All Posts in Travel
Four weeks of living and freelancing in one of the world’s most livable cities—Antwerp, BE.
After introducing you to the cities of Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, Auckland, Tokyo and Berlin, this month's 'fourweeksgood' feature capital is Antwerp. Known worldwide as the diamond city, Antwerp is not only an important business center in Europe, but also a great stop for travelers exploring Belgium, as it contains many attractions that will engage and inspire those who take the time to discover them. Our highlight goes on the outskirts of Antwerp, featuring Kanaal, a 180,500-square-foot enclave with three art galleries, an auditorium, an organic food market, and a French bakery on the banks of the Albert Canal, some 8 miles east of the historic heart of the city. Belgian tastemaker and art dealer Axel Vervoordt inaugurated the space in November 2017 together with a Gallery which currently hosts three exhibitions, including works by the Korean conceptualist Chung Chang-Sup (14.04.2018 - 02.06.2018). For those of you who are planning a trip Belgium, make sure not to miss a visit to this enchanted space a few steps away from Antwerp.
Taking a step back from routine to travel the world and learn to live with less.
When I left my job last summer I entered a strange state of loss and lack of direction. After four years at my school I had made good friends, taught fantastic students and my teaching was becoming pretty solid, and what’s more the job was getting easier. All the pieces of a good life were in place; I recently married my best friend and business partner of 10 years. I had a great group of friends and the financial stability of a London mortgage. I could’ve continued with my nice life but felt it wasn’t right. I worried about endless work, 30-year debt and wasting away the creative passions of my teens—it seemed inevitable this would be my life. Or so I thought. After a life-changing trip to Patagonia in 2015, I decided on a new plan to make big changes. I’m still in the process of making that plan a reality but it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Leaving school last summer wasn’t just leaving a job but leaving the life that I expected to grow old living. I stepped off the treadmill and into the unknown, free from work, routine and a normal stable life. My wife and I saved as much cash as we could save in a year, combined with gift money from our wedding and boarded a flight to Norway in July 2017. It’s been a rollercoaster of unforgettable experiences, cool people, foods, sunsets, and ideas. As the end nears I have found clear motivations on how to continue this free, happy, and inspiring way of life. But how will I achieve this?
Traveling the world on $40 a day for two people means you’ll need to live like a local person. That means queuing up to use the same transport, eating in the same restaurants and shopping around for a good price. It’s fun, once you get better at haggling and putting on a front. I learnt that to be happy I didn’t need all the luxury we were used to at home. If I could scale down my spending abroad then why not do so the rest of the time? The first part of my plan to balance my lifestyle is to cut spending to what I need rather than want. This reduces my day-to-day costs and ultimately I’ll have to live with less. In comparison to the majority of local people I met traveling, I could see that life at home in London was not balanced, quite excessive actually and sometimes wasteful too. So living minimally is one of my goals.
Next, I want to be more creative in my daily life and return to London and start using my creative skills. I have developed this attitude by meeting many makers around the world who work hard at their passion. I left our website Studio Mali open to grow and so I feel driven to make creative projects the centre of my new life by making objects that I hope people will enjoy. This goal could have only come from having time to think about it, talk about it and gather the confidence to actually do it. Traveling has given me that time and led me to people making beautiful products in all corners of the globe. It’s not about becoming mega rich by selling products, but about proving to myself that I can survive independently doing something I love.
I setup our Studio Mali blog with my wife because we wanted a project to keep us busy on the road—an output to remember our trip by. In just seven months of traveling we feel like new people, excited about what’s next and driven to inspire others to think about changes they can make to their lives. It might be that you want to work less, or explore new places, develop a skill, start a new hobby, or return to a sport you once played. These little changes or activities can help you to be happy, live in the present, and grow as people. Is a full-time, debt-laden life worth the money that you’re paid? If the answer is no then what can you do to cut down your spending and live with less?
