1970s, we were exposed to around 500 ads per day. Fast forward to today and that number as gone up to 5000! 5000 messages every day, telling you to buy more and that the only reason you’re not satisfied is because you haven’t bought “this” product. We now live in a world where 93% of American teenage girls admit that shopping is their favourite hobby. That is absolute insanity when there is a whole world out there, waiting to be explored. By cutting back on consumerist habits, you could end up exploring the streets of Bangkok or you could be touring across the States on an epic road trip. Think of this article as an “anti-ad” – pulling your attention away from materialistic over-consumption, and toward a life of purpose and fulfilment.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Those with More “Stuff”
By comparing yourself to those who you consider to be more successful or those with more material possessions, you will inevitably lose your sense of contentment, fulfilment and happiness. Instead, focus on what you do have, and how fortunate you already are to live the life that you live.
You Can’t Control How Much Money You Earn, but You Can Control How Much You Spend
Probably the most common excuse as to why someone cannot travel is because they need to make more money first. It’s not about how much you earn, it’s about how much you spend. By eliminating our unnecessary expenses, we free up that money to spend on a trip to Japan, or maybe a trip around the world? Read this post and this post to find out how to save money both before setting off and how to save on the road.
Turn Off Your TV
Obviously, the greatest source of our consumerist addiction is the TV. By turning it off, you will cut the amount of ads you see in half (at least). Also, you know how when you watch a YouTube video, and you need to wait 30 seconds for the ad to finish before you can watch your video? Well, to avoid this just .
Start a Gratitude Journal
Writing down a few of the things you’re grateful for every day, will teach you to be more content and appreciate what you already have. It could be something as fundamental as having a warm bed to sleep in. For example, I’m so grateful every time someone clicks here and becomes a subscriber of my email newsletter!
5000 ads per day is a lot. It will take a lot to resist the temptation, so, renewing your commitment every day will help you with this. Try writing yourself a daily affirmation that you will say, out loud to yourself, every morning when you get out of bed.
Do all of this with the end goal of travel in mind. Picture yourself in your dream destination, visualise this – maybe you’re lying on a beach in Thailand, cocktail in hand. Know that this is possible and attainable, by adopting a minimalist mindset when it comes to consumerism. This doesn’t mean “never buy anything ever”! It means to only spend on the things that provide you with the most value.
Look at what I managed to do without having much money at all.
If I can do it, then there’s no excuse for any of you!
Stay strong my peeps!
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