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A Journey of Minimalism

Why the pursuit of less is really the pursuit of more

Woman running
Photography by Verne Ho

I remember it like it was yesterday; the first time I stumbled onto Minimalism. It was a lazy Saturday when I watched the Netflix documentary Minimalism twice. I was fascinated by the counterintuitive way of striving for a life of less. Less stuff, less consumerism, and less clutter. Since that day, minimalism has become so much more to me. In a way, it may even have become my pursuit of more.

I’ve always been someone who consumes consciously. More than that, I’ve always been someone who appreciates the emptiness of space and simplicity in architecture. Nevertheless, the documentary and the minimalist lifestyle inspired me to have a closer look at all of my possessions. Since then, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of stuff that didn’t really add much value to my life. From books I would never read again to ‘just in case’ clothing—I gave it all away.

And although that change brought some lightness into my life, I didn’t feel I was leading the minimalist life I wanted. That became utterly clear the moment I burned out from my job. Less stuff had made room for more people, more work, more social activities, and more busyness. Reaching that “burned out” moment in my life, I felt an intense need for freedom, physical space, and time to wander.

Last year, I took the leap. I left my job, my house, and my day-to-day life behind. I decided to travel light with only hand luggage on me, and with just the first day planned ahead. Travelling light made my life lighter in more ways than I could have imagined. It’s not just the comfort of less that adds value to your life, it’s all about the simplicity that comes with it when you reduce the number of decisions and increase the number of possibilities life gives you. Living for about half a year from just a small backpack made me realize that there isn’t much that you really need. And perhaps more importantly, there are only a few things that really matter.

Right now, I see that minimalism is about so much more than just possessions. It’s about seeing what is most important to you in all aspects of life. From there, you can start building your life around it. In this way, minimalism has brought me more joy, more freedom, and more fulfillment. Although it may be hard to pursue sometimes—especially in the corporate world where not everybody believes that ‘less is more’—stepping backward to reflect on this journey helps me ponder on what I truly value. And to me, that step toward more conscious living is what matters, and that is what minimalism is all about.

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