If I Think Like a Minimalist and do Like a Minimalist, am I a Minimalist?


I have never called myself a minimalist, but the topic was raised not long back about digital nomads and long term travellers leading minimalistic lives.


Why Could I be Considering Myself a Minimalist?


– I do tend to own very few things

Not as a rule, or even a conscious thought to do so. I naturally end up owning less stuff than most people for two reasons; I generally get more stressed out when my cupboards and wardrobe are full of things. I do not enjoying shopping and only shop when I need something replaced.

– I only ever carry around with me my 15kg of personal belongings

This is purely situational. I managed to pack everything into my bag which at first weighed around 17kg/18kg. After considering all the $100s of extra baggage charges that would accumulate after some years of travelling, I decided to take a few things out.

– I usually live in rooms which have white or plain walls and with no decoration

This is partly because now I move house on average every six weeks and see no point in decorating, but thinking back, I have always lived like this. The clean walls somehow clear my mind and enable much more free, creative thinking.

– I believe in working smarter, not longer

Over said by some perhaps, but this is something I have always preferred. I would much rather concentrate on what is neccessary and do it to the best of my ability than juggle and spend my life being busy.

– The music I mostly listen to is very err… uncluttered

Not that I even notice until I hear somebody else’s music recommendations. On listening, my first thought is usually “Wow, that is a lot of sound!”

– I have always seen busy-ness as a sign of weakness rather than a sign of achieving

As opposed to the traditional view that if you are not constantly busy, then you are not putting enough effort into something. I have always seen busy-ness as a signal that there is something wrong. Is there not somebody else who could help you?

– On our websites and blogs, I prefer an uncluttered, clear and easy to digest design (which, yes, some like to call a minimal design)

This is just my preference mixed with a bit of visual ergonomics.

– I tend to wear lots of plain white t-shirts

What can I say? I spend a lot of my time in  hot climates and being from England, this makes me sweat quite a lot. Wearing colours only makes this more obvious to people in my presence. I don’t really have a choice. I’m not sure if it helps my case at all, but when I’m at home I’m always topless.

You’re Obviously a Minimalist Dave, You Have Ticked Every Box!

I cannot argue that I have many similarities with individuals who call themselves minimalists and who swear by it. I am sure many travellers and digital nomads would have a similar list.

The difference is, this type of minimalism is purely accidental.

I make no decisions based on the concept of minimalism.

I didn’t choose my minimalistic design on this website because it was minimal. I chose it because it was easier to read, there is much more focus on the content and because it looks clearer on different mobile devices.

I didn’t choose to not to have a wardrobe full of clothes because it was cool and minimalistic to do so. I genuinely hate shopping and try to avoid it if possible. This also makes it easy for nearly all my belongings to fit nicely into a relatively small bag.

Am I a Minimalist?

I can see how some would consider me to be a minimalist, but only in relation how they live their lives.

I probably own and spend much less than they do and the fact that I have the design and musical preferences the way I do is just the icing on the cake for their side of the debate.

Personally though, I think no. Usually I don’t give minimalism a second thought. How can I belong to a belief or a way of life which I don’t even think about?

My conclusion is that to be an [anything]-ist is all a bit silly. You may have a few characteristics which are similar to other people, but it never should be a reason to blindly stick to a certain way of life. You should be free to break rules, even if they are rules you somehow have given yourself to live by.

How About You?

Are you a traveller? Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

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Reader Interactions


  1. says

    You yourself said it.

    Minimalism less a belief or set of rules to be followed than a preferred way of doing things. Much like being left or right-handed, one may evolve or grow into minimalism because it seems somehow easier or better. Of course, one may also learn to practice minimalism, like some natural right handers may learn to bat left handed because they believe it confers an advantage in certain situations.

    Whether by preference, choice, or economic necessity, minimalism is distinguished by its characteristics. If an animal is white like a duck, waddles like a duck, swims like a duck, has a bill like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. Even so, if you persist in doing minimalist things, you’re a minimalist whether you appropriate the label for yourself or not.

    • Dave Erin says

      Perhaps your right. If my habits lean that way then perhaps, at the moment at least, I could be called a minimalist. Consciously though, I feel I am following more of an ‘optimum’ path. I find myself making more decisions based on which I feel is the optimum choice as opposed to what I personally prefer. Sometimes even if I am not happy with a decision I still take it knowing it was the better choice. The 15kg luggage is an example of this. At the time I wasn’t showing off that I had managed to squeeze my life into 15kg, I was annoyed that I couldn’t bring things along but was impressed with my logical decision making which has already saved me $100s over the last year in fees.

    • Dave Erin says

      Hi BW,

      I have no idea, sorry I don’t listen to band music. I had enough of that when I was growing up and now the sound of a guitar tends to go through me like nails on a chalkboard. (A few exceptions of course)

      I always prefer music which involves sounds/instruments that I have never heard before and that you can hear with clarity. Off the top of my head as an example.. Portable – Keep On (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-yU2DAT9kk).

      Or music which has very few instruments but very musical.. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GX_4PgUhYo)

      I am sure there are better examples I could give, but them two sprung to mind :)

  2. Kent Forrest says

    Perhaps you resist the label because you see minimalism in the light of its current trendiness, especially among the blogging class. Remember that minimalism, or simple living, has been around forever. Jesus was a minimalist. And there are many other examples throughout all of history.

  3. Subin says

    My lifestyle has been like this just didn’t know how to define and call it haha
    Thanks for your post 😉

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