It's been almost 6 months now, that I started my minimalist journey.
This morning I woke up in a guest house on Ishigaki Island -Okinawa- where I choosed to stay for a while to end my trip by meditating, reading, resting, relaxing. This is almost the end of my trip in Japan, time goes fast when you travel.
I woke up and asked myself why and how did I started this minimalist Journey?
I couldn't really remember. That was quite blurry, indeed. This is funny because it's something I experienced the last 6 months and especially the last 4 months travelling around Japan with my small backpack and so far I missed none of my past belonging. I actually really enjoy travelling around with such a small backpack. It's synonym to "nothing to worry about"!
Finally I could remember that it started when I was getting ready for my trip. I surfed the web randomly about travelling light, about how to pack an effective suitcase when I found a very small articles about minimalism, explaining that some peoples were living with way less belonging than me. I thought ha yes that's funny. I was intrigued but forgot really quickly about it!
I found other articles about peoples travelling with a small bag, that was more what I was looking for. How to be effective to pack my suitcase. And they were all saying something like oh 10kg it's too heavy, I'll reduced it to 7kg for the next trip! Oh yeah really!!! Yeah right!!! When I saw the size and the weight they were using, I thought, well let's try the in between! I'll definitely won't be able to survive with so little! Not for me!
Then the time came to start to pack, packed my things. I was leaving my flat to be able to afford the 3 months break, no rent, no bills! Thinking about where I could stock all my belongings as I wasn't moving in a new flat : rent some storage space, ask friends and family if they got space? But here the thing, I already did that.
For those who don't know me it's been 7 years now that I left France to work oversea and to move every year or two in differents locations.
Initially I was supposed to go to work in London for 2 months and put all my belongings, furnitures, everything I had in a attic and left to Uk with a big suitcases and a backpack- yes you heard well - for two months. Guess what??Everthing is still in the same Attic since 7 years and Im planning to get rid of everything as soon as I'm going back to France. That's a good exemple how I had accumulate thing I don't need over the year... Yes but if??? If I come back? If I need it? If... 7 years... That's a good proof that I dont need anymore all these items. No?
After reading this article on minimalism I didn't think about that much. But in a way that was a starting point. A clic.
I really enjoyed to go in a Hampstead cafe which is also a library - yes I used to live in a fancy area - I went there every weekend to enjoy a cafe and I have to admit to talk to the waitress who I found attractive, to browse some books.
Everytime I went there, I bought a book! Tea history, travel books, polaroid books, photography books. One day that was a book speaking about cleaning written by a monk, yes cleaning. Why not I thought if it can help me a bit to tidy my flat. It's a small book it won't take that long to read, funny reading. And yes it wasn't that long, but, after reading this book I started to do 10 minutes of cleaning everyday. I don't have to mention I think, that I'm a single male, so let's say cleaning wasn't my first priority! My flat wasnt dirty or a big mess but you know...
Everyday, before going to work, before my shower and my meditation, I started to clean and tidy a tiny part of my flat, a shelf, a cupboard and it gave me happyness. I could feel it really and I didn't know why. In this process I started to throw away some Items I didn't want anymore. That was hard and I started slowly to put some unused items in a box to throw it away.
That's how it start really! Day after day, I felt happy. Cleaner and more tidy was my flat and happyier I was. I know that sound a bit weird, but decluttering my things was as well synonym for me going on travel soon I guess that's why.
Anyway, one weekend I had a look to my wardrobe and thought well, that might be a good time to start my travel bag. Maybe I could give it a try with a small bag I thought!
First find a bag. I went to have a look in some outdoors stores and tried some beautiful 40L, that seem a decent ones to start, more I was looking and more I was thinking : well, I also got a 38L which I like! It might do the trick just to try!
Back home I pull out all my close from my wardrobe and start to put on the side what I really needed for my travel, started to pack everything in my 38L! That was quick and I was to able to put in my bag maybe 10% of what I was planning to. Haha!!! Let's start again! After more than an hour I finally succeeded to close the bag by reducing drastically my belonging! The vital, thst was just to try, just to test what I'll be able to pack in this one. The minimum! At this time I wasn't really convince that I could do it with only theses belonging. I put the backpack on the side in a closet for a while.
And it hit me! Looking at the pile of closes on my bed!
Why not get rid of of what I'm not wearing before putting everything back in my wardrobe because really! I love most of them but... I'm not wearing it!
Let's be honest! We all have some clothes we love but we are not wearing!
After locating some clothes and shoes charity box not far from my place, it took me a week to slowly put everything in some bags and give it away. I did maybe three bigs bags from the thing I wanted to give to the things I'd liked to keep. I ended up to give everything to charity using the donations boxes.
That was really a big move for me. All the clothes I had now were on me and in my small backpack! And that wasn't much!
After that, I realized that I could give or sell more, my furnitures, my books, my collectibles... That was as well a slow and hard process, luckily in London you are never too far from a charity shop.
But wait... I missed something, something who happen to me all along this decluttering, giving or selling away my things... Eventually days after days my flat started to empty, and I had this weird feeling, happyness? Something close to freedom? I don't know, I felt more and more in peace maybe, yes maybe something like that. I started to realize that in a way looking at all this space around me, this emptyness, I could see more clearly what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.
And it happen... Every day I was selling or giving away one of my belonging. I ended up with two suitcases and one small box which I asked a friend to keep until my return. That was at this time how far I could go.
After this trip I don't know what's in the suitcases and the box. I could say, my polaroid, few tea bowls and few books, my tent, a pant .... That's mean to me that everything else I couldn't remembered will need to go when I'll pass by London to my next destination.
During this trip I realized that minimalist is only a word and it's not only reducing your belonging. It's way more than that.