Before van life, we tried to be conscious of how much clothing, kitchenware, and home accessories we purchased. Until we moved into our 41-square-foot van, I didn’t realize how much we accumulated over the years.
My wife and I decided to quit our jobs, pack up all our things, and live in a van. It was a scary decision. Dreaming was the fun part, but doing it for real was pretty difficult. I realized we were willingly stripping ourselves from the comforts that we were so accustomed to and had traded them in for an van. All the ideologies of living simply and being led by the wind were about to become our reality.
You Can’t Take Everything
Moving into the van, my wife and I had eight little canvas cubes to fit all our clothes in, four each. How were we to decide what jackets, shirts, pants, shoes, and socks to pack?
It turns out I form strange bonds with some of my boxers. I tried to pack my hole-entrenched blue boxers into one of my cubes, and my wife slapped my hand and told me it was time to throw those ones away.
Those undies weren’t the only thing I’d become attached to. I was amazed at how much I wanted to keep so many of our belongings. You need to pack only the good stuff, but how much is too much? I love my wool socks and the ones with the weird blue and red design. Should I bring both? I had some tough decisions to make.
A Stripped Down Life is Actually Better
Donating and packing away the life in our condo was a difficult task, especially as I realized I had become a victim of consumerism. We had a lot of stuff! But by focusing on the essentials and going inch-by-inch we packed up our little van.
Everything had a place and a purpose. We started giving away things and buying the right things. The things we really needed. It made me realize Nicholas Burroughs was right when he said, “Minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something.”
After getting used to life on the road, we don’t feel like we are lacking anything. We feel like we have the perfect amount of what we need.
Beyond just physical things, we are less distracted and more focused on the richness of life. The beauty of life on the road is the invitation to focus on the fundamentals of living. It creates the opportunity to recalibrate our rhythms and live in the present.
The stress of minimizing and choosing your trip essentials wisely will be quieted by the freedom you experience. So, before you hit the road, know that simplifying actually maximizes. You’ll find that you won’t miss the things you left behind.
What are your thoughts on minimizing and downsizing? Leave a comment below.