on minimalist motivations

A question that I often ask myself is why on earth am I leading a minimalist lifestyle? Why don’t I just settle down in a nice town, get my own apartment, a steady job and live like a normal person?

The answer is simple, I don’t want to be normal.

I want to travel. I want to see the world.  I want to go to places people don’t go, meet people that have stories to tell, see things with my own eyes, not from the other side of a TV screen.

I want to grab a backpack, climb mountains, hike through forests, camp under the stars, explore. I want to get on a bike and ride my way across highways, along rivers, through small towns and beside farmland as as far as the eye can see.

On my travels I want to help people who need real help, real action, not just cash thrown at them. I want to make a positive impact on every single soul I meet on the road.

Minimalism is my means of doing that, which is why it’s so important to me. Without it, I can’t do it.

Do you have to travel to have achieved something? Of course not, this is just my dream. You can fulfill your dreams right in your hometown if you want to, the point is that you do it. It sounds simple enough, but you’ll be surprised at how many dreams get pushed aside for mortgages, debt and nice shoes.

when fear is good

I thought my biggest motivation was the want to travel. But now I realize, travel is only the answer to my biggest fear. I’m afraid that I’ll grow old and waste my life. I’m afraid that I’ll look back and wonder why I didn’t do something worthwhile when I had the chance. I’m scared that I’ll miss great opportunities because I followed what people told me to do instead of deciding on my own.

I’m scared that I won’t make a real difference.

Travelling around the world might sound like a fantasy for some people, but to them I say it doesn’t sound possible because they’re too wrapped up in watching reruns on TV from being tired from working too much to fund all of their spending habits.

I’m not living to work or to buy things, I’m living to live. That’s my motivation.

What’s yours?

PS. I just wanted to personally thank everyone who donated, your kindness and support means so much to me! Also, if you still want to contribute, you can do so on the homepage. Thank you again!

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  • Rodrigo F. Pereira

    When I think about living with less, I usually am motivated by two basic ideas: being happier and making other people happier. By living with less, I worry less, spend less and enjoy more what is really important. And I feel that by doing this I contribute to a healthier society, which benefits other people.

    • Hey Rodrigo, that’s such a wonderful way of thinking about it! It makes me what kind of world we’d be living in if more people thought like this. 🙂

  • Jessica, sounds like you’re feeling passionate today. “Living to live”. That is the point, isn’t it? Love your energy and desire for travel. You are already making a difference. xo

    • Hey Katie, thank you, your comments mean a lot to me!

  • My minimalist motivation is that I only have so much time, and I want to spend it doing the things that I WANT. I don’t want to spend my life conforming to society’s expectations of my life. Minimalism is the method I use to get what I want out of life, and make time for the things I enjoy.

    I’m also very interested in the political/sociological/environmental effects of minimalism.

  • Abby

    “I want to go to places people don’t go, meet people that have stories to tell, see things with my own eyes, not from the other side of a TV screen.”

    Me too! That’s why I’m on my way to being (sort of) minimalist as well.

    • Hey Abby, I’m glad we have that in common! I hope you’ll like my posts about travel then 🙂

  • Hi!
    I’m always reading your blog, and I feel so motivated with minimalist that I started a blog to help me being a minimalist. Of course I’m not as you, cause I just started it now, but I’m trying to change my life. In my blog I write about my routine and the things I’m doing for the change, but it’s in portuguese language. If you want to read, you can translate it in google. =)

    Garota Zen in portuguese language (I’m brazilian) means Zen Girl.

    My minimalist motivation is to feel free, i don’t know how to explain, but every time I get rid of stuff, I feel a good sensation, and get inspired.

    I love travelling too, and I like zen buddhism as you.

    Congratulations for the excellent blog.

    • Thank you Camile for you comment, I’ll be sure to check out your blog too!

      • Camile

        Jessica, thanks for your reply! My blog has a new adress now, its VidaMinimalista.com

        Hugs from Brazil! 😀

  • Andre

    Although it’s difficult to describe my way of life in one word, I would choose minimalism. Simply put, “normal” living, i.e. living according to society’s expectation, doesn’t work for me well. However, living the minimalist way is pretty normal for me.

    I think no one should base his or her life upon fear even though you can tap that energy for directing your life in the right direction. Interestingly, I read lately that most people regret not doing something more than trying them out and failing – how true… To conclude: Just do it!

    Thank you for making a difference in my life.

    • Hi Andre, thank you for your lovely comment. You’re so right, life shouldn’t be based on fear, it should push you in the right direction, and after that it’s up to you! Also, what an interesting idea, somehow I don’t find it difficult to believe – “better to have tried and failed than to have not tried at all”, right? 🙂

  • For me, the motivation has to do with the environment. I took a course in conservation biology this past semester, and it really opened my eyes to the over consumption of goods.

    I suppose this is my own way to do my part since the real changes that need to be made are on a governmental level (and i have no interest in becoming a politician)

    • Hey Jayme, I really admire your approach, I too know how you feel – I’m not interested in getting into politics, so I just like to know that at least I’m doing my part. I just wish that everybody else felt similar, then real changes can be made without having to deal with the government!

  • Jessica, great post – and great blog. My family and I are in the process of minimalizing our lifestyle. For the last 5 years, we have moved all over the place anyway. Through various job changes and moves from one part of the country to another, we have come to realize just how meaningless most of our possessions are. We try to live for the moments and experiences, not just what we can own.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Bryan for your wonderful comment, I wish you the best of luck!

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  • Giusy

    Jessica…i am without words..what you write is what i think and what i want to do in my life!! I want to live according to the nature and to my thoughts. I don’t want that others decide for me..i wanna be free!!! As Luinae says, i want spend time doing what i want, not what others and society want!!! I will follow your blog ’cause it’s very interesting! I know that’s very difficult to start this type of livin’..but i want to try! Sorry for the bad english, i’m an italian girl!! :-)))


    • Hey Giusy, don’t worry your English is perfect! It’s so good to meet another free spirit, thank you for your comment!

  • Everyone is living their own life, theres not such thing as society’s expectations.

    You are minimalist because you want to be different, not to be like others etc. So everything you need is others attention and feedback? You are not the one you actually are but the one you let others make you. So you are not free. May be i’m wrong.

    And thats your motivation to travel, to be minimalist – do my lifestyle have meaning for others, what i need to do to make them happy. Am I important to them etc. Ask yourself are you happy because you are happy or you want be happy, make yourself happy. I cant explain myself but making yourself happy is always related to others. But thats not the way to find minimalism inside you. Think who are you to yourself.

    Or ask yourself why you cant be ‘normal’. Or are you travelling because YOU feel good, or you feel good telling about your travels to others, your travel have meaning for others etc.

    Btw doing things because you need others feedback and therefor feel pleasure (happiness) is not wrong 🙂

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