Recently I was sent some links to a couple of YouTube channels of people who are into simple living. One is called The Boss Of The Swamp and the other is Cheap RV Living. They both espouse many of the same things I preach about here on the Fritter. Simple living, no debt, minimalism, making one’s own way in the world and to their credit, they both seem to have the simple part down pretty good. The Swamp Boss lives in a cabin out in the woods while the other travels about in his van staying in as many free or nearly free places as he can find. Admirable, simple, and minimal.
As I watch some of their videos I can’t help notice something. While they are living simple lives, bereft of the complications of a consumer lifestyle, no dead end jobs, no debts to worry about, no rat race, they both seem to be doing not much of anything at all except existing. Perhaps I missed something or there is more to their tales but the guy living in the cabin in the woods doesn’t seem to be doing much except living there. Chopping wood, making dinner, keeping the cabin up, but what else? And as for the van guy, all he seems to be doing is just moving from spot to spot, depending on the season. He does the videos but what about actually living a life? Is there anything else these two are doing beside just living simply and posting videos about it? I would like to think there is more.
One of the many reasons I adopted a minimalist lifestyle is so I could free up my time to go and do things I have always wanted to do. Travel, loot and pillage, annoy wimmen, you know, enjoy life. When I was bogged down by ownership of things like a house, a vehicle, and the debt which went with said things, and I had to work in mindless, meaningless, dead end jobs in which to pay for said things, I had very little time to enjoy much of anything. When everyone was at some event like a motorcycle rally, I was stuck behind a parts counter. When the weather was good and the fish were biting, I was mowing the lawn or fixing yet something else around the house. I couldn’t just up and go to some exotic island on a whim, nor could I move to someplace more better because my lifestyle prevented me from living. Going minimal and simple changed all of this.
One of the things I love about places like Key West and Hawaii is there is no lack of things to do there. Key West always has some silly ass celebration going and if not, there are the wonders of the ocean. Even just walking around town has it’s joys. In Hawaii, there is even more to do. I only barely scratched the surface while I was out there and would love to explore the islands in more detail on my next excursion. Living simply allows me to do so.
The idea of building a cabin back in the woods and living alone with a dog or cat, and just getting away from society in general, admittedly has some lure to it. Let’s face it. People suck and world is shit right now. But it’s not a realistic goal for me, plus I get bored easily.
Traveling about the country in a van or rv has a lot of appeal and I may well someday do something similar. But I don’t just want to move from place to place every few weeks or park out in the desert and do nothing. The computer and internet can only entertain me for so long before I need to get out and do some fun stuff. Hike, fish, explore, annoy more wimmen. There is too much out there to see and a limited time to see it. It can be done simply, minimally, and without spending a lot of money.
To go someplace and just stay there because it’s cheap and simple is not living. It’s why I despise Pennsylvania so much. Besides the bad weather, nasty people, bad weather, close minded attitudes, and the bad weather, there is nothing here for me to do, at least nothing I want to do. No oceans to explore, no silly festivals, no beautiful sunsets, and the wimmen annoy me. Plus the weather is bad. Yes, I do have a means to an end by being here, both financial, and family related, but it’s not a life and the sooner I get out of this shithole, the more better I will feel.
If moving into the back woods in a cabin alone is your thing, then go for it. Enjoy it. If just driving around the country staying for free in the National Parks or deserts is all you want, have fun. If this is what simple living means to you, I am not going to tell you otherwise. Minimalism means different things to all of us.
But as for this old Captain, minimalism and simple living is a means, not an end. By ridding myself of all the encumbrances of my previous consumerist lifestyle, getting away from the drudgery of the hive of worker bees, by deleting all which held me back, I now have the ability to go and do all the things I dreamed about, within my budget of course, but still, it’s a lot of dreams. Adventures await ahead and I will no longer be sitting behind a parts counter nor mowing the lawn when said adventures arrive.
By going minimal and simple, money is no longer as important as it once was. Sure, I need enough to live on, pay rent, eat, etc., but I no longer need to spend my every waking hour earning enough money to pay for a lifestyle I hated and kept me from actually living. Once you eliminate the need to pay for stuff and get rid of the stuff you don’t need, life suddenly becomes an adventure, not a chore.
So if you are just embarking on a journey to minimalism or you have been at it for a while, think about what you actually want to do. Are there places you want to travel to and explore? Events you have always wanted to attend? Adventures which you have dreamed of undertaking? Minimalism will take you there. Keeping the lifestyle simple will make a difference, but while keeping it simple, don’t forget the living part. Enjoy life, don’t just exist.
Have I ever mentioned how bad the weather is in Pennsylvania?