Jan 062012

Around about this time a year ago, I sat down in front of my MacAir, I wasn’t full into the iPad yet, and logged onto my MasterCard account. I checked off the “Pay in Full” balance, took a deep breath, and pressed the “Pay Now” button. In a flash of electrons, a few nano seconds, I became debt free for the first time in decades. No credit card balance, no car payments, no mortgage, no debt. A week later, after the payment had cleared, I called MasterCard and told a somewhat befuddled “Sales Associate” what they could do with their 25% interest.

A year later, it’s still hasn’t sunk in completely how awesome that all is. To not be sitting here worrying about making another useless wasteful payment on something that I should have paid cash for or gone without. Paying off that damn card was one of the final major hurdles to completing a long long journey from consumerism to minimalism. It was a huge expensive lesson and one of the main inspirations for launching this blog. The rest of the year was just icing on the cake. Getting rid of the last few remnants of useless stuff and finally selling the jeep this past summer and becoming carfree was the culmination of some hard times and a lot of stress, but well worth it.

It hasn’t been all beer and skittles though. It did cost some things I worked hard for and couldn’t hold onto. Namely, my old paddle board business. While it hadn’t exactly started paying off right yet, it was showing signs of growing. I got a bit lazy toward the end and some side issues with my former living arrangements in Key Largo contributed to the downfall. But, what happened is what happened and it’s time to move on. On the upside? Well, I am living Key West. I can live that. Rather cheaply I might add.

But I have found, since I achieved, “Maximus minimalist”, my whole outlook on life has changed considerably. I am finding I don’t want for anything. At least nothing that I can’t eat or wear. (I’m low maintenance ladies!) I got some nice gift cards for BassPro for the holidays and after looking through the online catalog all I need to do is replace some older clothes. Nothing else in there is anything I need. A new bicycle is probably in the works pending some income, but it’s not a vital thing I have to have. The old single speed is holding up just fine although my knees are hurting. A few more speeds might help. But I can get by with what I got for now. I thought maybe a scooter might be a solution but it all goes back to owning something that requires a license, fuel, and being on the streets in traffic. Same with another car. I simply have no need nor desire for another vehicle. It will stay that way as long as I am living in Key West and my health holds up, which I hope will be a very long time.

The current apartment I am living in is more than adequate. A bit noisy but I can deal with it. Sometimes I get the urge though to find a nice little sailboat and go back to living aboard. Or maybe a rv. But I start thinking about all the maintenance, a place to keep it, all the extras you need to keep a boat or rv running, and you know what? I don’t want to deal with it right now. When you own stuff, particularly big expensive stuff, you worry about it. Does it need fixing? What if it gets stolen? What about keeping it safe in a storm? Oh, I may change my mind someday. I’ll be walking down the street past the sailboat shop and that cute little 27 ft sloop will be there in the window looking at me, wagging its tail, but for now, life is extremely simple and I am enjoying it. The biggest decisions I have to make on a daily basis are what to have for dinner and what the hell am I going to write about next on the blogs. But they are small problems compared to the old days of wondering how I was going to pay off some debt or take care of my shit.

My only concern now is obtaining an income. It’s been slow going trying to find something with the holidays and all but that’s a temporary setback. The blogs aren’t doing anything money wise yet, (ya bunch of cheap bastards, click a link now and then will ya?), but I expected that to take time. I enjoy the blogging and I hope you who are reading it are enjoying it too. The important thing is I ain’t distracted by debt or possessions allowing me more time to devote to the Fritter fleet.

So, if you have come across this blog in your own sailing adventure through the minimalist waters, I welcome you and invite you to take a look through the archives of the Manatee Fritter, my virtual sailboat. You can read in more detail some of the stuff I went through to get to a minimalist point in my life. It twern’t easy, but it was well worth it. I can now speak with some experience that a minimalist lifestyle is well worth it. You should try it and see for yourself.

Keep it simple. Keep it easy. Less is more.

Capt. Fritter