Last year I made the Way of St. James, a famous pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago in Galicia, Spain. The route consisted of walking 770 km from Roncesvalles, France, to Santiago, walking 15-30 km each day for a month with nothing more than a small backpack. For this reason, I was forced to pack only the essentials.
At the beginning, my essentials were more than five t-shirts, three pants, two jackets, and many self-care products. Even though I started this journey with what I thought were very few items, I found myself reevaluating every single thing on my backpack as the pilgrimage progressed. I thought, do I really need three pairs of underwear? Is carrying a hairbrush necessary? Will people notice if I use soap as shampoo? The minimalist mindset quickly became a necessity. After all, the less I carried, the easier walking would be.
My mindset completely changed when I came back home, entering my room and feeling overwhelmed seeing so much stuff everywhere. Why do I keep all of this? It felt as if I had lived surrounded by trash for so many years. I was so mad at myself, the first thing that came to mind was to throw everything out and keep just the basics. Every month since then, I reevaluate all that I own as if it were my small backpack.
I’m not saying you need to walk across an entire country to become a minimalist. Think about it this way: If you knew that the more possessions you owned burdened your way to reaching your goals, how much would you carry?