A friend inspired me to write this post when she told me how rude I was, shoving people in the streets of Tokyo. “You do that in France, they will kill you!” Mmmh. So I guess this is what happens when you live in Asia too long…
Things go wrong. It’s a fact of life -either you live in your hometown or you’re traveling around the world. Ok, maybe you’ve got less risk to get attacked by a Komodo dragon in your backyard than in Borneo.
Dreams. They are the essence of life, we all need them. But why should they have to stay in a state of fiction forever? Unless your dream is to walk on the Moon, you've got to believe ANYTHING is possible. Your only limit is you. And all you need to make that dream happen is a plan. And a deadline.
You've just spent weeks or months abroad, being stimulated everyday by new experiences, then suddenly you have to go back to your old life. It sometimes seems so fade in comparison! It's not always easy*, but you can survive it!
It all started when we told our friends and family back in France that we were expecting, last spring. "So when are you moving back to France?". Or -even better- "Oh, so you're done traveling now. You've enjoyed it for long enough anyway!". We've been overwhelmed by theories for months -and it's not over yet. Some questions are ridiculous, some annoying, but mostly, it's a lot of fun listening to all of that.
So here it is: having a baby abroad, the best of the worst we've heard!
There's the big white puffy dress, the flowers, the fancy food and of course, the hundred plus guests you have to invite. And then there's the champagne. Besides the financial part, there's the whole organization...
We spend half our life working to earn money, so we can spend our free time spending that money on things we don't need. Things that end up make us feel suffocated. Rooted. Imprisoned. Imagine if tomorrow you were to wake up owning just a few things -only the things you really need and love. It’s kind of exhilarating, isn’t it? Can living with less make you happier?
At some point between our six months road trip in New Zealand and our life being constantly on the road, long-term travel has turned us into minimalists. Or so we thought. Since we settled down in Hong Kong, we've started to accumulate a bunch of crap we don't need. Last year, I stumbled upon Marie Kondo's brilliant book "The life changing magic of tidying up" and started to declutter following her mantra : keep only the items that spark joy. And it felt INCREDIBLE. So good I decided to take it to the next level. That's when I discovered that documentary about the important things... [photos ©TheMinimalists]
Can living with less really make you happier? Let's talk minimalism!
minimalism: the recipe to happiness?
Adopting a minimalist lifestyle is as simple as it sounds. It's a zen-living where you own less materials and objects, only to focus on LIVING life. We often create attachments to inanimate objects, making them seem like they represent something big -when they don't. We think the more we have, the happier we'll be.
The truth is, living with only the bare essentials does not provide only superficial benefits such as the pleasure of a tidy home, it also lead to a more fundamental shift. Getting rid of the clutter in your life creates more opportunities for you to pursue your passions. For me, that means traveling, running, creating more and consuming less. Attachment to too many things create clutter and can block our freedom to do whatever we want, whereas minimalism helps us start new projects.
My experience : living out of a backpack for years
Living out of a backpack changes you. First, there's the packing situation -it always feels extreeemely difficult the first time, letting go so many things. How could I throw this away? And what if I need that one day? Then you realize what really matters. After six months on the road with only a few outfits, a tiny computer, my notebook, camera and watercolors, I didn't miss the things I left behind. Actually, I didn't care at all. Life was suddenly so easy. It felt right being so light, free from any clutter.
I thought coming back home and retrieve all my belongings would make me feel happy. To soon realize it didn't. If my stuff was a reflection of life, my life seemed to be filled with junk. Thus began the purge...
the purge : less is more!
It's crazy how sometimes you think accumulating things makes you happy, when actually, getting rid of possessions brings you a lightness and joy that's hard to name. I'm not saying you should throw away everything you own. In fact, I love Marie Kondo's philosophy: only keep things that bring you JOY. Because that's what life is about, isn't it? The pursuit of happiness.
Once the clutter is done, try not to give a meaning to possessions anymore, learn to avoid excess and adopt the 'one in, one out' rule.
about the important things -by the minimalists
Here's the trailer of a brilliant documentary examining many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less. - The film is now available online.
Leaving everything behind to go travel the world was the best decision I ever made. Getting out of my comfort zone wasn't easy -but that wasn't the hardest part. The most difficult is to come back in what used to be your comfort zone to realize how traveling ruined your life. Because nothing has changed. Well... except you.
We're all in the pursuit of happiness -but we can't live in the past or the future. Happiness is right where you are, in every moment. There is NO EXCUSES not to be happy RIGHT NOW. Because time doesn't wait for anyone... So, how to change that? Here's 10 ways to be happy everyday, no matter where you are, so that you're all set for a stellar 2016!
I know it's scary. Even though you think you're ready, you have this thing that holds you back. THE FEAR. What keeps us from living our lives and achieving our dreams. The most commun reason why people don't travel.
Dropping everything to travel the world does take some courage. But you know what? You won't be the first person doing it. We've all been scared, lost and panicked at some point. As J. Berryman said, we must travel in the direction of our fear.
Which Meike did. She left her comfort zone in Germany to start her own company and move to Hong Kong. Today, she shares with us her 5 tools and tactics to overcome the fear of change.
According to all these travelers, travel should change my life. -Come on, it's just a trip. I will be back in six months, and I'll take back my life riiight where I left it. At least, that's what I thought. Then, once arrived in New Zealand, people kept telling me it was “just the beginning“.
If you're asking yourself why in the world you'd leave friends, habits & comfort for the unknown, well, here's the answer: this is NOT just a trip. It changes everything. The way you see life. Your definition of happiness. Your priorities. Your dreams. Your future.
That's a strange impression. I feel like I'm on a small aircraft, on my way to skydive. I'm tempted to jump, but still measuring the risks with this blend of fright and excitement. So many reasons not to jump. After all, isn't a dream supposed to stay what it is -fictive?
One day, someone should explain me where this paradoxical fear of happiness comes from. The door opens. I jump. The Earth is stunning, from here! I forgot my fears in the plane, dazzled. Every sensation is magnified tenfold. I'm alone, in the other side of the world, gone for the solo trip that made me dream for so long...
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything but they make the best of everything they have.”
Forget about the long & unrealistic list of resolutions you won't keep. Let's talk about a Happiness Bucketlist.
"If you're not where your want to be, if you don't have what you want to have, if you're not where you think you should be at this particular point, it has nothing to do with the system but it has everything to do with the fact that you're not making the sacrifices. Make your dream become a reality, because if you don't you'll be working for somebody else to make their dreams become a reality."
Sometimes project is so big, so fuzzy and so scary that you simply don't want to contemplate it at all. But you can do something about that, and you can do it right now.