At the very start of ALOR, we noticed something right away. The idea that changing your life is entirely possible and getting rid of stuff helps, rang a bell with people. If you’ve found minimalism on your mind lately, thinking you’re ready for a change, then maybe it’s time… for a vacation.
One of our goals with ALOR is to shed light on how travel, can be a gateway, a passport if you will, to change. We recently had the chance to explore travel as a catalyst for minimalism with Veronika and Fabian from The Elementarist. Who better to ask how to become a minimalist, than the couple behind a magazine dedicated to minimalism.
(POST UPDATE: I’m sorry to say the Elementarist is no longer running. Because I believe their information is still valid, I’ve left their post live on ALOR.blog.)
Hi, we are Veronika and Fabian. German, Russian, French, and somewhat Australian and Chinese. Two travelers that became minimalists along their journeys and eventually met in front of a Coca-Cola Christmas Truck one evening.
In the past 10 years, we have traveled and lived in more than 60 countries all across North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. At the moment we are going back and forth between Germany and Asia. This long journey has been a unique experience for us. During this time we had the chance to discover different ways of living and learn what is truly important to us. It was a great training for us to set up a framework for simple living.
Becoming a Minimalist
Were you always minimalists?
Our journey into minimalism started about a decade ago. Probably before we realized what it was. Or had a word for it. It grew inside of us with each new journey and each new experience we made on our trips. And then one day, it had a name: minimalism.
What does minimalism mean to you?
We understand minimalism as an individual mindset. A process, not some ideal state to achieve. A mindset that values time over money, which is and always will be our most scarce resource.
We also see minimalism as the appreciation of simplicity. Simplicity in art, design, technology or other areas. Because what is simple, is usually the result of a long and complex process, with the goal to create something of true value. Finally, we also see minimalism as a possible futurist approach to living a life in a post-consumerist world that we might achieve someday.
The Elementarist On Minimalism
Why did you start The Elementarist?
It actually took us quite a long time before starting The Elementarist. There were two main reasons. More and more people started asking us “why” we were living like we do and then quickly turned to “how?” Secondly, we felt that there is a common misconception about minimalism. When we talked to people about minimalism, many thought it was about un-cluttering a wardrobe, living with as little as possible. Nice to read about but not applicable for most people.
We believe that minimalism is individual and for everybody. We wanted to make it more accessible to people by demystifying it and broadcasting its diversity. So we decided the best way to do this would be an online magazine, open to anyone that is interested. This is how it started: The Elementarist.
What can someone expect to see on The Elementarist?
The Elementarist is a minimalist lifestyle magazine that covers minimalist living, design, and technology celebrating simplicity. It is curated by a team of editors that live and apply minimalism differently and does not promote one single idea of minimalism. Neither does it preach for deprivation nor give a blueprint to minimalism. We are about discovery the beauty and inspiration in the diversity of minimalism for our readers.
Through our conversations, we’ve talked about how many people who travel frequently, veer towards minimalism. Is it a gateway?
Yes, we believe that there is a very strong link. Traveling was our way into minimalism and keeps being a central element of our life hand in hand with minimalism. We do not preach for minimalism. But we have to admit that we kind of speak up for traveling.
We believe everybody should travel. As long and as often as possible (all-inclusive hotels don’t count!) There’s not much out there that can teach you as much as traveling does. And if you plan on becoming a minimalist traveling is probably one of the best things you can do.
Not only because you learn to live with less and only what you can carry. But because it opens your eyes to the world. It makes you discover the multitude of lifestyles existing far away from consumerism. It makes you appreciate time more. It challenges your assumptions. Travel makes you reduce your life’s complexity for the sake of living more.
Let’s fast forward to the sad day when a vacation is over. Is there a way to extend a travel mindset into your everyday living to continue a newfound connection to minimalism?
Traveling can be a trigger, a necessity, a trainer and an expression of minimalism. As such we believe that traveling and minimalism are very closely interlinked. In our definition of minimalism, of course. Thus, when reading our magazine, you will always find sparks of our passion for traveling in our words.
Travel Is A Ticket to Minimalism
When it comes to extending that beautiful travel mindset to the first Monday in office we would suggest a few things.
1. Don’t come back with tons of “From Monday on I will…”. Don’t overdo it, don’t resolve to change too much. Minimalism is all about baby steps. Remember that it is a continuous process, not a state you want to jump into as quickly as possible.
2. Start thinking indefinite periods. In your vacation, you know that the journey will be over on a certain day. So you start planning backward to do as much as you can in a given time. Apply this thinking back home too. Fix a date and start planning what you want to do until this day. It will make you enjoy your time way more intensively, just like during your vacation.
3. Have a look at your belongings in the first week after your return. You will look differently at what you own. What did you actually miss during your vacation? The week after your vacation is the perfect time to get rid of some stuff you might not need after all.
4. Don’t do it alone. Talk to your partner and your friends that you have been traveling with. Or, if you have been traveling alone, try finding someone to share your thoughts with. Minimalism is a long and sometimes difficult way. You will make it easier and more enjoyable if you are not going the way alone.
Hopefully, you’re not too sad when your vacation is over. If you are, it might be time to reconsider everyday life. Only to enjoy your vacation time would be a pity, wouldn’t it?
Thank you, Veronika and Fabian, for sharing your own story and your insight into how to become a minimalist. Where can our readers get more of your tips to start their own journey?
If you want to learn more you are more than welcome to visit us on our website: elemetarist.com. We also warmly invite you to join our weekly digest, because we are preparing some great surprises for our community. But: enough of self-promotion now, go and buy a ticket for your next journey now!