With two months until our return day, I’ve been considering what returning to a structured life will be like. Ultimately, I don’t want a five-day working week so my plan is to work three days supply teaching. I’ll be planning to spend less, enjoy free fun like nature more, cook the foods I used to get takeaways of, and be active and healthy. We hope to sell our apartment and find something smaller, which is perhaps the biggest irony of our mortgage debt. The apartment we purchased four years ago seems to have grown in equity in that time. I may be able to buy something small without a mortgage. I may be able to live a low-cost, debt-free life where I can concentrate on doing things I love, building a balanced lifestyle in the process.
Four weeks of living and freelancing in one of the world’s most livable cities—Berlin, DE.
Following the cities of Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna, Auckland and Tokyo this month's 'fourweeksgood' feature hits Berlin. A city that has reinvented itself over the years, transitioning from a gritty and divided capital to an artsy one. A trip to Berlin attracts both sophisticated fun-lovers and voracious culture vultures, with a great balance between cultural treasures and exciting modern attractions. One of our favorites is certainly the Bauhaus School, where the modern design concept of form follows function was developed. Founded in Weimer in 1919, by Walter Gropius, the school embraced modern technology and the use of machinery to mass produce appealing and practical products. By uniting arts and craftsmanship with technology, Bauhaus became the most influential educational establishment in the fields of architecture, art, and design. For those of you who are looking for calmness in Berlin, we strongly suggest experiencing The Liquidrom. A nude sauna situated in the centre of the city with unique architecture, which was developed on the basis of a circus tent.
You can read the full article 'The Bauhaus School: Founders of Modernism' in our Journal.
How owning less freed up my time, money, and confidence to do more.
As we left for a rare two-week break, I heard the dreaded snap of my holdall handle. I was faced with a choice: re-pack and pay for a larger suitcase or, reduce to the essentials to fit within a backpack. My minimalist mindset took over, and in five minutes we were in the taxi, leaving behind spare shorts, flip-flops, and of course, toothbrush.
So began my journey into minimalism, shifting what holds greatest value, from things I own, to things I do. Ten days of not over-thinking about what to wear, or looking down a camera lens, made more happy memories than any extra outfit could have done. By bringing this simple ideology back home with me, it was my social life that surprisingly transformed.
No longer did I compare myself with my peers, for there was less to analyze. It’s easy to contrast two objects; my car is faster than his, but my phone’s older than hers. Instead, it became much harder to compare my new experiential purchases. No doubt my camping trip cost less than my friend's spa break. Yet, both brought equal happiness. Each experience is unique to us, and nobody can compare that. This new fascination with people’s stories began to expand my previously introverted social skills. ‘What do you enjoy doing?’ and ‘What do you do?’ often lead to very different conversations.
In my pursuit of owning less, and do more, another delightful presence was on the rise—my smile. Happy thoughts grew from both the anticipation and participation of enjoyable experiences. These lasted much longer than if it were for the purchase of a possession. After all, we don’t reminisce with each other about things we bought, but about things we did. I found my smile was noticed more and became infectious amongst friends.
Owning fewer things has freed up my time, money, and confidence to do more. And now more than ever, I look forward to sharing my adventures with the important people in my life.
Four weeks of living and freelancing in one of the world’s most livable cities—Tokyo, JP.
After introducing you to the cities of Amsterdam, Stockholm, Vienna and Auckland, this month's 'fourweeksgood' feature moves to Japan. Its capital, Tokyo, is a megacity—modern and full of energy. Tokyo is often described as the city of hustle and bustle. It can be complex, hypercorrect, overwhelming and fast-paced, but there is more to it than flashing hieroglyph neon signs on skyscrapers. Within Tokyo you can also experience a well-run, clean, peaceful, relaxed, and remarkably aesthetic city. You’ll discover misty views, narrow alleys, exceptional charm in residential areas, and a massive amount of architectural gems and unexpected quiet streets. Welcome to a city rich in contrast, welcome to Tokyo—hectic around one corner, totally blissful around the next.
You can read Tokyo's travel guide in Volume N°2 of our digital publication for Minimalism Life.
Four weeks of living and freelancing in one of the world’s most livable cities—Auckland, NZ.
