Why I’m NOT a Minimalist
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a trend of “minimalism” lately. Here I’m not talking about “essentialism” or other similar concepts of owning only the most important things and simplifying your life. I’m all for that.
Minimalism is an extreme of that philosophy.
I could summarize it as such: I’m going to get really creative about how little stuff I can own or travel with and then brag about it endlessly on social media.
One YouTuber has a video where she shows off her “minimalist” apartment. The apartment is HUGE but so empty that you can still hear the echo because there’s no furniture soften the sound. Every room contains the strict minimum, and you’re almost blinded by the whiteness of it all.
To me, a “minimalist” apartment is a small apartment. It’s not a huge apartment with nothing in it. That’s just fake minimalism. It’s minimalism glamor.
Other people travel with so little that they actually maintain a spreadsheet where they list every single item and its weight. They regularly try to shave off an ounce here and there by replacing their two pairs of underwear with a single pair made from some tech material, or something like that.
Another guy went as far as traveling around the world without even a backpack, carrying the few items he needed in his coat pockets.
I think that all of those trends are a little ridiculous.
Certainly, traveling with less stuff makes sense if you’re going to go from one destination to the next regularly. It makes your life easier, but you don’t have to get rid of so much just out of some kind of obsession to prove a point.
One positive thing that happens when you get older is that you’re more suspicious of such radicalism. When you’re young, you tend to fall easily for trends. You’re impressionable.
Believe me; I did it all.
I sold all of my stuff three or four times to move to another country.
But now I wouldn’t fall for such a radical move unless it was after a long period of pondering and it seemed like the right decision to make.
This is why I’m not a minimalist.
It’s clear that owning too much stuff can be a trap.
But owning too little stuff can ALSO be a trap.
The trap is that you constantly obsess about how little you should own. And you take shortcuts that are ridiculous, like spending a ton of cash on “tech clothing” when you’re not going to spend months in the jungle, or in the environment where such clothing was designed for.
If you obsess over how little stuff you should own or about living a “digital nomad” lifestyle, then you’re missing the point and the positive aspects that a philosophy of essentialism can bring.
Essentialism or “minimalism done right” should be about getting rid of what’s unnecessary so you can focus on what’s important and meaningful.
I don’t think that obsessing over which backpack is the very best to travel with or how many pounds of luggage is ideal is necessarily the way to get there.
People get caught up in the details of minimalism while forgetting the important part of it: going back to what matters.