My mom recently watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and quickly began selecting a capsule wardrobe for the next month out of her rather large closet. I had heard of both trends and been curious as to what was causing all the fuss. So I decided to watch it as well.
It was inspiring and the message was definitely something I can get behind I was taken aback when a new friend of mine remarked on how picky I was. In this case, I was determined to find a specific type of waffle here in Belgium because I had never tried it before and kept seeing waffle stands that sold a type I had already tried. But I realized that ever since I watched that documentary I have been much more picky about Everything! Clothes I packed, food I bought at the grocery store last week, etc. But the message was also scary. Getting rid of stuff, retraining your brain, shaking free of the consumerist lifestyle- is hard. Its something i will consider when starting my life as a “real” adult after I graduate but for now I will not refrain from buying a few souvenirs.
But how does this fit in with my study abroad journey? I’m glad you asked. When faced with the astronomical task of packing 4 months of my life and dragging it on an airplane I wasn’t sure how. I consulted the internet- mainly Pinterest and the multitude of travel blogs there- for help. One common thread among all of the posts were warnings about not packing everything you think you’ll need because it will stay in the bottom of your closet for the whole semester.
Keeping this in mind I did some pre-planning and way too much thinking about what I needed and wanted to bring with me. It was a fight against my nature the whole way and I drove my mom to insanity asking her whether or not I should bring each shirt in my closet. I knew I only had a limited amount of space and I wasn’t exactly sure what I would need, besides a winter coat. Besides clothes, toiletries, and makeup, there were also electronics, art supplies and journals, my french press and coffee mugs, even precious goods like peanut butter!
A view of my two suitcases. They weren’t completely stuffed either!
Shout out to my friend Carly Cribbs for tipping me off to Europe’s lack of reasonably priced peanut butter- its like $10 for a tiny jar. I managed to get everything deemed absolutely necessary into my two suitcases and it turned out alright but it made me wonder what is really necessary for me? It turns out that I do miss things I didn’t bring that I would normally use in the space of 4 months but there is also no shortage of stores here to buy anything I don’t have.
I wish I could fit all of my possessions into just one of those suitcases ( and have saved myself the $100 dollar second bag fee, thanks Delta–Not!) How easy life would be! Not just for traveling but also in the daily grind. The minimalism lifestyle is an interesting and intriguing one, especially in the busy world we live in today. With so many people quitting their day jobs to blog about their world tour- do we really need to spend money on furniture, clothes, pots and pans, or cleaning supplies? I also know myself and am not sure I could limit the amount of decorative pillows found in my apartment… like mother like daughter.
MY answer= Some of us do; Some of us don’t; Some of us think we need a lot more than we really do. Not a new line of thought but the conclusion I have also drawn in light of my recent life choices. We’ll see how minimalist I can be during these next 4 months.
Only time will really tell whether or not I use all of the stuff I packed but something tells me I did a pretty good job in bringing only things I know I will use. Perhaps the next step is not using so many things…