Before I first set off travelling, I knew I needed to have some money. So what did I do? I scratched and clawed and saved as much as I could before I left. It worked out in the end, but it was a lot of work to get to that point. If only there was a way I could have saved up without almost wearing myself out by the end! At that time, I hadn’t even scratched the surface of all the travel information that was out there – literally at my fingertips! The world of travel blogs had not yet made itself known to me. However, based off my own mistakes and experiences, I started to learn more about how to travel and how to travel smart. Now, it’s evident to me that I could have saved myself a whole lot of energy and effort when I was saving up to travel, had I known then what I know now; had I known about minimalist travel!
All that was required was a mindset and lifestyle change, which I have since undertaken. I’m talking about minimalism – in particular, minimalism as it pertains to travel, hence, minimalist travel.
What is Minimalism?
Minimalism – in the broadest sense of the word – is ridding yourself of all the unnecessary excess that fills your life, whether that’s physical material possessions, unhealthy relationships or even certain mental viewpoints or mindsets. By ridding your life of this excess, it allows you to focus more on the things that truly matter to you. In this case we’re going to focus on travel.
These days, a large number of us assign too much meaning to the things we own. This meaning we assign to our material possessions often comes at the expense of the other things we should really be assigning meaning to. Things like:
- Pursuing our passions (travel)
- Our health
- Creating not consuming
- Friends and family
- Personal growth
Minimalism is simply living without this obsession when it comes to material things. It’s a re-examination of one’s priorities so that you can strip away the things, ideas, relationships and activities that offer little to no value to your life.
The Common Misconception About Minimalism
People often think that minimalism is this monk-like, empty, boring, lifestyle. This couldn’t be further from the truth. All it involves is clearing away all the non-essential things in order to make room for the things that give us the most joy. So, in actuality, it allows you to live a less empty, less boring lifestyle than the one you currently have!
Everyone has a different definition of what being a minimalist is. Some own houses or cars and some do live completely off the grid, with only a few possessions to their name. It’s a spectrum and everyone can pick and choose where they land on this scale.
If you have a really expensive, high-quality camera that you use a lot, then it clearly provides value to you, so why get rid of it? Minimalism is all about quality over quantity.
How Does Minimalism Relate to Travel?
You can apply the concept of minimalism to all aspects of your life, and we’re going to focus on travel in particular.
Let’s imagine that your dream is to travel the world, you’re going to need to focus a fair amount of time and energy into making this happen. So, as a first step, you could go through all of your possessions and make the tough decision of deciding what you actually need, and what you can afford to live without. Be as brutally honest as you can during this stage, and you’ll be amazed at how much stuff you can live without. You can then sell lots of this stuff and add more savings to your travel fund.
Another aspect of life you can change your approach to is the issue of income. If you’re planning to travel the world, your solution may be to make more money, while keeping your lifestyle and spending habits exactly the same as they were before. But, the thing is, we are not always in control of how much money we make. However, we are always in control of how much we spend. By cutting out unnecessary expenditures, you can do more with the money you already make and have. Just take a good, long, hard look at your lifestyle and ask yourself what gives you the most value and what you can do without.
Adjusting your mindset – like I said earlier – will make it easier to focus on your passions and your dreams. Suddenly, travelling the world will seem like an attainable reality within your grasp, as opposed to a pipe dream, set aside until retirement.
What are the Rules?
There are no set rules. In general, you just want to live simply, without too many unnecessary possessions, distractions, clutter, or waste. The aim is to live a fulfilling, sustainable lifestyle where you can focus on your passions.
As I’ve pointed out, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a few really nice things. If you’re buying something, it’s better to go for quality over cheap, because this will usually mean that it’s more well-made or will last longer.
Quality over quantity.
That being said, it’s always good to examine whether it’s good to have such an attachment to material things.
It can be quite a radical change; changing one’s mindset and approach to life, but once you do, your priorities become clearer and you can live a more fulfilling, purpose-filled life, without any excess “baggage” holding you back. The toughest part is getting started, building these new habits and mindsets from the ground up.
The Difference Between Minimalist Travel and Budget Travel
It can be tough to distinguish between these two practices as they share a lot of the same principles and values. However, there is a slight difference.
A budget traveller is always looking for the cheapest option, across the board. Their number one priority is always to save money wherever possible.
A minimalist traveller looks to eliminate anything that is unnecessary to their ultimate values and travel goals. For example, you may want to stay in luxury, five-star accommodation. If this is what’s most important to you, as a minimalist, you would focus mainly on this and eliminate unnecessary excess elsewhere, including:
- Finding a cheaper flight.
- Packing less – maybe trying to fit everything you need into a single backpack.
- Finding the best free activities to do in your destination.
- Limiting the amount you eat out and resort to making your own meals instead.
The list goes on. The point of minimalist travel analyse your priorities, and then plan the trip accordingly.
It is a very fine line, between minimalist travel and budget travel and you can definitely be both. In fact, it can be helpful to be a bit of both.
Do YOU Have What it Takes?
Minimalist travel can be a way for people to make their travel dreams more attainable and – in general – live a more purpose-filled and priority-driven life.
Are you interested in making this life a reality?
If so, you could do with a few tools to get you started:
- A comprehensive checklist of what you need to become a masterful minimalist traveller.
- Weekly doses of exclusive bonus content, not available on the blog.
- Monthly updates to make sure you never miss a post.
I’ve got all of that waiting for you right here. No cost. No BS. Just the tools you need to become a master minimalist!
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