The Adventurer’s Closet and a Functional Minimalist Lifestyle

minimalist living

Is the clutter getting in your way?

The Adventurer’s Closet and a Functional Minimalist Lifestyle

What does a minimalist lifestyle mean to an adventurer?  Recently, I was at the Overland Expo in S. Arizona and one of the panelists who was an accomplished overlander* said something that struck me.  He was asked how he managed to fit all the things he would need for a round the world trip into one vehicle.  This was a common question from all the people who hadn’t done a multi-month or multi-year overlanding expedition to all those who had.  The panelist replied;

Remember that you have a responsibility to everything that you take with you.

What does a minimalist lifestyle mean?

It may or may not be a coincidence that recently I’ve been feeling that “my stuff” has been getting in my way.  It’s my personal belief that doing and being is more important than having.  Despite growing up as an 80’s mall rat, today my priorities are vastly different.  And, no, I’m not talking about casting off all of one’s worldly possessions and living like Buddha.  For me, that’s a little too extreme.  I like a roof over my head and a comfortable bed.  I also like a glass of wine at the end of the day.  What I am talking about is the feeling that my “having” was getting in the way of my “doing.”

Less is More
– Mies van der Rohe

Looking after my stuff, organizing my stuff, repairing my stuff, paying for my stuff and finding time to use all my stuff was getting in the way of doing the things that were most important to me.

Having just accepted my latest adventure travel job as a SCUBA diving & water sports director aboard a small luxury cruise ship, I looked to this as an opportunity to simplify and streamline many things in my life and focus more on doing.  I didn’t realize how complex and costly many things had become in my life until I started cancelling subscriptions, services, phones, utilities and insurances that I wouldn’t need anymore.  What I realized is that I probably hadn’t needed many of them all along.  I looked at all the things that I had and never used but took up space, time, energy or effort and put them all up for sale on EBay and Craigslist.  Man did that feel good – and it made me some decent cash too.

I traded satellite TV, Netflix, a full closet and a car payment for the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, the Ligurian Coast of Italy and every Sunday in Venice, Rome or Barcelona.  It really was that simple.

The closet of a minimalist lifestyle

On the ship where I live and work, the closet in my cabin is 6 feet high and 22 inches wide and all my clothes fit in it – with room to spare.  My packing list included SCUBA diving gear, beach wear, casual clothing and even semi formal evening wear.  Everything that I needed for an entire six months fit into two checked and one carry on bags – and it fits in my closet and bathroom that are a fraction of the size of the ones at my home.  And more amazing still, I haven’t worn all the clothes I brought.

What is taking up space in the closet of your life that isn’t helping you have/do/be what you want most?  How can you simplify these things and focus on doing what you really want?  Please leave your comments/ideas below.

* Overlanding is the art of extended, vehicle supported adventure travel or exploration.

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