I used to blog about minimalism.
I read a lot of things by Everett Bogue, Leo Babauta, and Tammy Strobel. I wanted to get rid of the Stuff that was clogging up my life. I shifted my thinking about what was valuable (time and experiences vs. possessions and passive entertainment), and eventually we got rid of almost everything and moved into a 250 square foot apartment at the beach.
Apart from some unbelievably inconsiderate neighbors, life was good. Things were simple.
And then we had a baby.
Partly due to the tiny-ness of our apartment (but mostly due to the horrible neighbors), we moved into a two bedroom house a couple of blocks away. It had a laundry room. And a yard. It was huge.
Somehow, after only a few months, our huge house began to shrink. Suddenly there was Stuff everywhere and no room for more. But new Stuff continued to appear, only a small bit of it in the form of baby gear.
One day, as I was moving a heap of junk out of the way to get to another heap of junk which contained something I needed, I realized what had happened. It had nothing to do with the baby.
Old habits had crept back in because I had allowed myself to blame my sweet, simple baby. My expectations had shifted. I bought into the idea that babies need a lot of gear, and so I unconsciously gave up on the idea that we could live as a family without a lot of Stuff. Even though our baby didn’t have half the Stuff other babies in the neighborhood do, he still had more than he needed. But again, it wasn’t his Stuff that was clogging up my life and sucking the energy out of my home. It was mine. I had completely lost sight of the freedom that simple living had afforded. I guess I was too busy paying attention to the baby to notice the mess I had made of my environment.
So, it’s time for thinking to be readjusted again. It’s time for an extreme shift in our environment.
I’m a big fan of the tiny house movement, but I’m also a fan of living on the water. So, the 49.5′ canoe-hulled ketch Baltia is our version of a tiny house. It’s not really tiny by boat standards, and the amount of restoration and maintenance it needs makes it less than simple. But, it is a lifestyle less full of Stuff.
This boat is a stepping stone for us. It gets us back to living aboard, and to being able to throw our possessions into a backpack (or 3) and just go. If we can maintain a simple and more self-sufficient lifestyle, then we’ll be ready to move on when it’s time to let Baltia go. We’ll be used to living in small spaces, with furniture built in, spending more time outdoors, and not having lots of Stuff.
For now, that’s just what we need.