What is Simplicity?
The concept of simplicity is being used increasingly often today. This term, along with minimalism, is even becoming a trend. But what is it and what does it mean?
Simplicity, in the Simplest Terms
Simplicity is being simple. It is a relative term. This is what it means to us:
– We don’t really like luxury.
– We don’t shop often or for fun, just for necessities.
– Our hobbies are cheap or free (i.e. hiking)
– We don’t own a T.V.
– We don’t go out to eat often.
– We use hand-me-downs & shop at thrift stores.
– We do a lot of DIY projects.
– We Recycle Reprupose Re-use.
– We literally live out of our car or a tent.
– We owned a cabin once, it was about 700 sq. ft. & we thought that was too much space for us.
We Aren’t “Trendy” Minimalists
You know how trends are – they come and go. There are a lot of complex reasons why minimalism is becoming a quest for many people – distance from the eternal consumption engine, environmental concern and symptoms, pairing with other like trends or maybe even just something to do. Some folks strive really hard to be “perfect” minimalists. Either way, I must say, it’s a pretty good trend. We really hope more people are motivated by our stories to at least try to be more minimalistic and simple. That’s the key here. You don’t need to be perfect unless youre doing this as a trend. If you’re more serious about it then any effort is better than none.
We aren’t really trendy anything but we certainty don’t belong to a group here. We aren’t perfect. We aren’t extreme minimalists. We do what’s right for us at the time.
Why Do We Want to Be Simple?
Okay. Fair question. I just got done telling you we don’t do this as a trend, we’re serious, and we’re not perfect. Why bother? Well, believe it or not, we kind of just are simple people. This makes it easier to be more simple. For instance, we’d much rather be outside hiking or working on some project than sitting indoors watching T.V. or playing a game. We don’t drink much. Neither one of us has too much infatuation with “stuff” (aside from Heather’s rock collection, maybe). We just build on this. So, we try to make less and less waste every day. But again this is where imperfection comes in. We’re not zero waste people. We just try really hard to be near zero waster people! This includes things like not doing wash often, putting our stuff in reusable bags and containers. Not only is that less garbage for the planet but it’s also less stuff for us to have to deal with. When you live on the road, your garbage is way more obvious.
So, here’s the top reasons why we are simple. It’s pretty much the selfish and the non-selfish reasons:
– Environment: Arguably the top reason for our quest to be more minimalistic is our contribution to the environment. This is our “non-selfish” reason. Along our travels and adventures we’ve seen some amazing natural places. We’ve stepped foot in what could be one of the closest true wilderness landscapes in North America. We’ve caught glimpses of many amazing species. We’ve seen environmental degradation from high in the mountains and shed tears for this loss.
– Mental Health: In a close tie with the environment is our more selfish cause for minimalism. Yes, we’re selfishly seeking simplicity. There’s plenty of research that constantly points to the benefits of being outdoors, getting exercise and having less stuff and less stress. These are all the results of being the simple folk that we are. Typical modern lives are full of extreme levels of luxury and garages full of stuff we didn’t even know we had. Having less stuff means we have more space to appreciate each other. We are one another’s entertainment. Being outside, hiking, laughing, and enjoying the present moment is all a part of this. We’re really happy and authentic, so we can vouch that it does work. You’d be amazed at how good it feels when you don’t have a plan and you are really flexible as to the next adventure. When you don’t have to worry about sticking in a bad job because social or financial pressures.
– Physical Health: Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. I noted mental health first because I do believe it is the most important. If you’re mentally well your physical shape will follow. We are motivated, energetic and always seeking new adventures. Life for us is never bland or stagnant. We move ourselves out of our own comfort zones all the time and find fresher better versions of us on the other side, every time. Our hobbies include a lot of hiking. This gets us into the quiet wilderness where our physical and mental well-being can maximize together. Ah, life is good.
– Dogs (& Kids): We have dogs and dogs just want to have fun. They want to be outside, with their humans, as much as possible. Living on the road means this is really easy and our dogs get new adventures all the time. They love all of the hiking and we feel really good knowing that their mental and physical health is also in top shape. I put “kids” in parenthesis – why? Well, our dogs are our kids. We don’t have human kids. However, we feel strongly that this lifestyle could be achieved by people who have kids. We hear a lot of comments from parents regarding the impossible nature of our lifestyle given kids. We completely disagree. In fact, I’d argue that having kids is an even stronger reason for being more simple. There’s an education from nature and simplicity that can be gained nowhere else. Kid’s don’t need T.V.s, video games, sports, and new toys. Nature has provided a playground that offers visual and physical stimulation that our brains are wired to explore. Children growing up today with less stuff are more likely to appreciate the simple things and be future pioneers of our crippled environment.
– Relationships: Our relationship is stronger and brighter thanks to simplicity. Instead of purchasing an expensive diamond wedding ring, we lived on the road for 6 months together. We had 24/7 together in all the coolest places we could find. We’ve spent a full day of rain in the back our our SUV home, just chatting and laughing. It was fun. Being stuck in a car in the rain was. . . FUN! Simplicity makes us more authentic. We’re not dazzled in costumes of who we want to be. We’re just who we are. Which means that we see each other and love each other authentically. It also means that, not just our relationship, but our relationships with others are more authentic. In this world of acquaintances and 5,000 Facebook friends you don’t really know, it feels good to build authentic relationships.
– Financial Freedom: In the words of Ed Shereen, ‘Everybody’s talking bout expenditure growth and the stock market crashing and their portfolios but I’ll be sitting here with a song that I wrote saying love can change this world in a moment, but what do I know?” This is definitely how we feel! I’m not going to say we haven’t been financially smart but neither one of us had lots of money. It would be easy if we did! We’d probably upgrade our car home and buy the dogs more steaks! Funny thing, though: we had this conversation not long ago and couldn’t come up with much that we’d do different given tons of money. That’s how we know we’re happy with what we’re doing. Seriously, though, if you don’t have tons of money, living on the road is an incredible option. You break away from the everyday life that pushes us towards buying stuff we don’t need. We don’t have a lot, but the things we do have we have purchased wisely. Having less stuff means having less debt. Having less debt means that paycheck you get goes towards the basics – food mostly. We have no mortgage. Our gas is variable and water is generally free. Imagine how easy it is to pay off that car home when there’s no other debt in your life. The stuff we do have is either one of two: (1) super duper cheap because we got it for free or from a thrift store, or (2) rather pricey because we will take good care of it, use it every day and don’t want a disposable item for this purpose. While being stationary at the cabin in Idaho you could look around at most of our stuff and much of it we got for free or made ourselves. The few things we’ve paid for include books from the thrift store at 50 cents apiece. Okay, so few things, low cost, less debt, little stress. That’s freedom.