Photo by Baylee Stewart
I might have minimalist tendencies, but not in the way you might think.
As a child, I was the one who would spend my Christmas money on one thing while my sisters spent hours in the mall accumulating merchandise. If I wasn’t going to use something, I didn’t want it. If it didn’t fit my personality, it stayed on the shelf. Until a friend commented on her admiration of my “minimalistic lifestyle,” it wasn’t really something that crossed my mind. When I think of minimalists, I usually think of people who get rid of everything but the bare necessities and choose a life of supposedly blissful self-deprivation, or something like that. That may work for some people, but it isn’t really my thing.
However, there might be something more to it than that. Having a small collection of carefully curated items is what I prefer, and a combination of utilitarianism and style is more appealing to me than glitz and glamor. This attitude may have come partially from financial necessity and a growing awareness of sustainability. Still. there is a certain appeal to things that are versatile enough to bear through the everyday and tough enough to go with me out into the ocean or up to a mountaintop. I could have all the gear in the world, and I would still choose my trusty favorites. They are imbedded with salt and sand and dirt and memories. And when they are well-used, they can be repaired or passed on.
I am convinced that more stuff does not make us happier, but the things that we choose do have value. We give them their own sort of personalities as we learn the stories behind them and then weave them into our own tales. The items that we accumulate can convey expressions of our personalities and add to our lifestyles, and they have the capacity to spark conversations and encourage movement toward more sustainable and ethical lifestyles.
When it’s time to pack a bag and hit the road and get outside, who wants to waste time picking and choosing from an overwhelming amount of options? Know your essentials, pack your bag, and go make some memories.
Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.