Following the cities of Amsterdam, Stockholm and Vienna, this month's 'fourweeksgood' featured city is Auckland. Built on an isthmus between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Auckland rightly claims for itself the nickname 'City of Sails'. Life in Auckland revolves around water—living by it, sailing on it, swimming or kayaking. It is a vibrantly diverse place, home to people from all over the globe as well as being home to the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. This melting pot of cultures has created an incredible food scene, as has the abundant and high quality of the seafood from New Zealand waters. One of the best ways to explore Auckland is through the food. We gain a beautiful and minimalist visual insight that leaves us wanting to experience this city and country for ourselves.
Four weeks of living and freelancing in one of the world’s most livable cities—Vienna, AT.
After introducing you to the cities of Amsterdam and Stockholm, this month's 'fourweeksgood' feature capital is Vienna. Today the chic Austrian capital is the travel destination in daring design and breathtaking architecture. The city is home to a number of remarkable architectural ensembles and fashions, from the classical Baroque designs to the more bizarre modern creations. Art Nouveau was a popular architectural style during the 19th Century, and post-war Vienna saw many interesting structures pop up. Meanwhile, Vienna’s graphic design, fine art, and rare art book publishing communities are all flourishing, creating a must-visit capital for design lovers.
You can read Vienna's travel guide in Volume N°1 of our digital publication for Minimalism Life.
Four weeks of living and freelancing in one of the world’s most livable cities—Stockholm, SE.
A month ago we introduced 'fourweeksgood' in our Journal, a new series of travel videos created by freelance creative Seraina Silja and experience designer Simon Ammann. The second city we feature is our favorite Scandinavian capital: Stockholm. One of the cleanest cities of its size, Stockholm maintains much of its natural splendor in the parks that cover one-third of the territory. For this reason, the best way to discover the city is by bike as there is an extensive cycle path network. If you travelled without yours, you can rent a commuter bicycle through one of the many providers. The best time for cycling in Sweden is from April through October in the south of the country, as the season is a bit shorter in the north due to the climate.
Living with less and enjoying more, for six months.
Door closed, bag on the back. I was about to experience the trip I dreamt about for almost two years. Half a year away from home, six months of adventure in Europe and so many countries and cultures to discover with only the stuff in my fifty-liter backpack. Since I was young, I've never been a huge consumer who always wanted the latest state-of-the-art thing. I mean less than the average person. On the contrary, I always loved the idea of having few possessions and this trip clearly opened my eyes toward minimalism.
It's been almost three months since I'm back from what was the most amazing adventure in my life. The aim of the trip was to discover cultures and people while traveling in the simplest way possible: hitchhiking. So when you're leaving for a trip like that, you have to make concessions: you only bring items which will favor you and make you happy. It's a first step into the wonderful world of minimalism.
The minimalist aspect of this journey wasn't limited to possessions. I was doing simple things. From spending a whole evening watching the stars in the sky from a giant fjord in Norway, to drinking tea and talking adventures with travelers in Ukraine. By putting dedication into every single little thing, I could appreciate their true value. Simple doesn't have to mean boring. I was enjoying more than ever writing about my journey on my computer, learning the basics of a new language or taking memorable pictures of unknown landscapes.
Travel is a lapse of time during which you are in a required minimalism state: you are living with fewer things than you ordinarily have and this state makes you understand that you actually don't need more. Now that I'm home, I have this in mind. I want to continue following this way of living with fewer material or immaterial things: clothes, papers, apps, emails... Because for me, they now belong to a clutter that I don't want to be part of. I'm not attracted anymore by blindly accumulating things without any purpose.
If you're really motivated to change your life, sharpen how you perceive things and try to apply minimalism on a daily basis, you can and it's a highly rewarding task! I'm progressively seeing the true meaning of things and each step towards minimalism brings a feeling of happiness and freedom in my life.
Above all, I'm understanding that you can not only enjoy living with few things, but you should also put the emphasis on what really matters: human values. Minimalism is about reducing things, not feelings.
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