Category Archives: Minimalism

New Year New You…Bullshit!

Version 2I know I am a little late but it still is that time of year again… New Year New You … I’m calling Bullshit!

Don’t get upset about my swearing and the fact that I’m calling bullshit on resolutions does really sound funny when it is coming from me. I am all about creating a new and wonderful life for myself but truth is that on the whole New Years Resolutions suck! Gonna do this, gonna do that crap just doesn’t work. Least not for this little chica! Ok so I am not really a chica anymore but just go with me for now.

As much as I hate the concept of New Year New You, I am actually been pretty good at making resolutions over the years. Many years I have sat down and written out a list of goals that I wanted to achieve. I have not necessarily done this at New Year.

This year as I sat at the top of Mount Kinabalu I wondered what the coming year ahead would bring. 2016 is going to be an interesting year. I am traveling semi-solo (I keep meeting people and planning to meet with them so hence the semi-solo) for the majority of the year and then returning to Australia for my younger brothers wedding to his wonderful bride whom I already call my sister-in-law.

I already have many goals mapped out for 2016.

Fitness: 1 x 50km ultra marathon and 1 x 100km ultra marathon and finally riding from Brisbane to Bondi with my coach and a group of other crazy nutters from the 26-30 Dec – that is going to be an epic 40th Birthday present to myself!
I am also doing a 200 hour yoga teachers course in India as well as completing some fitness coaching courses. Reminds me I need to finalise that payment of the course!

Health/Diet: I have been heading towards Plant-Based eating for some time now and this year I will be working even harder towards that. It is difficult traveling because I am not so sure if the food I am eating is completely meat free but to date I am still eating seafood and the occasionally dairy (chocolate is my weakness on long hikes!).  Awareness of what I am eating and how I am fueling my body for my general health as well as my fitness is all I can really ask when I am not in a position to cook my own food.

Travel: Perhaps the biggest part of this years goals in travel. I am currently sitting in Brunei, my 51st country but over the next few months I am going to: Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia (mainland) and India for the second time. I am also debating if I can fit in other countries while I am at it but slow travel is more economic and with my studies and work it is also more practical!

Studies/Work: I am working my way through a course (or 2) as I travel and they will be the basis of a new and exciting adventure to come. For now I will continue to keep that a little close hold as it won’t feature till mid year.

Love: So this is not about romantic love but love for myself, life and others. While I was walking down Mount Kinabalu I realised I still have a lot of hang ups and issues pertaining to love. My romantic love history is pretty damn depressing and part of that comes from not thinking I am worth my soul mate or that I missed the boat and they doesn’t exist. One of the last guys I dated told me because I was ex-Army, training for an Ironman and independent that I was more boy than him! I guess the old saying – strong women intimate boys and excite men… Would the real men stand up and be noticed. So I guess what I am saying here is that with all the travel, adventure, study and fitness I actually don’t have room in my life for a partner but I am open and willing to work on myself so that when life presents me with an opening for love of a romantic nature I will be ready.

Minimalism: This will be my hardest area.. I am currently traveling with WAY TOO MUCH SHIT!!! Seriously, I travel all the time and yet I am still the queen of over-packing and generally just carting way too much crap with me! I think I need to just be ruthless and ditch what I haven’t worn since I left Australia a month ago!! Yes there are clothes I haven’t worn in a month that I am still carrying!!

So why do I call Bullshit on New Year New Me? I find a lot of people don’t put any thought or real consideration into their goals. I have all the details of my goals mapped out.  Timelines for completion dates and milestones. After I hit those goals and dates I will be sharing them but for now it is time to explore Brunei before I hit the road again!

Tell me, do you have a plan for 2016?

Blessed Be

Robyn xox

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DeClutter the Mind

When I first arrived back in Australia in Nov 2013 after living and working abroad I decided to do a rather overwhelming clean out. I spent days sorting through clothes, books, papers and ended up with something that didn’t resemble anything like the minimalistic lifestyle I wished to be embarking on. I imagined that I would have a small but useful wardrobe. Books would be pared down to those I loved and wanted to keep, my paperwork would be a sleek, professional efficient system that I could find exactly what I needed in a second.

My mission failed!

Instead what I ended up with was a pared down wardrobe that didn’t have anything I wanted to wear and a box of paperwork tucked under my bed but certainly not organised! In fact if I am brutally honest I was behind in all my paperwork so I basically just hid from it. A year later my wardrobe was overrun and nothing was what I would call my style. I felt cluttered in my mind and in my world. My creativity was being crushed and I began to feel less like writing and doing anything that related to my creative side.

Note during this period I did train for and complete an Ironman triathlon but when it came to the rest of my personal life it was a little less than fantastic!

So what got me back on the declutter the mind mindset! Life Coaching! During the process of my coaching sessions I was able to see that because my space was cluttered my mind was cluttered. I couldn’t see a way forward for the hundreds of items blocking up the creative airways or to be frank, the floor of my bedroom.

Enter a book! Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”. Thanks to a recommendation of a friend after bleating on Facebook about feeling overwhelmed by my stuff I began reading Marie’s book with an intensity I hadn’t felt in years! The KonMari Method seemed so drastic yet also very simple. If something doesn’t bring you joy get rid of it! Such a simple message yet over the days that followed it became harder and harder to do!

