You Could Call Me a Traveling Black Minimalist, I Guess

If you’re into titles, you could call me a black minimalist. I owned more stuff than I remember buying when I lived and worked in Atlanta, GA. So when I decided to follow my intuition to travel long-term and leave Atlanta (hopefully) for good, I got rid of everything that wasn’t a family memento. I sold, donated, or last resort, threw out my past. I started 2016 fresh with a travel backpack full of my stuff, and a one-way ticket to London.
One of the hardest things to let go of were my books, which I sold. I didn’t want to take the blood money, which was only a couple of dollars, and I may have cried on the way home. The other difficult parting was my bed and I. My bed had been my constant companion for only two sweet years. Teardrop. If pressed, a third runner up would be my cute apartment in Kirkwood with hardwood floors throughout. I had only been there around 9 months and thoroughly enjoyed my space.
The idea of minimalism didn’t begin and end with me leaving my apartment. A carry-on sized travel backpack a Black minimalist does not make. It’s something I’ve had to practice along the way, from country to country. Buying stuff is always tempting, particularly while traveling. Also, I’ve found that some things I carry are a comforting idea, and I want to keep them. If they’ve served their purpose, they have to leave my pack. These types of things don’t necessarily weigh me down or take up a lot of space. But having even well organized odds and ends, bits and pieces, take up mental space. Remember, these are the things I pack and unpack as often as I move around.

Maybe mental space is a kind of minimalism. There are all kinds. Perhaps the main thread of minimalism is about having useful things around you that bring you joy. Maintaining a mindful, curated space.

I feel freer. Seeing how other people live helps me to understand there are many ways to do this life thing. It makes me think about, and appreciate the things I choose, because I’ve had more experiences. If/when I have a permanent home in the future, I look forward to intentionally filling my space with love first and a few things after.

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