I'm always thinking about minimalism. A lot of why I think about it is because I have both very minimalistic tendencies as well as some on the opposite side of the spectrum. That sits well with me, because I consider it cause for alarm when one subscribes entirely to the dogma of any group. It's a sign of not thinking for oneself.
So I think a lot about that balance. Am I becoming too minimalist? Am I swinging too far in the other direction? What's right for me?
A common thread for me is to think about what will make my life the simplest. That doesn't mean that I'll have the fewest possessions or fewest relationships or fewest responsibilities, it just means that I'll remove barriers from my life. I try to think a lot about what I want my life to look like, what will enable me to do the most, and how to minimize friction on that path.
For example, I only wear one outfit. This simplifies my life drastically as I never have to choose what to wear, laundry is always quick and easy and can be done in a sink if necessary, etc. With the exception of trying out new gear (which is both my hobby and business), I must think about clothing less than almost anyone.
At the same time, I'm in the process of setting up home bases around the world. We're closing on a place here in Budapest next week, which makes home base number four for me. In some ways that's the antithesis of minimalism. Four homes!
And yet it does make my life easier. Next month I'll fly from Budapest to Halifax to visit the island, to Vegas, to San Francisco. All four home bases in a row. The island and Budapest are obviously still works in progress, but in each of the four places I have good healthy restaurants to go to, good workspaces, etc. In each place it feels like home, so I can easily be productive, enjoy myself, and have a very different inspiring experience.
I think very long term on these things. Right now I'm jumping through bureaucratic Magyar hoops to get this place purchased, but for the rest of my life I'll have a home base for Europe. Any time I'm on the continent I can take a cheap flight home and be right in my normal routine. Best of all, I'm buying it with a small group of friends, so I've made it easier for me to spend time with my friends in Europe.
Minimalism is also a state of mind. Despite trying to maximize my options, I mentally condition myself to need as few of them as possible. I want to give myself a lot of flexibility, but to be able to perform well even when my flexibility is constricted. Can I be happy and productive with just my backpack anywhere? Can I have many friends around the world, but function well in isolation as well?
I think it's easy to get caught in the weeds of minimalism, reducing everything to an extreme. Sometimes that's a good thing because it forces you to see where your comfort zone is and push past it a little bit. But I think it's more valuable to think about what it means practically to you, what you want to get out of being minimalist, and what the best route to that destination is.
Photo is a garden in Margaret Island in Budapest!
4 homes, wow. I have only 1 (1 room flat) and I got it by my grandmother last will.. It's in Odessa, Ukraine. But last 6 years I live in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. It's because I have moved to my wife. And now we with our children live in a one badroom flat which was bought by her parents for us. Of course with mortgage. So, that's how live of exp. dev looks like in Russia.
I write this information about myself just to show difference and express how I'm amazed about what you have..
I would love to know more about the logistics of owning all these places. For example do you all share your place in Europe like a timeshare? How do you work out utilities for all these places? Where do you park your RV in SF, it is safe? How often do you spend in all your homes? How often are they empty? Also would love to hear more about the logistics of you flying so often. Like what is your preferred way of stacking miles? How and when do you decide to fly? How do you stay productive in airports and on airplanes?
Basically I love the philosophy but really interested in the day to day logistics of your life, I feel like myself and others can learn a lot from it to draw upon for our own adventures.
+1. Posts on this blog over the last... 3-4 years? have become almost all philosophical/theoretical, and not as practical. This isn't a criticism, just an observation. There used to be a more of a balance between practical posts and philosophical ones. A good "practical" post on logistics (I'm especially interested in the "share with friends" part) would be awesome! :)
I wanted to ask you the same questions, but Wayne beat me to it. I am very curious. I have been thinking of doing the same thing. I have one daughter in Utah and another in Switzerland and a son in Los Angeles. I have been considering getting a home in each of these spots. "Home" may vary. For instance, I planned to share a home in Utah with my daughter and then have her rent it out on Airbnb while I travel. Would love to know how you do it and how you managed to get a home in Europe. I would love a home in or near Switzerland, but it is expensive enough if I lived there full time. Using it part time would be crazy (sort of). My daughter is a dual citizen, but I only have U.S. Citizenship. Looking forward for your response.
That's pretty different from what I do. All of my spots are so inexpensive that I can leave them vacant all the time and not worry about it.
I do think that if you have the up-front capital and get serious about AirBnb you could make it work, but that's definitely outside my area of expertise. It would also make me a little bit nervous, knowing that if AirBnb goes away or changes things or local laws change I'm on the hook for an expensive place
When I was a kid, I had flannel blankets. Blue and green, if my memory's accurate. My bedroom had big french doors to the outside that made my room cold when it was winter. Even before computers, I was a night owl. My parents would make me go to bed at ten, I'd crawl into my flannel sheets, I'd swish around to get them warm, and then I'd stare at the ceiling and think.
That was some of my favorite time. I loved going to bed and thinking until my thoughts became nonsensical and I fell asleep.
I liked to come up with ideas. That's where I had the idea to build a toaster onto the back of my bike. It's where I had the idea to make a mini-carnival in my neighborhood. It's where I had all sorts of other ideas that didn't happen. I loved coming up with ideas because anything was possible in my cozy bed, and some of those things were even possible the next day when I woke up.
Then the computer came, and I stopped thinking at night. I was still a night owl, but then I had games to play. And I was on AOL, so I had information coming in, other people's thoughts.
This next post is going to be the introduction to a four-part series highlighting the habits I've adopted to keep me sane.
Part I: Get Rid of Your Shit
Part II: Be Conscious of Your Partaking
Part III: Oh, The Magical World of Hummus
Part IV: Kick People Out of Your Life