Clothes and more clothes

Clothes and more clothes

 

I love this, oh that I brought in Nepal, this reminds me of a fabulous holiday with my mother and brother. So many reasons not to get rid of ‘things’ and I realised that was my old self cluttering up my airways before I had even finished. Slowly I worked through most of my stuff and as I did the creativity channels opened up. I ended up keeping a note book handy so I could jot down ideas as I continued to work though my belongings.

Has the processed finished? No!

Just as I was really getting into the swing of things I had to return to work.  The process of decluttering had caused me to look at my entire world and this lead me to something else! I began considering capsule wardrobes. Having only a certain number of clothes that made up the framework of a stylish, French inspired wardrobe that would mean when I opened the cupboard I would instantly have clothes that I knew suited me and could be either dressed up or down.

Enter Caroline from Un-Fancy. Her wardrobe capsules are 37 pieces in which some are carried over from season to season and don’t include underwear, loungewear and fitness clothes (that is a very good thing for an endurance athlete because I literally have swim, bike, run and gym clothes for all seasons and weather conditions!). Her style is very much how I’d like to look albeit she actually pulls it off!

I was devouring her past blogs and realised this was the simplistic and minimalistic wardrobe I had been craving!

Just as I was fully immersing myself in creating a capsule fit for me, Caroline posted a blog that explained she would be taking time away from the blog. My heart stopped, like actually for a split second stopped and I was almost pissed off that I finally found something that appealed to my clothing persona and it was being taken away from me all too quickly. Thankfully she isn’t deleting her blog so I can go back and refer to different things and not being a fashionista I will need this access!

I’ve now returned home and the KonMari Method has ensured my room is still decluttered and my creative space is in full swing! The wardrobe still needs a little bit of work but I can clearly see my style is finally coming to life! It shall be interesting to see what comes next!

Tell me your decluttering tips!

Blessed Be
Robyn xox

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Becoming Minimalist: Rethinking owning too much stuff…

After walking the Camino de Santiago and surviving with 3.5 changes of clothes (this included sleepwear) and very little else; then traveling for more than 4 months with about 20kgs worth of belongings (5kgs of this is books then I have laptop, camera, first aid kit and even clothes I haven’t worn) have made me question the importance of owning lots of stuff.

I love clothes, books (this is almost an addiction!) and all the conveniences that make life easier. I love living in a place that feels like a home not a hotel room but slowly I am starting to embrace a minimalist or more simplistic way of living.

In Australia, I have boxes and furniture at my mum and step-dads, my mum’s farm, my uncles and my brothers! About 6 years ago I was leaving the army and moved in with my parents.  I went from a 3 bedroom house (full!) to having a room at my parents.

Some of my furniture is very well used.  My 8-seater dining table looks perfect in my parents and it has had many dinner with grandchild and family all seated round.  It has had more use there then it ever did when I owned it.  My military history is in boxes in a storage container at my brothers farm.  To be very honest I have no idea what is even in the other boxes that are there.

Under my bed there isn’t room to hide anything else.  Cluttered and dusty, and filled with God only knows what is not conducive of energy flow and thus not feng shui compliant at all.

After the Brisbane (QLD, Australia) floods of 2011, I asked my mother to donate a lot of the clothes I had in my cupboard that weren’t being used.  She did go a little overboard but in reality despite being a little shocked at just how much she donated I haven’t actually missed any of those clothes, except maybe those perfect fit black stretch jeans!… Sigh!

I need to start taking a different view on consumerism and my ‘needs’ vs ‘wants’.  In a few weeks I am returning to Australia for an unknown amount of time but what I do know is that I have a couple of weeks before my partner, Ignasi, arrives so this is the perfect time to not just declutter but to de-own!

Joshua Becker’s blog Don’t Just Declutter, De-own got me thinking.
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/dont-just-declutter-de-own/

I have reorganised my life a number of times.  Moving around Australia whilst in the military, moving back to my parents (and just shuffling my belongings around), moving to the Middle East, then finally packing it all up and traveling.

The vast majority of my belongings are not benefiting anyone else.  From a snowboard, shoes I can’t wear, fiction books I will never read again to kitchen utensils; these are items that could be used my someone else somewhere.  Even if we turn the books into paper fire briquettes for our winter fire basket fires they will be more useful than just sitting on shelves collecting dust!

Debt can be an issue for people who have too much stuff, this thankfully is not the case for me.  Whilst I have very little debt (a small HECS debt) and don’t own a credit card buying excess ‘things’ has meant my savings and retirement fund could have been in far better shape than they are.  I do know that I am actually far better of than the vast majority of people on the planet!

Training myself not to want more is difficult.  Even here in Mexico where I have been wearing the same 3 or 4 outfits over and over I want more.  I want longer shorts (culturally my short denim shorts are so inappropriate) and different PJ pants (long ones are way too hot when you have no air-conditioning).

See how easy it is to want more?

When I start the process of de-owning my ‘stuff’ I know I will be forced to evaluate my life.  What is truly important to me and what I am keeping out of some misguided loyalty or sheer laziness?  I have been evaluating my life for a while now but there is still a ways to go!

I am not sure just how successful I will be a decluttering and de-owning but hopefully it nets me some additional money and provides some needed items to other families.  The paper fire briquette has got me thinking though!!!!

Where this goes I don’t know yet but it might be a painfully refreshing experience!

Blessed Be
Robyn xox