Whether you’re a lifelong traveler, city break connoisseur, wannabe digital nomad, or a 2 week round the pooler, the art of minimalism can help you travel with more purpose, for a happier, more fulfilled experience.
What’s it all about?
We’ve always been taught that material possessions bring happiness and fulfillment. Brands scream out for our attention in the supermarket, we see and hear adverts all day long and we can pay for anything with our fingerprint.
The point is, it's pretty easy to find things to spend our money on, and our obsession with buying stuff means that we can eventually live in overly-cluttered environments which can begin to cause us stress that we’re totally unaware of.
And what does minimalism have to do with this?
The minimal mindset challenges this, helping us to clear space for a more purposeful and content life, which just so happens to be the sort of life that many are in search of when traveling…
…And that's where things get interesting. American Author Joshua Becker’s The More of Less looks into why we don't need so much stuff and makes the point that the life we wish to lead might be hiding under all of our belongings.
Now, we’re not asking you to throw away everything you own, but the idea of having less stuff is something that those of us with a touch of wanderlust are used to, so if there's a way of traveling happier and for longer, then it's definitely worth hearing about.
Here are our 3 top tips for travelers from The More of Less, a guide to traveling the world with a minimalist mindset, helping you move from border to border happier, lighter and for longer.
1. Put what you love first
Minimalism doesn't mean that you meditate all day, or that your house should look like something out of a Scandinavian design magazine. It’s about focusing on what you value, and removing the things that distract from this.
For example, If you’re a fitness-loving traveler, this might mean you always take your workout gear, no matter where you go. Focus on your love of fitness but don't let your love for something allow you to overpack for it. If you’re packing a protein supplement and four pairs of running trainers, there's a chance that you might be getting a bit carried away. The key takeaway here is that whatever you love, you should ensure you’ve got the essentials to do this while traveling. We can promise that by combining these two things, you’ll be a pretty happy bunny.
2. Set travel goals
Minimalism is about being happy, not restricting yourself to a strict number of possessions. Let's say your traveling goal for 2017 is to hike the Inca Trail. The minimalist approach is to think about how you can comfortably fit everything into your backpack and travel as light as possible.
Living as light as possible won’t necessarily help your life at home, or even when you’re traveling elsewhere, but it is perfect to help you achieve your dream of Macchu Picchu in the most comfortable and least exhausting way possible.
In short: by having a traveling goal, you can identify the essentials for each trip, helping you to apply a suitably minimal means of approaching things.
3. Be more aware of consumer culture
This one is a travel no-brainer… the more aware of consumer culture you are, the less you will spend on things that are unnecessary to your trip.
If you spend too much, you will be traveling for less time, and your time traveling could end up being a little more stressful if you’re constantly worrying about Euros, Baht or Yen.
Start by identifying the basic things you need to travel–such as security, maybe companionship, money and so on–and work out from there, being mindful to filter out the noise of consumerism that can hold us back. Of course, you have to enjoy yourself and get the most of your experience. This isn't about being tight, more aware of the fact that we don't always need everything we think we do.
To recap, Minimalism is about removing the things that hold you back from living the life you wish, which when applied to your travels makes for a happier, more fulfilled experience.
The reality is that we don't always think about how what we buy is going to make us happy. By focusing in on these things while you prepare to travel, we’re confident you will be set for your best trip yet.
If you practice owning less, you could be living more. It’s that simple. For more practical life insights, be sure to check out Joshua Becker’s The More of Less. We’ve just mentioned three little points from the book - there are many, many more enriching tips waiting to be discovered.