Accidental Minimalist

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When I discovered that I could rent my house and make a few hundred dollars profit, I was, as they say, ‘outta here!’ Mind reeling from the posilicious possibilities, I knew that it would take a lot of work, but that I had to simply start walking. After living in a home for fifteen years, one tends to accumulate stuff. And a few of those years were prime earning 6 figure years, where I would simply walk into an REI and just buy anything my heart desired.

And , oh, did my heart desire!

One year I believe I received a $300 dividend. That would mean I had spent at least $3,000 the previous year. That buys a lot of climbing equipment!

French freeing the 1st pitch of Super Nova

But those days are past. My path is now writing and video-documenting my life and interests — do what you love, the money will come, right?

But, calculating the cost, and the revenue weighed against the PITA factor, I realized I could do it

I could be free.

All it would take was dismantling everything that I am.

Because we define ourselves by what we own — our choices revealed through our cars, our houses, how landscaped our yards are, how prompt we are at shoveling our driveways, and do our neighbors sneer at our shrubbery?

Once, I let the grass grow. I thought, well the grass in the nearby Crown Hill Park looks fabulous long! After letting it grow over a foot, the city disabused me of that notion, ticketing me, saying the initial charge was $25, which would increase every week if the grass was not cut.

I calculated: if they increased it by $10/week, after a year I’d be charged $535. After ten? $5,215.

The mower hauled out, the prairie shorn.

I actually saw the guy from the city swing by in a truck, scowl on his face. He hauled ass when he saw me standing in the cropped grass, fists clenched, staring needles.

This gave me a view into how others see my property. That I needed to empty the house, and paint and fix and haul and trash and donate. When I was done, I had a clean slate: an empty home.

My earthly belongings now fit in one-half of a 2 car garage. I live out of my 13′ Casita parked in my driveway, a fiberglass RV manufactured in 2003, but she’s a beaut, doesn’t look a day old in my eyes.

Conchita la Casita

My clothes fit in a single plastic container bought at Walmart. I use a sleeping bag as a comforter, and my bed converts to a small table seating area I use during the day. More often I find myself at a local cafe that has strong coffee and fast wifi.

Soon, I will have less.

Everything I own will fit in a backpack and a day pack. With this shall I roam the earth. As far as clothes, I will be down to:

  • 2 long-sleeved collared shirts
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 2 long pants (1 convertible to shorts)
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 2 hats: beanie and a waterproof hat with a brim
  • a lightweight waterproof jacket
  • 1 light stuffable puffy jacket
  • 5 socks

I’ve read a bit about Minimalism, and it struck a chord in me: only have what you need. That this leads some people to a happier life. How some folks pay a bunch of money to hire a consultant to learn how to become a minimalist. I find the idea of hiring a consultant funny: my decisions are born out of whether or not I want to carry it on my back.

Living la vida Conchita!

I have things that have multiple purposes and features: an insulated bottle which can hold both hot or cold drinks. It has a loop that I can attach a ‘biner to, and a flip-top lid for sipping (so I don’t have to unscrew it). I can drink with one hand, while checking Facebook on my iPhone in the other. It’s sturdy and unbreakable, and yes, I thought this all through before I decided to buy it and bring with.

I have headphones that magically transform noise, or music I dislike into blessed silence. They can double as earplugs in a pinch. And yes, I tested that too.

I have failed experiments. I was going to use my hydroflask bottle to hold my wifi extender by dismantling the wifi extender to pieces, and then stuffing the parts into the screwtop bottle. But I found that I never used the bottle because, well, where would I put the delicate wifi extender? In the end I decided to McGuiver a PVC pipe with end caps as a dedicated case, and now actually use the bottle for its intended beverage holding purpose.

I feel like a cosmonaut, being jettisoned into space. Except I armor myself with only the least amount of things, with technology being my only splurge.

I have last year’s Macbook Pro. I have a military grade 4TB external drive that’s waterproof and dustproof, for offloading the videos I will be making to document my journey. I purchased an online backup in case my worst fears are realized. I am debating whether to bring the Kindle or not — probably not. I can read my electronic books through my iPhone.

One from two is one.

I am deciding whether or not to bring my iPad Air — probably not. I can use my Macbook for that.

One less thing is one less thing to carry, keep track of, lose.

As you can see, I will leave behind that which I already have. Maybe not ideal, in a sense, but my back will thank me for it.

And what is it they say? Take what you have, divide it in two — then throw one-half away.

But, when one has so little, one from none is…?

Either tragic, or bliss, depending on your POV. To be free of these shackles. But my revenue depends upon these things, as I am to become a Digital Serf Nomad! Tra-la-la-tra-la-li!

While I will blog, I am also volunteering, a fabutastic way of traveling in my opinion. You are typically provided room and board in exchange for working 20 hours a week. You get to know locals, and have a friendly face to practice my Español phrases like:

  • ¿dónde está el baño
  • ¿dónde está la biblioteca
  • ¿dónde está la lavandería
  • Donde puedo encontrar cerveza?
  • Por favor no me apuñales con ese cuchillo.
  • claro que te amo.

If I get fancy I can combine them as such: claro que te amo, por favor no me apuñales con ese cuchillo!

See, language learning can be minimalist too!

I am stripped bare, decisions pared down to: is it clean? No. Does it stink, No. Can I wear it? Yes!

I think I may like this.

Simplified and nearly sterile, I await the starting gun: I am ready to run!

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