One quit his job. Followed by the other one who had not seen his friend being so happy, truly happy in...for ever. And decided to follow along. The first thing they both did was to cut the clutter of their lives. They came up with a radical idea for the second one who wanted to get rid of all the "un-needed" as fast as possible. They boxed everything he owed. Beddings, kitchen wares, tvs, electronics, shoes, clothes, books, toothbrush, you name it, everything. Then he gave himself a 3 weeks period to see what he would take out of the boxes. These would be the things he really used, really needed. Things that had a purpose in his life. And decided that everything else should be donated, sold, or trashed. He realized that the clutter represented 80% of his belongings, of his life. Yet he started feeling richer. And they thought that maybe some other people would like to hear about their story. They started a blog, just like everyone else right?!
52 readers the first month quickly grew to over 2 millions/year. How's that!
I have myself been reading their essais and posts for about a year. And I am so happy to share The Minimalists with you as I find them to be extremely inspiring. And it resonated with our own life too.
We literally have lived out of 3 suitcases for 1 year. With a new born baby as an extra bonus. It was not planed. Not at all. I was just about to give birth when Gurvan lost his job for economical reasons. He had been a sea-man for over 10 years and an oil-tanker captain for a couple of years. He was 33 years old and had already had quite a nice career. But he wasn't truly happy. I could tell whenever he'd come home. He would spend 3 to 4 months at sea, and come home for about 3 months, sometimes less. Yes our life was pretty comfortable. Especially mine. We did not have to worry about paying our rent or going grocery shopping. We could offer to travel here and there . We could eat out with friends, we could buy new surfboards and so on. He loved his job. He did. And he was really good at it. But he would come home and be completely out of shape not being able to exercise at all, eating unhealthy food, feeling disconnected from his friends... And he wasn't happy with the industry he worked for. The Oil Industry. Brrrrrrrrrr. These huge corporations who run the world with their money and treat their employees as simple numbers on a payroll. He did not share any values with these people. His job had changed over the years as well with the internet and computers. By the end he had to spend more hours seating in front of a computer replying to the dozens and dozens of emails he'd get a day than on the bridge, looking at the ocean. Something was wrong.
So when he finally got laid-off, and we knew it was going to happen sooner or later, we did not panic. We were becoming parents, we were starting a family and everything seemed possible. And so our son was born on August 28th 2013 here in Hawaii. Without any plan before his birth other than nesting and staying home, we had gotten rid of most of our belongings a month after his birth and we took off on a plane on October 12th 2013. Manech was 6 weeks. Where to? Tahiti was our destination. We thought we would try to buy a sailing boat and take off to sail around the South Pacific, doing some chartering business to pay the bills. Oh boy. Long story short. It did not work out as we thought it would. Not at all. We stayed in Tahiti for 6 months, then decided to fly to France so that our friends & family could meet our baby. We were in need of support too. Having made that crazy move that was not a success. And after a little over 5 months in France we decided to come back to Maui, the place that feels the most like home to us now. We were back on Maui by September 29th 2014. So pretty much exactly a year after our crazy move. We were back with our 3 suitcases and had just spent an entire year living out of them.
I know I am sharing quite a lot here.
And you may think I have lost my point.
But no I have not. What I want to say is that this intense year that just passed has taught us a lot. About ourselves, our families, our inner ressources, our limits, our priorities in life. It had us reconnect with ourselves, with the meaning of our lives. I am amongst the people who believe most things happen to us for a reason. And I hate it when it comes in a challenging way for us to grow stronger. Whether your best friend or you mom die at a way too young age, whether your husband who has been supporting your family looses his job right when you give birth for the first time, there is always a bright way to look at things. And it might take a little while to figure out what it is. Black does cover white and darkness tends to take over brightness if you don't watch out. And yes the above happened in my life.
Leaving your comfort zone is a great way to get closer to your true-self. To explore what's out there for you. Getting rid of most of your belongings does help to connect and listen to your heart. Going through a tough and challenging time, and coming out of it makes you realize that you have much more strength than you ever thought you had. And what seems to be a failure, whether it's in your career or in your love/friendship life, may just be part of your growing path. You might look back one day and be thankful for this time of your life when you grew so strong, when you decided to do what makes you truly happy to wake up every morning.
So far and after quite a few tears being shred, I am thankful that we did this random-stupid-looking-move. We have cut so much clutter of our lives. SO MUCH. What is left of our belongings (books we love and one tiny couch I dearly miss) are still in a storage in Tahiti waiting to be shipped back to us (wish this was cheap). And there are a few things I do need. Mostly things I have written. But I know I do not need more clothes than I have right now and there must be at least 2 boxes of clothes waiting there. I know there is more clutter that can go away because this year has taught me to live with very little. Even with a new born baby (all they need are their mom & dad, I swear THEY don't care about owning a tv or a car!). It has showed me the way to a more simple life. I may not become a total minimalist tomorrow as I do like to collect few things here and there, I love garage sales and thrift store, but I don't want to let material things invade our lives. I wan to breath.
I do believe financial freedom is a big key towards happiness, but it does not mean that you need to make 6 figure salary, instead you need to figure what in your life you truly need (I use a $25 pay card for my smartphone!). Everything else is waste. Because while you work your butt off to be able to offer the $200 bikini that every other girl is rocking at the beach, well you forget to focus on what's real! You forget to breath, you forget to listen to the birds, you forget to look at your child, you lose the empathy that is much needed in our world right now.
Not that we shouldn't work. But we can and should chose to make our life a meaningful one.
Just like a lot of people around the world we would love to own a piece of property that we could call home, not having to worry about where we will be living in a couple of months from now but truly, this does not even stress me anymore. I feel like we have embraced a new approach to life and this fills me with happiness as it feels right.
There are so many inspiring articles within their website, here are a few I really enjoyed.
Why I quit my 6 figure salary
Getting rid of the internet @ home
Helping build a school
Also they are working on a documentary film that should be released this year through festivals and hopefully in some theaters. You can watch the trailer. I can't wait to watch it in full.
There is so much more I could say, I want to say about minimalism, about finding a meaning in your life but I think this is enough for now. I can't believe I have written so much just now and with my guts. I don't want to loose you quite yet. Please comment if you've read through it because I have doubts anyone will, looking at the amount of words I have put one after the other..!
Oh and a few photos related to our crazy move as Manech was only 6 weeks into our world.
I used to joke that our lives could fit in one of those small french car, even after picking up a crib in tahiti. It did. Baby and surfboards included. The photos aren't the best but you do your best when you shake your life upside down and become parents all at once. Really...!! But this will become a great birth story, we will make it soooo adventurous and happy because at the end, the happy memories are what remain.