Archives for June 2018

June 27, 2018

How I Became a Peripatetic Minimalist

Why I merged travel and minimalism to find balance in my life.

Travel and minimalism are perfect companions. The less you own, the fewer things can weigh you down, which in turn allows you to roam freely.

How I came onto the path of minimalism was out of my control. Turning nineteen years of age, my family decided to make a move to Peru. As soon as I left secondary school, my father sold our house. The number of things we found that once may have bared significance to us, was staggering. I think it may go without saying that moving home is stressful.  What makes the situation even worse is the obligation to move and package a million little things, many of which you can’t remember how they even came into your life.

The task of having to sell, throw out, and donate possessions made me think. How much money did we throw away with all these little trinkets? How many hours have we worked to buy something that held value for maybe a week? More importantly, imagine all the cool places we could have travelled to instead.

Now that I take travelling the world more seriously, I do not want to be tied down by possessions, contracts, and excess money. I want to travel, inspire, and help others—not flex and impress everyone.

Possessions used to mark our status as humans. But does owning more materialist things—the latest smartphone—make us happy? Not me. I find much more value exploring nature, spending time with other cultures, and inspiring people to see what they are missing out. Spending doesn’t have to involve a transaction.

Two years on, my love of travel is growing deeper by the day. I aim to live with only the essentials, and the small number of things that I do have, bring a smile to my face. Living this way, I avoid the pitfalls of mass accumulation, allowing me to hop on a plane with my backpack and go wherever I desire.  The world is my home. That is why I aim to own little but see much.

June 20, 2018

A Minimalist Journey to Life

Create a life that is written and illustrated by you and only you.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and realized you don’t recognize the person standing there? Have you watched your reflection move and feel as if it is a different entity than you? That’s where I was just a month ago.

I picture it as a foggy mirror. You can make out a figure, but none of the little pieces and features that make it a person. It is an individual hidden or stifled by societal norms, expectations, and more. When I discovered minimalism, I found a tool that helped me find the figure through the fog. 

The how-to is the easy part. You separate items, create space for donation and trash, and continue moving around until all your stuff is labelled. Then you visit the dumpster and Goodwill. Suddenly, your space is clear and there is a bit of weight lifted off your shoulders. You look in the mirror and see the condensation has gone, but the image is still distorted.

Some would question their actions: “Did I get rid of enough stuff? The right stuff? How much more stuff until I reach my goal?” 

The real question lies not in quantifiable items, but rather this: Why? 

Finding your reflection requires self-reflection. My answer was quite easy: to create. I wanted the space and energy to work toward my values. I wanted to create myself in the life I wanted to live. That person was buried under physical and mental “stuff”. Minimalism was the first step to finding my life.

So, I started making decisions in my surroundings to support the life I was creating. I eliminated more stuff. I decluttered or reduced my social media presence. I cultivated more meaningful relationships with the people around me, and I walked away from the unsustainable ones. I created the time and space to do things I wanted to do. I surrounded myself with things that gave me life, value, and purpose. 

This morning when I looked in the mirror, I saw a face that looked back. There was still fog around the edges, but a clearer picture had been formed. I knew the face, but the expression was new. I moved with the reflection as it moved with me and I finally realized what I was looking at—Life.

June 13, 2018

fourweeksgood: Melbourne

Four weeks of living and freelancing in one of the world’s most livable cities—Melbourne, AU.

Following the cities of Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, Auckland, Tokyo, Berlin, and Antwerp, this month's 'fourweeksgood' feature hits the second-most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Melbourne is an artistic powerhouse with a vibrant and multicultural soul. Nicknamed “Paris of the southern hemisphere” Melbourne is not only known to be Australia’s cultural hot-spot, but is also famous for its major sporting events and its culinary delights from all across the world. If you're into minimalism in architecture we invite you to visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, which comprises a minimalist iron superstructure. This art gallery is one of the newer established galleries in the city. When you visit ACCA, you’ll enter a creative and innovative environment that features excellent architecture, themed sculptures, and a unique rust-red building. In fact, this building has become one of the most significant establishments in Melbourne’s Art Precinct. Visitors often come here to explore the modern architecture of this distinctive steel building. Only 15 minutes away from ACCA there is also another minimalist spot, the Kettle Black Cafe, on Albert Road—one of Melbourne's best hits for gourmet breakfast, lunch, and brunch fare.

'fourweeksgood' is a series of travel videos created by freelance creative Seraina Silja and Experience Designer Simon Ammann.

June 6, 2018

Simple Isn’t Easy: Mastering the Basics

Timeless style can be more than just an aesthetic ideal. It can be a manufactured reality.

I love coffee. I also love cafés, but I often struggle to find exactly what I am looking for. In my eyes, a perfect café would meet a small but essential set of criteria: great service, a relaxing atmosphere, well-made drinks and reasonably fast internet. However, these things are rarely found in one place. Some cafés have bland coffee or slow internet. Many go out of business before they have time to build a base or identity. These establishments aren’t paying homage to the basics and consequentially, they are unsustainable.

It turns out that simple isn’t necessarily easy. Leonardo da Vinci once said ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ and nowhere is this truer than within the fashion industry. Creating refined clothing is often a gradual process that is at odds with the commercial production of immense volumes. Decisions are based on profit margins, rather than individual suitability and long-term sustainability. This can lead to items of low material quality, produced via dubious working conditions. Shortcuts are so common that brands with real integrity and clarity of purpose are worth celebrating.

One such company that refuses to cut corners is the Scandinavian clothing brand ASKET. Swedish founders Jakob Dworsky and August Bard Bringéus initially set out to produce the ultimate white T-Shirt which, like my café, is something so simple and unassuming that it is frequently neglected. ASKET’s T-Shirt comes in 15 sizes, making sure that you can find the perfect fit for your body. They choose to avoid extravagant marketing campaigns and glamorous stores and this has allowed them to challenge ‘premium’ price-tags, creating real value, without compromise. ASKET aim to create permanent collections that cultivate traceability and transparency so that consumers can see the often invisible side of production. All details are carefully considered.

Brands like ASKET couldn’t come at a better time. We have more clothes than ever, yet we use only 10% of our wardrobes. We wear items 7 times on average before they contribute to the ever-growing clutter of our lives. These numbers reflect the growing lack of connection with what we have and a modern obsession with the ‘new’ that is leaving many of us paralyzed by choice.

But there is a transition underway. We, as consumers are increasingly calling for brands to produce simple, elegant and long-lasting clothing that we want to wear 100% of the time.

Timeless style can be more than an aesthetic ideal. It can be a manufactured reality, made possible by slowing down and mastering the basics.