This is the season for shopping – it’s impossible to escape the marketing overload in December! November is for giving thanks, January is for purging bad habits – and December is for accumulating. Ever since I started traveling, I don’t really do any holiday shopping or give out holiday gifts. Mainly because traveling has taught me one important thing –people (and specifically myself) don’t need 85% of what they think they need. However I understand – it’s fun to give and get gifts – seriously – I am no Grinch. But I have chosen to give experience gifts sort of like what I’m doing for my nieces. I’d rather take them somewhere rather than get them more stuff.
One of the questions I get asked all the time is “How do you do it – how do you travel and support yourself?” One of my strategies is to simply not have much to support which equates to not having much stuff. After my initial career break I came back to the US after 16 months, took one look at my apartment that I had sublet and realized – I didn’t miss any of it. Nothing. So if I didn’t miss it then why keep it – why let it weigh me down.
I decided to get rid of it – free myself and keep traveling and see if it was possible to turn this passion into a career. Over the next 3 months I purged practically everything. I used Craig’s List as my pusher and I watched as things – things that I had worked close to two decades to accumulate – walked out my door so that I could achieve my goals and flexibility.
This is what makes it possible for me to travel – I keep my expenses low by not having a home or much stuff.
Ok – not everyone wants to or needs to be as extreme as me.
But if you are:
• looking to break free of our consumption society
• someone who really wants to save money
• wanting travel more or travel longer term
• looking for a have a flexible location independent lifestyle then having less makes sense.
And quite frankly, after traveling around the world and seeing how other cultures live, I can’t help but think we don’t need all of this stuff. We are conditioned to always want more in our lives and never be satisfied, but I say let’s strive for less.
The Book That Will Get You There
My friends Warren and Betsy Talbot from Married with Luggage decluttered and downsized their life in order to achieve their goal of traveling. They put together their best advice, tips, and methods on how they did it into a book called Getting Rid of It. The book is not simply how to purge EVERYTHING – as they know that people who do that are probably in the minority. It is simply about how to have less – whether it’s 20% less, 50% less or 80% less. I didn’t really have any guidance when I purged my stuff, but I would have loved some as I probably could have made more money and got rid of it quicker!
Getting Rid of It includes:
- Super advice and tips on how to use Craigs List and Ebay to sell things online
- Dissection of each room in your house and tells you how to de-clutter it and get rid of things you aren’t using.
- Detailed weekend projects so that you can feel like you actually accomplished something in a weekend.
- Tips on how to stay motivated and not get sidetracked
- How to mentally approach and downsize sentimental items
- Creative ways to get rid of things and give your items a good home.
My favorite part of the book is when they provide tips and exercises on how to determine what you are using and what is simply taking up space in each room. I could have used this for my big closet full of clothes years ago!
My advice on what to buy this holiday season is simple – buy this book on how to get rid of you excess of stuff. And when you get done with the book – give it away! It’s the gifts that keeps giving!
Getting Rid of It by Betsy and Warren Talbot
Available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback
Cost: $4.99 Kindle $7.99 Paperback
(by the way – I like Warren and Betsy so much that I will be hiking the Lycian Way with them for 5 weeks in November 2013. Want to get rid of your stuff and join us?!)
Product links above are affiliate links; I will earn a small commission from any books purchased.