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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Accidental Minimalist


When your entire life has to fit in a 30kg suitcase, it's not hard to be a minimalist. 

For years I have quietly despaired about having less clothes than other people, less books, less items but since I can't afford the excess baggage fees I make do, and write it off as the cost of this life.

Albeit I have a bedroom at home with spare clothes, books and treasured memories, but I'm only there three times a year for two weeks or less so I rarely have access to those belongings. 

Then the minimalism craze swept through the Internet and recently, after reading a post about how to become one, it occurred to me that I already kind of fulfil the description. Sure I acquire items on my travels, and I always have enough clothes to wear, but every time I come home I have an urge to purge and end up ridding myself of many belongings.

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I was half way through another post recently, in which I mused on the fact that I would never quite be a fashion blogger because my Instagram and blog is full of pictures of me wearing the same outfit (this bikini is my only one, do you recognise it from here?) when I realised what I really wanted to say. Because, in place of belongings, most of my money goes on memories. Trips to Broadway shows, flights to Denver, bus tickets to DC, dinner and coffee and drinks with friends... my stay in New York is stretching the very limits of my budgets and yet the only item I have to show for it is a five dollar top. Instead I have snapshots of rich experiences, months in which MoMa became my office of choice, and I read in Washington Square Park everyday. 

Sometimes I feel like I'm not documenting it enough. If I don't take a photograph of what I'm doing, what do I have to show for it? Then I remember the conversations I have had across the world, art works I have seen, and buildings I have admired. The world is giving me a rich education, whether others see it or not. 

So maybe I should embrace the minimalist lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising people for owning things: if I could afford it all I'd probably be buying it, and there might be a small hypocrisy in using an affiliate link in a minimalism post, but if I were reading it I'd want to know where to buy the bikini (10/10 would recommend, super comfy and really flattering). 

But belongings are my last priority right now. After all it is not the clothes I wear nor the camera I use which marks my experience. It is the impression it left on me that matters, and the only way I know how to share that is through my words. And, despite what the Internet might have you believe, others probably feel the same way. Last year I attended an event in Abu Dhabi called #EndSmallTalk. It pushed to dig deeper with our words, and to share thoughts, feelings and experiences. So now I try to engage through stories. Where is your favourite place in the world? What was your most memorable trip? Even those that have stayed within one country invariable have something interesting to share. 

So please, indulge me. Share your favourite memory, or tell me your favourite country in the world in the comments. Let's dive into a world beyond pictures, let's enter into the stories in our hearts. 


Affiliate links have been used in this post, because I love this outfit and a girl's gotta eat, okay? Full disclaimer here.

2 comments:

  1. Whenever I read your blog I think of memories of Africa, of course. In particular I remember talking with you on our crazy ride to the mokoros. What strikes me about that is the circumstance - two people from different countries/lives can get to know each other while bouncing along, avoiding flying poop, doing something so unique. It's a great bonding opportunity.

    I agree with you that experiences are as important as things. I personally like to have pictures, too, because they are a way that I can continue to remember details and reminisce. I spend too much time looking at old Facebook pictures because I enjoy thinking about the occasions that created them. But it's important to also keep adding to the pile.

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    1. I loved that time with you, Emily! It was a great bonding experience, and definitely an unusual one.

      I completely agree with you about having pictures (because I have a terrible memory!) but I guess I just don't want to feel like something didn't happen if I don't have a picture of it. It's a difficult balance to strike, but I certainly love to snap away :)

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