I have always been intrigued by minimalism and life on the road. I have lost count of the articles I have read or documentaries I have seen about these topics. That each and everyones experience with minimalism or living on the road are so different. You don't have to live on the road to be a minimalist, although I believe you have to be a minimalist to live on the road and travel. I think those go hand in hand.
That living in a small space is challenging but I have always wanted a challenge, I have searched for something like this. I think in some aspects I am a minimalist, that I only buy things I know I need, or that I basically wear the same 15 outfits just in a cycle. That I could get rid of the majority of my closet because I don’t wear half the stuff in it anyway. Although I feel like that’s the case for everyone on this planet… We have more stuff than we know what to do with. We fill our homes with “stuff” or “junk” when our basements or attics are full we get storage units to hold more of these unnecessary items. That so much in our lives we are surrounded by each and every day have no value to us. Weeks, months, years can go by without even acknowledging half of the items we own. Honestly I believe we easily forget the things we own, especially when it comes to clothes. (Sorry to call you out Mom…) I have seen my Mom purchase the same looking shoes dozens of times because she will say “Oh I don’t have a pair that look like this.” While if you look in her closest or the bin of shoes in our basement you could easily say otherwise.
When I go shopping with friends I am always so lost in these stores: Forever 21, H&M, Brandy Melville, Urban Outfitters, these are all popular stores for teens and young adults and the best at getting people to buy and buy. I do this to, that every thrift store I am at I always find myself leaving with another t-shirt or hoodie, for anyone who knows me, I could wear a different hoodie everyday for at least a month. So I am a victim of this consumerism as well. I am not looking down at people and being like “how can you be so blind” or sh*t like that. It’s the world we live it, companies and magazines are very smart. They know how to sell, know how to keep switching the trends to make you feel the need to buy more. We live in a “I need” kind of world.
Anyway my point in all of this is I want to live a life where I only have the bare minimum. I believe it could feel so freeing, to only have things that we care about. It’s a funny thing, that at times I really do believe I could get rid of all the crap in my room. But it’s the sentimental value we attach ourselves to everything. That I have so many memories on a magnet board for instance, I have a receipt from McDonalds order 222 that my friend Justin gave me. I wasn’t even with him when he got this order, but he knows that it is my favorite number. That in the moment he kept it and gave it to me because he knew I would smile at it. He probably did not think I would keep it… because let's be real who hangs a McDonald's receipt in their room? I guess I am that 1 out of 7 billion who would. I have a very strong passionate love for the golden arches. I have this crazy built up sentiment for this piece of paper that millions of people would just throw out. Me saying this proves the challenges with being a minimalist. Although I don’t think there has to be strict rules to consider yourself as one.
That if you only keep the things that bring you joy or have a meaning in your life, I feel it could make us all happier in general. That the amount of unused items in our lives bring an unneeded stress.
I am not telling you all to go throw out all your shoes or all the boxes in your basement. Maybe just take a moment and look around your room, think of all the things you use and all the stuff you don’t. I constantly keep my room clean and if I see I haven’t used something or if I can see myself detaching from it. I simply throw it away and don’t look back.
This whole idea of living on the road keeps me on my toes and keeps me engaged. It is like a constant rush of adrenaline, that this home on wheels is your everything. It is a hard thing to understand but this small yet steadily increasing community gets it. They understand how when you are away from this small home of yours for too long you miss it. That everything in this metal vehicle is important to you. That is the life I want to live, and yes maybe I won’t be living in a van forever;I hope when I am older that everything found inside 4 walls of a home, are important to me. I don’t want to fill my house with stuff I forget about in weeks passing.
Maybe this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, that maybe it is just me wanting to be different but I think it’s more than that. That it is me searching for a more simpler life, one without all this stress. Stress that consumerism brings on all of us.
These are my thoughts at midnight as I laying parked at a truck stop still in Utah. I know this won’t change your lifestyle, I mean how could it? But maybe it will make you think about this world we live in. That we live to buy.
Greta Ann Vanderblue.