Real Life Minimalists: Warren and Betsy Talbot


Warren and Betsy Talbot

Every Monday I post Real Life Minimalists, a profile of one of my readers in their own words. If you’d like to participate, click here for details.

This week, I’m thrilled to present Warren and Betsy Talbot’s story. They’ve sold almost all of their stuff, and plan to embark on a multi-year, worldwide trip. Visit their blog, Married with Luggage, to follow their adventure!

Warren and Betsy write:

Our names are Warren and Betsy Talbot, and we just sold our house and most of our belongings to embark on a 4-year journey around the world. We started off a few years ago with a 3000-square-foot house in the suburbs of Boston and are now renting a furnished room from a friend in Seattle before we head out on October 1 for South America.

Want to know what happened in between?

Our minimalist story starts with wanting to have more of a life, which in our case meant less stuff. We decided to change jobs to limit our insane work hours (and the “stuff” we needed to soothe ourselves), leading to a move to Seattle. We bought a 1000-square-foot townhouse, unloading a lot of stuff both before and after our move. Life was good.

A year after we moved we had 2 people close to us suffer major medical problems (both in their 30s), which was a huge wake-up call for us.


We started evaluating what was important to us in life and realized we lived for our yearly big vacations. We could do without a lot of big living in our day-to-day if we could have more travel. So we started planning – what would it take to travel full-time? What we would do with our stuff? And so it began.

Almost 2 years later we have saved a lot of money, sold our house, 90% of our possessions, and have homes ready for our dog and cat as well as a few treasured art and personal pieces we want to keep. Everything else was just holding us back from living the way we really want.

I think minimalism gets a bad rap because people think it is all about giving things up. But until you get that stuff from your past out of your way, you don’t have room to let a big future come in. In my way of thinking, minimalism is the extravagant way to live because you get what you really want out of life.

You can read more about our downsizing and trip planning efforts at Married with Luggage and click on the Simplicity link to find out all the creative ways we got rid of our stuff (and made a few bucks).

Three cheers for going small to live really big!

{If you’d like to read more about minimalist living, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed, or signing up to receive new articles by email.}

24 comments to Real Life Minimalists: Warren and Betsy Talbot

  • Deb J

    One of my dreams has always been to travel. It will always be a dream due to disabilities and little income. But, I am learning I can be an armchair traveler through people like Warren and Betsy. Thanks for introducing me to their blog.

  • Gil

    Great story, Warren and Betty!

  • Gil

    I meant Betsy, lol.

  • Thanks for sharing our story, Miss Minimalist. We are excited to be leaving in just 101 days for our big trip around the world. The really cool thing is that all of our work over the past few years to downsize – you know, the small daily actions – is now snowballing into the life we have always wanted. I can’t believe how fast this is all happening.

    To all of you who are just starting your minimalist lifestyle, there are big things around the corner. Just keep at it, and you’ll be so happy with the big life that moves in when you get rid of all the crap.

  • Elena

    Wow, how exciting! Warren and Betsy, thanks for sharing your story here — I’m glad to know about your blog, and will definitely follow your journey.

  • A simple guy

    I admire you for living your dream, and hope you have a great trip. I’m wondering what you plan to do for accommodations (hotels, hostels, camping?), and will read your website to find out.

    • W’ere planning to stay long-term in apartments and other rentals to save money and spend more time getting to know a place. A long trip like this is not like a vacation, so there’s more time to relax and savor a place. Plus traveling slowly saves money over traveling quickly – you definitely pay for speed!

  • Janetta

    Just found your blog – lovely! You might consider housesitting during your travels. My husband and I did this for 26 months “all around the world”: Scotland, USA, New Zealand and Australia and had an absolute ball. Only paid for a few days’ accommodation during this time. Living in a place means you really get to know it, much better than being a tourist. Good luck!

  • These are two of the coolest people you will ever meet! It’s been an honor to be their good friends and watch this process up close and personal – they are our heroes! :)

  • Great story, have fun on your travels!!

