March 26, 2012
Minimalist Monday: Live Intentionally
I always enjoy the responses and reactions of others to my relocation news. Most people send a warm congrats and leave an expression such as "how exciting!" Those that have lived or traveled to my new homes often offer help or suggestions (such as vegan restaurants in the area) which I greatly appreciate. Then there are the questions of "why do you move so much?"
The short answer is "because we want to."
I've written once before about living intentionally and in that post I shared this quote by Laura Roder:
"When people ask me why I moved out to California I simply respond "because I wanted to." I've learned that there's a small subset of socially acceptable reasons for moving across the country - family, job, business opportunity - and "because I want to" is not included in that set. It just showed me how rare it is to live intentionally, but how powerful it is once you let go of the "right reasons" and follow your own path"
We moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado (where we currently live) because we wanted to live on a mountain, walk out our front door and be able to strap in and snowboard. Jobs didn't bring us here, family didn't bring us here... the desire to snowboard brought us here and about three months after being here, I was already itching to leave.
We're moving to Montreal because we needed somewhere to go before relocating to Germany, but also because I've always been attracted to living in Canada. I also speak French and am excited about the opportunity to use it daily.
Our mobile lifestyle doesn't always translate well socially, we get a lot of stares and wrinkled faces when we say “oh, yeah we haven’t decided where we’re moving on to next” or “no we don’t really live anywhere but everywhere” but this what we wanted. Life is too short to live it for someone else.
After moving from Boston to Los Angeles to New York City in the span of three years, I became acutely aware that no one place was going to do it for me. I needed to live freely.
The problem was that Scott and I both had jobs that required us to stay in one place, so if we were going to be mobile, we were going to have to make serious changes.
I took the first leap, quitting the law, and working freelance as a writer where I made 1/4th of my lawyer salary. We downsized to a tiny studio apartment, sold off most of our furniture and donated our belongs because they wouldn't fit in our new digs anyway. (This started my minimalist journey). Having lived somewhat of a lavish lifestyle as a lawyer, I was worried about going back to my poor student days, but it was in that studio that I realized money really doesn't buy you happiness. When I removed the unhappiness from my life (a job I hated), I no-longer felt the urge to engage in retail therapy. I didn't even miss my stuff, or the expensive dinners, or the big apartment. Those things had brought me temporary happiness in my misery and now that I was generally happy, I didn't need happy highs.
Two and a half years later, we sold or donated the last of our non essential belongings and Scott quit his desk job to pursue freelance like me. I didn't make enough money to support us on my own, so we needed a nest egg to cover Scott's unemployment (hence 2.5 years of saving). Scott also totally changed careers. Like me, Scott did not enjoy the work he was doing, and no amount of zeros in his pay check would have bought him happiness.
Now we both work remotely, at salaries much lower than we made at our old jobs, but it affords us the ability to go and live anywhere we want and do what we want to do and are passionate about -- which was our ultimate want and desire. Scott has a telecommute job and you can read how I make a living here.
Everyday we are reminded that less is more. We have less belongings, lower salaries and yet much more happiness.
Our lifestyle is probably not ideal or suitable for everyone -- but it's what we wanted. My hope is that I inspire you to seek your own happiness. Do what will make you happy. Seek out your passions and desires. Live your life for you. And if you're like us, and your ultimate utopia is a little on the wild or wacky side, embrace the art of non-conformity.