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How much stuff did you pack for your last trip? Did you use it all? The truth is, no matter how big (or small) your suitcase is when you travel, at some point you’ll meet someone who’s been on the road for much longer than you, whose suitcase is much smaller than yours!

Minimalism is becoming more and more popular in the travel world, prompting travelers and remote workers alike to cut down their belongings to what is absolutely necessary, and nothing more. People that embrace the minimalist lifestyle often make the argument that “less is more”, as they value experiences over things. But is this really the general consensus among the travel community?

We asked this question to our colivers and were surprised to hear that, while minimalism is certainly on the rise, owning physical things is still important to some frequent travelers. Whether you are a minimalist like Tobi, or a proud owner of things like Diane and Jiana, keep reading to find out the reasons behind each lifestyle choice.

Team Minimalist

> Tobi: For the past 7+ years, I’ve owned less than 30kg of ‘stuff’. My studying program required me to move every six months, so I had a natural transition phase that stretched over 4 years. Simply put, I gradually got rid of stuff because it wasn’t practical to carry it with me to every new location. Here are a few advantages, from my experience!

  • More energy – Every item consumes energy, hence the more stuff you own, the more stuff you need to take care of (think dust cleaning, keeping your space tidy, moving places, searching for items, etc).
  • Increased focus – The more things I have around me, the more distracted my mind gets. Simply because I SEE it, it gives me a sense of chaos. I’m more productive in de-cluttered environments. Steve Jobs said: “It’s not just the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. […] You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.” In other words, minimalism forces you to focus on the things that are important, instead of distracting us with things that are unnecessary.
  • Physical Freedom & Peace of Mind – When everything you own fits into a backpack and a single suitcase, nothing feels superfluous or unnecessary. If I wake up one day wanting or needing a change of scenery, I can literally move countries in less than 24 hours! With less physical baggage comes less mental baggage too: the less stuff I own, the less I worry about items getting lost, stolen, accidentally damaged, etc.

Team Proud Owners Of Things

> Diane: I’m the opposite and I get weirded out in super minimal environments! I love my clutter… stacks of books here, an action figure there, a blanket (or three) on the sofa… for me, it’s not dirty or overwhelming. On the contrary, it gives colour and texture to my home and makes me feel cozy.

> Jiana: I am like Diane in that, I like surrounding myself with things that bring me joy, or comfort, or beauty, or all the above! Being minimal is difficult, but I do believe there is beauty in minimalism. For example, when you travel and you choose to minimise the amount of stuff you carry, you can still create beauty and comfort everywhere you go with the few items you own, if these are chosen well.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong. Whether you choose to embrace the minimalist travel and lifestyle, or feel you can’t let go of your things, it all comes down to what it is that brings you joy and makes you feel free and happy to be yourself.

Are you a minimalist or a proud owner of things? Let us know in the comments!