Onwards with my quest to find the Simply Soft Life and as part of my new nomadic lifestyle, I’m trying my hand at minimalist living. It’s really not something that comes naturally to me, in my previous world I was particularly prolific when it comes to hoarding notebooks, shelves of recipe books and endless pairs of flip flops. Cutting back and getting rid was a vital step towards being a nomad, so I have had to embrace it (rolls eyes). To my surprise, I’m starting to enjoy it and see how it can lead to a much less complex (and softer) life.
The initial purge towards minimalist living
The idea of packing up my entire house after having lived there for nine years was really rather daunting. But in order to move out and hit the road I had to do it! Like any good project manager, I tackled it with a detailed workflow, sorting my objects into “sell, donate, store, throw” and my purging into three phases (one being three months in advance and three being the final panic before I moved out!)
Sold – I sold whatever I could that may have value, including my car. Speaking of, I also went to a good old fashioned car boot sale, which I actually enjoyed. I used eBay for any clothing of value. Facebook marketplace for any furniture or other odds and ends that I felt people may take.
Donated – Anything that I couldn’t sell, I donated to either charity shops or I gave them away for free on Facebook Marketplace. I created little packages for friends of books or items that I knew (or hoped) they would enjoy having. I don’t know if this was slight vanity or not, or perhaps just psychologically it felt better knowing my things were going to a good home.
Stored – This left me with a final few items to store, including some sports equipment and winter clothing. Thanks to some very kind people, my items are safely tucked away until I need them.
Then there was a bit of a “digital” cleanse – organising bank accounts, phone contracts, even digital apps. This all made things easier when it came to leaving the UK.
Learning to let go (even more!)
Three months down the line, I now wish that I hadn’t kept so much stuff and I actually look forward to returning to the UK and giving it another going over. Sigh.
I’ve got further to go, I don’t doubt that. But I’m gradually chipping away and finding it easier to let go than I did previously. I was very attached to books, holding on to them as I always convinced that I’d read them again – today I finished one and left it in my hostel. From now on, I’m vowing to stick to digital books only.
Before leaving my last accommodation, I also ruthlessly shed a few more items of clothing, choosing to donate them to charity instead of carrying them. Between my partner and I, we’ve agreed a new rule – buy a small amount of clothing and wear it until it’s really and truly worn out, then get rid and start again. So one pair of sandals, one pair of trainers etc. I’m not quite sure why I’ve not done this before, but I suppose it’s against fast fashion/ consumer culture to live this way.
It strikes me that there’s also been a bit of a “metaphorical letting go” that’s taken place too. As part of life on the road, I’ve had to acknowledge that I can’t be at every event with friends back home. Missing engagement parties, or get togethers with family and friends. It’s a shame to miss some of these things, but there’s also power in letting go and realising that I’m in the right place and time for me right now. Ahh the soft life!
How does minimalist living support the “simply soft life”?
Well, I can think of four big ways in which slimming back on “things”, has made my life feel easier.
Less choice means less complication: Gone are the days when I pour over my multiple items of clothing trying frantically to decide what to wear. Now I have limited choice, it’s definitely sped up the “getting ready process.”
I feel financially more free: Living without bills, for now, feels quite freeing. It’s the first time in a long time that I haven’t had to think about such a high number of direct debits going out my account. Instead, I have accommodation costs, travel costs and that’s about it.
There’s less risk: Owning a car, various other home appliances and technology has risk associated. If things break they need to be replaced. Now, I have my laptop and phone and a cheap pair of hair straighteners – that’s pretty much it when it comes to “things that can break and cost me money”. Minimalist living doesn’t come with high costs to replace things!
I feel less heavy: This ones a little “intangible” but I really can feel that I have less weight to me. I realise this seems a bit “new age” but there’s a palpable change in my energy since I’ve reduced the sheer amount of stuff that I own.
I’d love to hear from any other Nomads who share similar experiences! How did you feel? Any tips for getting even closer to minimalist living?
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