My favorite & most memorable experiences have been the ones that are the most nitty gritty & the least “glamorous.”
- The 3 day, $30 “all-inclusive” journey down the Peruvian Amazon River in a cargo ship.
- The overnight volcano hiking trip, in which I hiked up & down two volcanos– one of them erupting at least once per minute. One of the most challenging but rewarding hikes I’ve ever done.
- Stories for future blog posts
These experiences are inspiration for the title of my blog “glamorous or not.”
The other reason for the title is because I want people to know that living a minimalist, traveling life, while fun & rewarding, is not always as glamorous as it seems from an outside perspective.
For me it’s always worth it. It’s doable. & I encourage it.
I’m going to tell you how I save most of my money for travel experiences & only work 6 months per year.
My most challenging step was…
I had to get over what my parents, family. co-workers, friends, & social media might think if I passed up a cushy, salaried job in exchange for a job that allowed me to travel as much I want to, while living on less. In a society that highly prioritizes hard work, stress, & owning things, this was more challenging than I thought it would be.
I had to get over snide remarks whispered by co-workers & acquaintances about how “spoiled” I must be to not have work full time.
I don’t have a magical solution for conquering this step but working with my coach, Cheryl, has helped tremendously! (See previous post.)
Backpacking around the place I “live” and work (Portland)
After moving to Portland with my backpack & a carry-on suitcase last summer, I had no desire to acquire furniture & stuff to deal with later. Instead, I rented temporary, fully furnished housing on Craigslist. Having only the essential belongings made it easy for me to find places to live with housemates for a few months at a time.
I appreciated the ability to pack up & leave whenever I wanted to. If a living situation wasn’t working out, I politely moved on. Renting through Craigslist, I paid less in rent than I would have otherwise. I felt the freedom of not being attached to a lease or mortgage.
When people inquired about my living situation, I responded with “I’m just “backpacking” around Portland until I save enough money to go to South America.”
Making pacts with myself was important, especially starting out
I made 3 pacts with myself.
- I would only buy items that I could wear to work &/or that could go with me traveling.
- If I bought or acquired something, I had to sell or donate a similar item.
- Everything I owned had to fit in my backpack, suitcase, or 1 cardboard box reserved for yoga props & my favorite books.
When you live like this, it forces you to think long & hard about every purchase. I repaired stuff & sold stuff rather than throwing things away. I bought most of my clothes from thrift stores. I loved, appreciated, & got the most use out of everything I owned. I embraced hand-me-down clothes.
Sticking to my pacts, I saved enough money to pack up & leave Portland in mid-December– right on schedule! This time, I did so without the headache of sorting through & getting rid of stuff. I was free to leave on my schedule rather than the schedule of a landlord or lease.
I am lighter now– not just in possessions but in life. I try to tread as lightly as possible & to leave only a very small footprint wherever I go. In this way, I can easily go with the flow of life.
When people criticize my unconventional lifestyle, I can now brush it off rather than let it weigh me down like extra baggage. I can laugh at the comments because I know that these experiences far outweigh the attachment to belongings.
This freedom is priceless.