    I think this highlight once again the beauty of living with less – less stuff + more experiences = better life :)

  • Gil

    Betsy..As I embrace the minimalist life more and more, it’s not about deprivation or giving up things. It’s actually making way for bigger and more meaningful experiences, ones that material things and stuff just cannot fulfill.

    I also checked out you and your husband’s blog. Fantastic. It’s great being inspired by Francine, you and other like minded people!

  • nyxmoxie

    Great story, they sound like a cute couple. There are some people in the minimalist community who are a little out there but for the most part minimalists are people who are looking for freedom and to live better lives.

    To me being a minimalist isn’t about depriving myself, its more like “you know this doesn’t work for my own life, it might work for other people but not for me” -do what works for you. It sounds to me like this couple is free to enjoy each other and follow their goals by traveling. I think its great.


    The husband and I have been talking a lot lately about the idea of moving to a whole different country (probably more as a vacation place, but we’d like to spend 6-9 months of the year there at a time) and we’ve been trying to figure out how we’re going to get there. I’m having a hard time picturing it at the moment. Unfortunately for us… we’ve been looking into downsizing homes and it’ll cost us *more* money to get *less* house because of the deal we got with our current one… and I’m nervous about selling the house and renting because I just can’t stop thinking that owning, even with a condo, would be better than ‘throwing money away’ by renting. Good thing we’ve still got a few years before we can get to that point I guess…

    • HI, Candice. I don’t know where you live, but on September 14 Briefcase to Backpack is sponsoring a night of information and inspiration on taking time off to travel long-term. There are events in cities all across North America, so you can find out if one is near you. We’re hosting in Seattle, and one thing we’re doing is having a dozen or so veteran travelers on hand to talk about how they did it, what they did with their stuff while they were gone, and how it affected their careers and lives when they got back. It might be the perfect bit of info to help you make your decision – it always helps talking to someone who has already done it. Check it out at

  • What a great story and great adventure you are about to embark upon. I wish you all the best in your travels.

    Life is short and we never know when our time is up. We all need to learn to stop and smell the roses while we are still healthy and able. Getting rid of all the ‘stuff’ clogging our minds and physical spaces is a great first step, it seems it all starts to fall in place naturally after that.

  • […] Minimalist, Real-Life Minimalists: Warren and Betsy Talbot: We love Miss Minimalist! You can learn a lot about living lean but full from this great blog, and […]

  • […] Minimalist, Real-Life Minimalists: Warren and Betsy Talbot: We love Miss Minimalist! You can learn a lot about living lean but full from this great blog, and […]

  • Vicki

    This sounds wonderful. I’ve noticed since I’ve begun reading minimalist blogs that families with young children are rarely mentioned. I have two children, 8 & 14 and I would like to hear more about living a minimalist life with children.

  • […] last time we heard from Betsy and Warren was over a year ago. At the time, they had just sold their house, and almost all of their possessions, and were […]

  • […] Minimalist, Real-Life Minimalists: Warren and Betsy Talbot: We love Miss Minimalist! You can learn a lot about living lean but full from this great blog, and […]

  • Tina

    I love the stories about living small enabling people to live their dreams. We retired at 53 and 55 and have been able to travel and pursue hobbies. There are people we know who will never be able to retire because they are “high maintenance”. Follow your dreams.

  • Tina

    We took an 11 day trip to France, Spain and Italy including an 8 day cruise with just carryon luggage. We would probably never travel long term as my mom is in a nursing home here and all my kids are here. Still, it’s nice to take advantage of all the opportunities that come up. We were in New York for a few days and will be going to Seattle and then take a trip to Alaska. We aren’t wealthy, just don’t have a fabulous lifestyle and lots of things.

  • Tina

    It is easier now to travel the world with very little. A couple of changes of clothes, some clean underwear, something to sleep in and you are set. Dress in layers and you can go anywhere.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>