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 pleased to feature Bryan. I love how his minimalist journey began in an airport—while whittling down his luggage to meet the baggage requirements! Read more of his thoughts on his blog.
Having MORE through LESS
I developed my passion for being a minimalist about two years ago when a close friend of mine and I decided to go on a three-week European sightseeing adventure. As a result, I decided to cash in my Los Angeles studio apartment (which I didn’t really like that much anyway) and all of my belongings as I knew this was going to be a costly trip. It was mostly because of my need to let go of what seemingly wasn’t working in my life and have a fresh start after my return from Europe.
To kick off my trip, I first stopped to say hello to my parents in Ohio and then took a train to New York City where I met up with my friend. We hopped a plane and headed for London, with a layover in Iceland. After a week in London, we took a train to Paris for a weekend then to Amsterdam, followed by a last-minute flight to Rome for another week to round out the trip. For having never been out of the country (other than to Canada or Mexico), it was the trip of a lifetime for this American boy.
Even though I didn’t know it at the time, thinking back, it wasn’t until we boarded that plane out of Amsterdam that I truly became a minimalist. We both were carrying about 30lbs exceeding the weight limit in our luggage and were forced to throw it away as we had no one locally that could keep some of it for us. We had only 10 minutes to choose what 30lbs we were going to throw away before the bags had to be loaded onto the plane. Books, pillows, blankets, shoes, clothes…they were all getting thrown into the airport trashcans. At the time it was overwhelming and both of us were extremely upset. They wouldn’t even allow us to pay more for exceeding the limit. It had exceeded the passenger requirements for the small plane from Amsterdam to Rome.
Fast-forward two years later… I look back on that trip and, even though I gave up pretty much all but 50lbs of my material possessions before and during that trip, it was very much one of my all-time favorite experiences of my life. As I move into my thirties next year, I have a fresh perspective on what is important to me in my life. It is all about the experiences and the people I love in my life. Following my passion. I find you can actually have MORE personal joy and fulfillment in life by owning LESS material possessions. It really frees you up to be able to pick up and do the things your soul is calling you to do.
When I look back on my life when I’m old, the moments I will remember the most are moments like the unforgettable European trip with my best friend. For moments like these I will have no regret. Life is too short not to do the things that your soul is calling you to do. I’ve even started a blog last summer called “livingmorethan.com” that is inspired by my experience of having MORE personal joy and fulfillment in life. It’s about living “more than” mediocre or settling for a life “less than” the one you deserve. Life is about living and if material “stuff” is holding you back, you are missing out on opportunities beyond your wildest imagination.