Minimalism Isn’t Traveling the World with Nothing

Clearing up some misconceptions

Words by Leo Babauta

I read a post recently where a blogger and commenters were talking about how minimalism sucks, because owning nothing and traveling the world with nothing but a small suitcase means you’d never have savings or a safe home for your kids.

Well. There are a couple issues here to discuss.

First, the kind of minimalism they’re referring to is only one way to do it. Sure, lots of minimalists are bachelors who can easily work anywhere and travel the world with a backpack, or perhaps families who travel and work and live all over the place with almost no possessions. But that’s just one way.

Another way is to live in a home that’s big enough (but not overly huge) for your family’s needs, and to only have what you need and not too much more, and to not focus so much on consumption but more on doing the things you love with the people you love.

And yes, you can travel the world from time to time, with just a small backpack each. But that’s just one part of your life. At least, that’s how we do it.

So minimalism isn’t just one way of life. It’s figuring out what works best for you (and your family if you have one) but being more mindful of what you own and do. Not obsessing over possessions, but being mindful. It’s about finding contentment.

Second, you can have savings as a minimalist. In fact, many minimalists do. It’s often easier to have savings, because if you’re spending less on needless possessions and a huge home and a couple of huge vehicles, you can put more money in the bank or for retirement. You can do this as a single person, but also as a family. I would recommend it—having savings gives you peace of mind.

Just wanted to clear up those misconceptions.

Leo Babauta

Zen Habits is a blog written by Leo Babauta about implementing zen habits in daily life. It offers suggestions for how to live and also includes frequent references to how Leo Babauta has implemented these habits. He covers topics such as simplifying, living frugally, parenting, happiness, motivation, eliminating debt, saving, eating healthily and successfully implementing good habits.


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