Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Julie B. Rose. julie de vivre.
“So, Julie, you seem to have quit your job. What made you become a minimalist?”
Sarah, my host in Munich, was looking at a nomad lifestyle blog where I talk about travel, minimalism, budgeting and love. Last year her August we sat on her balcony eating her fresh bread and cheese and drinking beer.
“Well, I don’t own much,” I said. “Almost everything I have fits in my car. I sold my house and got rid of 98% of my belongings and furniture two years ago. I don’t collect, I prefer to spend my money on experiences rather than possessions.”
She chuckles and gestures to the simple two bedrooms and one bathroom she shares with her girlfriend Lena.
“I mean, it’s not that uncommon. It may be America, but it’s very normal for us.”
Whether she meant “we Germans,” “we frequent travelers,” or “me and Lena,” I wasn’t positive, but she could easily be three It could mean everything. , was to have the mindset that everything is disposable.
Outside of America, ‘exchange’ is not the first impulse
Having spent the first six months of 2022 in Mexico, one thing I have noticed about Mexicans is that exchanges are a last resort.
Part of that outlook may be due to the prevalence of poverty in Mexico, but I think it’s also a cultural idea that everything has a use. bottom? Fix it, glue it, sew it, polish it, fill it in — Mexicans come handy. usable.
The United States is a country where anything can be ordered and delivered in minutes or hours, and many people typically don’t look to the premium they pay for convenience, ease of use, and shiny newness. Americans are fortunate enough to have such infrastructure and business ingenuity, Useless.
Everything I bought on Amazon was inadvertently and thoughtlessly ordered, each arrived in its own box, in its own truck, on its own trip, in the garage we went to when we became nomads in 2020 On sale, resold for a penny for a dollar. Everything we buy comes in a layer of plastic, which we put in another plastic bag and walk out the door. Bring your own or buy a reusable tote.)
In the past, when something I enjoyed was broken, torn, slowed, outdated, or damaged, I would throw it in the trash (or in the kitchen drawer for later processing) and was replaced or upgraded. Now I glue, sew, repair, resole, DIY and trade in as much as I can. breathe new life into old things.
I was in Greece for most of September. I got my hair cut in Athens and left my jacket at the salon. Later that day, I flew to Corfu, Greece. Frustrated with my forgetfulness, I told my American friends that I had lost the only jacket I had in Europe.
“Just buy another jacket!” they exclaimed in disbelief that it even mattered. And indeed, H&M is always there. But I didn’t want a new jacket.My jacket, which I bought at Target five years ago for $27, was nothing special, but it worked.In fact, I was on another island. My Greek friend Vasilis found a way to get it back, but later came to visit me in Croatia. Please buy another one. There are no limits to what money can buy. I resisted it as much as I could.
Pursuing bigger, better, more is an American invention
When I was 22 and got my first $33,000 a year job in Minneapolis, the first thing I did was go to a Toyota dealership and buy a new car for $22,000. Pushed me for a 5 year loan.
Our culture is so ingrained in the notion of external metrics of personal success that I found a second job and worked 55 hours a week just to pay all the bills and eat. , $750 monthly rent and $450/month auto loan payment and insurance.
Advertisers and Hollywood have told Americans this lie all our lives. Bigger is better, more is better, better is better — all our lives we go and trap ourselves in an endless cycle of working, spending and collecting.
College debt to get a good degree, a good job, a good salary. An Autodet that gives you the freedom to hit the road while being stylish and safe at the same time. Mortgage debt for having a big house and garage and yard and rooms and closets holds everything for us to buy quickly and fill everything.
In many other countries, even wealthy people undervalue their assets. They work to live, not live to work. As our obsession with making money and collecting things diminishes, we prioritize rest, leisure, and family time, take vacations, and retire “well enough,” rather than working until we die.
Non-Americans are less attached to living spaces and belongings
Sprinting across Europe, from Slovenia to Hungary to Turkey to Montenegro, posting about the sights, sounds and flavors, one Instagram follower commented: He must be spending $300 a day in hotels, taxis and restaurants!!!”
I wasn’t. In 2022, spent an average of $74 a daylodging, meals, health insurance, personal care, transportation, and more.
And of the 16 weeks I traveled in Europe last fall and late summer, I spent almost half the time with friends, friends of friends, or complete strangers. The level of hospitality and welcome I have encountered is unmatched.
I didn’t know Sarah before I was with her. She was a friend of a friend of hers with whom I was staying in Salzburg, Austria, and at the request of her friend Sarah kindly agreed to receive me in Munich. A few days later, Sarah and Lena were also planning to leave town. She offered that I stay home and water their plants.
“We traveled a lot,” she said. “We understand how it is.”
“How it is” seeks to make a dollar last longer by helping travelers practice the mantra of “experiences over possessions.” as long as possibleSummer backpacking trips, gap years and sabbaticals are a long tradition of Europeans in their 20s, 30s and beyond. We understand that accommodation can be one of the most expensive aspects of travel. I met many Europeans who opened their homes to capricious travelers like me without a second thought.
In my 15 months of traveling the US in 2020 and 2021, I have encountered far less hospitality. Friends and acquaintances across the state asked me to have dinner and catch up while I was traveling, but far fewer invited me to stay. I rented a house on Airbnband the judgments my American friends shared about strangers sleeping in my bed and cooking in my kitchen.
“Who cares?” I laughed it off. “Same bed, different sheets. You don’t take your cookware with you when you die.” Years later, most of my cookware is right sell or give away.
We cannot pinpoint exactly why fewer Americans are lodging acquaintances, but it may have something to do with the fact that fewer Americans travel abroad.very accustomed comfortablethe traveler between our space and ours is inconvenience.
Is this article an indictment of American ways and our popular Western choices? However, commercialism, materialism, food And alcoholism, vanity and appearance, and many other mortal sins. I may be a nomad he lives on $74 a day and only has what he can fit in an SUV…but I have more than enough.
A big house invites more. If something isn’t ‘perfect’, it’s easy to buy another…so we can even trade working hours and what we don’t buy for ours. go back in time: time with family, time away from the rat race, time for personal effort.
As a nation, I hope we learn to be more conscious of our purchasing decisions and reduce our tendency to waste or ignore them.
And instead of measuring net worth, dollars, square footage and brand names, why not count years…and measure “wealth” in freedom. Freedom from debt, freedom from material indulgence, freedom from temporal and spiritual freedom. The energy-sucking work and the freedom to do what you want with who you want on this planet.
Julie B. Rose is a full-time nomad and minimalist who travels the world with her dog, Penny.she shares her own experience juliedeviver.comshe aims to inspire and empower positive lifestyle changes. Instagram Or pick up her e-book, Money and Mindset: How to Take a Sabbatical.