6 years of travelling for corporate work. All I possess today in terms of “material things” I need to carry with me are 1 big suitcase, 1 backpack, 1 toiletry bag. I have had too many homes in the last 6 years, or some may say no home at all. But I have earned experiences and deep connection with several friends to last me this lifetime.
I have lived and worked in Australia and Fiji. In every town or city I have been in, I have stayed put for anywhere between one and half years to three years. Just when things started getting too comfortable, started feeling like home, I moved. I had to more because of work commitments.
I have learned to let go off many things by living in this style, and I have learned to stop buying what the society tells me I ought to have. I don’t buy something if I don’t need it. I don’t buy something if it won’t fit in my suitcase or backpack. This peripatetic life has made a minimalist. That’s what I am.
I bought my first laptop at 33 just a couple of weeks ago, and I am writing on that now. The smartphone I own is only my second smartphone in 9 years since they came about. I have used public transport, and hitch-hiked but never bought a car. I have not bought a television all my life – and I don’t think I will need one when so much can be viewed on my phone or laptop.
I was in the habit of buying too many books – more books that I can read. I sold them all. Today I have no book. But I have a Kindle. Doesn’t feel the same as reading from a book but it rids me of the problem of having to lug them around when I move places.
I buy something only when I need it and when there are no sounds of an inner voice asking if I need that thing at all. I don’t let advertisements and web cookies create a urge in me for owning something that I don’t have. I always sell off or donate what I think I will not use. Reducing and Reusing are two important practices most important in this over-choice and abundance.
And I don’t regret this lifestyle. How much does one need? I feel I can do more a lot more with having less with the lifestyle I have chosen. I carry my home with me every time I travel. Where is home? I ask myself. Home is where I become myself. But then I become myself in every new place I come to. It takes a few weeks to get used to the unfamiliarity, and then that is it. I get to know my way around the place, get to know the local people, get to know where to go for the best local bread, or the best haircut, or cheapest movie tickets.
I have realized that people, more than places, interest me. A place becomes good or bad by the people who live there. If I have liked a place and want to go back there, it is more because I have liked the people there. I have found them friendly and welcoming. I find a drab shop serving snacks and tea with a smile and welcoming attitude more appealing that a plush cafe with unfriendly staff.
I am keen to continue this way of life. Even when I stop travelling for work and start living in one place for long and have a home, I will want my home to be small. How small? I don’t mean a cabin. I don’t mean slumming inside a cupboard. But no lavish or underutilized spaces. I don’t need that extra-large living room where I may hardly spend any time – a living room that is big creates the urge to fill it with things you don’t need – a large TV, a table for that TV, a large couch, a book-shelf, a mini-bar, it won’t end…And my bedroom just needs to be large enough to keep a bed and let me sleep peacefully. I only need enough space to maximize living with minimal possessions.