|All we own!|
I remember sitting in our house, and listing all the things we could NEVER live without again; 2 cars, king size bed, caller ID, a massive TV with hundreds of channels and a DVR, our own house, beauty and cleaning products, etc, etc. It makes us laugh now and, at the same time, feel so grateful that we changed our ways.
Over the past few years we have slowly eliminated material "things" in an effort to focus on experiences and each other. It seems that once you begin to rid your life of the extra things, you get the fever to do more. It has become something like an addiction to me now. Getting rid of things is liberating. A freedom that one only knows when they also rid themselves of all the "stuff".
It all starts, I think, when we are kids and formulate the way we feel about things like this. When I was young I didn't have very much money and always desired things that I couldn't have. Fast forward to my adulthood when I reached a point that I could afford these desired items I had always craved, and we got them! Hook line and sinker, we bought into commercial America. I felt that if I didn't give my kids all these "things" that I didn't have when I was young, then they would feel the way I did growing up, always wanting and sacrificing.
But what I know now is that my kids are far better off without these things. They crave experiences (and food) rather then material items. They'll be able to move around the world, adapt, and assimilate almost anyplace. They understand the difference between what they need and what they want and can logically think through whether we should purchase something or let it go (most of the time anyway). This ability at such young ages amazes me on a regular basis, and I am so proud knowing that it was the choices we made as a family 5 years ago that contributed mostly to this.
So what types of things have we left behind or learned to live without? Cable or Sat TV, including Tivo or any DVR option, clothes dryers, hot water, dishwasher, screens on our windows, phone line at our home, including caller ID, king size bed (and sometimes a lack of plush sleeping quarters at all), a home of our own, cars, specific beauty products, cleaning products, fancy clothing, and toys. We are down to 4 travel backpacks and 3 day packs worth of belongings. Knowing you can be content with so little is a great feeling and something I could never regret in life! I would rather spend money on the experiences that I feel enrich our lives and now we are able to because we learned to let those things go.
I am not suggesting that anyone, including me, should live without the basics in life. Or, that anyone shouldn't enjoy the pleasure one gets from certain goodies. I do suggest, however, that we all can reevaluate what is truly a necessity to, at minimum, better appreciate the extras. What we need and what we want should be viewed as very different because they are. Obviously, electricity and water should not be in the same class as cable, DVR, or caller ID.
I think the first thing to remember is to start small! Don't let yourself become overwhelmed by trying to do it all right away. And focus only on what works for you! I would have had a very hard time going from all my things down to where we are now, living out of backpacks, in less than the time it took us (6 years or so). We had spent our lives feeling a great sense of security wrapped up in our belongings. The thought of living without these belongings gave me a sense of loss. It is not something I would do all at once.
Now we see that with less stuff comes less responsibility, worry, and stress. By ridding your life of these things there seems to be more time and energy for what really matters; family, love, and experiences. You will never sit on your deathbed wishing you had more things, or regret that you didn’t have a nicer car or that new cell phone. But if you don’t start living a truly purposeful life today, you may ultimately wish you made more time for family, and that you experienced more of what the universe has to offer.
See what other travelling families had to say about living with less:
Windwalker Duo http://1dad1kid.com/?p=849 Living Better With Less
The Nomadic Family http://www.thenomadicfamily.com
Tripping Mom Less stuff, more life http://www.trippingmom.com/less-stuff-more-life/
New life on the road http://www.newlifeontheroad/Living-The-Simple-Lifestyle-But-Still-Would-Love-One-Thing
Living Outisde of the Box - http://livingoutsideofthebox.com/2011/11/21/living-without/
A King's Life: Living with Less & Spoiling Ourselveshttp://www.akingslife.com/2011/11/living-with-less-spoiling-ourselves/
Heather Greenwood Davis : Globetrotting Mama - http://globetrottingmama.com/living-without-the-stuff/
With 2 kids in tow: After 10 Months of Living With Less http://with2kidsintow.blogspot.com/2011/11/after-10-months-of-living-with-less.htm
Family on Bikes : Living with less: What can you ditch?http://familyonbikes.org/blog/2011/11/living-with-less-what-can-you-ditch
Miro's post: Living without the norm-http://www.raisingmiro.com/2011/11/21/living-without-the-norm/
A minor diversion: http://minordiversion.com/2011/11/what-weve-learnt-to-live-without
CarriedontheWind: Living Without http://www.carriedonthewind.com/2011/11/living-without.html
Livin On The Road: Living Without ... http://www.livinontheroad.com.au/blog/living-without.html
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