Becoming a Minimalist

When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in. . —D. H. Lawrence

“Cool, unlying life will rush in…” What a beautiful way to describe the transformative power of adopting a minimalist lifestyle. As I went from being surrounded by material possessions to toting 3 bags and crashing on couches (or sometimes, in closets), I noticed distinct changes in my personality, subtle displays of patience, courage, and optimism. I used to be so sensitive to change, easily discouraged by elements of discomfort. I am already experiencing the rewards of inward revolution spawned from physical change… and I’m not even out of the country yet!

Some people see the abandonment of comfort and “security” (I put this word in quotes because I believe security is a state of mind, a superstition) as idiotic, especially when there are so many “have-nots” dreaming of having what I have. Leaving things, good people, and safe places can be considered a display of selfishness, an ego-driven move that considers only the individual. On the contrary, it is a desire to connect with people and Mother Earth that forms the foundation of my motivation, a deep drive to share what I know and learn the secrets that the universe guards so closely.

Out in the unknown, I will be forced to take full responsibility for my own happiness. This is not selfishness, it’s accountability and a catalyst for pure acceptance of who I am. And let me dispel any myths: Disappearing for an indefinite amount of time is HARD WORK. Every day I wake up with at least 15 “to-dos” bouncing around in my head, and after those are addressed, there are 15 more. I feel more focused on this than anything I’ve ever attempted. And when you are focused so intently, you have to narrow your view of other things happening in your world and hope that your tunnel vision doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. I am especially thankful that my family and friends understand this and are gradually becoming more involved and excited about the transition.

I’m sure this photo will make my mom cringe a little, but how many people do you know who get excited to sleep in a closet? It’s new and different and I’m super stoked to prove to myself that I can be content in any environment… even a closet. I remember not too long ago saying, “Ya, I’m the type of person who has to sleep in her own bed at night, otherwise I just feel out of whack.” I had the same bed for 4 years and sold it without a second thought. It felt amazing. Now I fit in with my friends wherever there is space for me, and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that I have people who care so much and provide me with a soft place to do my dreamin’.  I’m experiencing the joy of small things, something I had gotten away from in my day-to-day routine. I am actually anticipating challenges, and I look forward to every obstacle, instead of worrying that unexpected events will disrupt my flow. I am water.

Tchau SUV…

Olá city bus!


The Big Decision

“You’re really gonna do it, huh? Reaaallly?”

“I’m so jealous! I wish I could travel.”

“Wow, that takes balls.”

“So it’s like a vacation…?”

“Why???”

The reactions I get from people when they find out I’m leaving to travel the world are varied, but they all kind of have an underlying element of awe and, well, an air of disbelief. My responses are usually along these lines:

“Yup, my mind is made up, I’m really doing it.”

“Anyone can travel if they have the drive to make it happen.”

“Sold all my stuff, no turning back now.”

“It’s not a vacation, I’m living abroad.”

“Because I want to. Because the whisper has turned into a scream. Because it doesn’t make any sense not to go.”

And there’s one common theme to my responses: resolve. I guess “balls” would be somewhat accurate. But that’s not to say fear isn’t a factor. Quite frankly, I’m terrified. But I’m proceeding with conviction, determined to explore the brilliantly colored fabric of life in spite of that nagging thing called fear.

I’ve always had a curious infatuation with other cultures. Ever since moving to Hawaii in ’02, and then moving back to the heart of the U.S., I’ve longed for diversity and felt rather disconnected spending so much time in a very homogeneous area. Combine my love of natural beauty and ocean life with my eagerness to experience societies beyond the ethnocentric, consumer-driven American culture and you’ve got a world traveler in a Coloradoan’s clothing.

So here I am. Ready with a one-way ticket to Rarotonga and a whole lot of room for possibility… and a smile ten miles wide plastered across my face. To steal one of the most overused cliches in the book, the world truly is my oyster. Stay tuned.