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, we have an update from previous Real Life Minimalist Gigi. We last heard from her in January, when she was decluttering and planning her next travels. Visit her blog to read more about her adventures.
In early 2012, I sold, gave away, or trashed almost everything I owned. I gave up my lease on a little house in urban Denver. And I took off around the world with my business and my little dog, leaving just 8 boxes behind in a friend’s basement.
After four months on the road, I fell in love with my new nomadic lifestyle and returned to the US to sell my car and reduce my eight boxes to one box and one bag.
Both purges felt exciting and freeing. Both taught me lessons about who I was and how I wanted to live.
But it still took another year before I learned the most important lesson of all: how to approach life from a minimalist perspective.
You see, even though I’d taken an extremely minimalistic road when it came to my possessions, my mind and life were still incredibly cluttered.
Not only was I running a small content strategy and copywriting business, but I was also running my blog and writing travel and inspirational pieces for several on- and offline publications. And then there was the book I’d published in summer 2012. And still I was mulling over more things I could do: travel coaching, life coaching, writing workshops, location independent workshops, two more books, growth ideas for the blog…
As you might have guessed, it was way too much. And sometimes I had trouble switching off, quieting my mind, and simply enjoying the travel-filled life I was leading.
Finally, this September, I took a much-needed break. I told my clients I’d be off the grid. I stopped taking projects. And I lived (mostly) out of a tent in the Swiss Alps.
During that month, the only workish thing I did was write a few blog posts.
Instead, I hiked up into the mountains, standing at lookout points so breathtaking that I couldn’t help but cry. I sat in the pub with new friends, laughing. I found time to quiet my mind and listen to what my heart had to say.
And by the end of the month, I knew that it was time for a real change. Not just a month-long vacation, but a minimalism of the mind.
Instead of running what was essentially two businesses, I decided to focus on one. Travel and inspirational writing was my passion, so I ditched my content strategy and copywriting business to focus on my blog, a few articles a month, and the books that were insisting I write them.
There was an immediate lightness. A giant, internal sigh of relief. And I realized, a week or two into October, while sitting on my balcony here in Switzerland, overlooking the most charming town I’d ever been to, that I felt utterly relaxed. Refreshed. Creative. And unpressured.
My attention wasn’t divided, but was balanced. I’d spent two or three days that week hiking. The other days, I wrote.
It’s just the beginning of this beautiful shift, but I’m committed to making it a permanent thing. Because the world doesn’t need more anxious, stressed, work-till-you-drop entrepreneurs. It needs people who live fully, who love their lives, and who focus on doing the thing they were meant to do.