Yes, we’ve all heard that adage. But really, the more I live life, the more that truth becomes clearer and clearer…

In high school I used to wear about 10 rings on my fingers, and about 3 necklaces at a time. Now, I don’t wear any jewelry–and I don’t miss it one bit. Less hassle, less fuss, less $$.

I used to have two homes…one in Alaska, and one ever-changing winter one that involved me opening up a storage and unloading endless boxes of “stuff” into a new apartment.

Now I don’t have any home, and the “stuff” that our daily life requires fills only 5 backpacks.

We used to go to Walmart on date nights without the kids, simply because we didn’t want to return home, yet…and nothing else was open at that hour. “I’m sure we can find something to buy,” we’d say. And we always did.

Now, we walk into a store and 99% of the time we can honestly say that we have no need or desire to buy anything. Our needs are met, and we’re consuming almost nothing in comparison.

I used to have cupboards full of food, and still not have anything to eat. Now I shop for a small number of meals at a time–and somehow when it is time to move onto a new home/hotel/apartment, we can almost always eat through the food without having bags of grains or ingredients leftover.  Even our produce rarely goes to waste, now!

We used to do very long road trips–typically requiring 12 to 14 hour days in a car. Now, we are content with making slow and short progress–3 to 4 hours a day–and we take more breaks in between days.

I used to own so many clothes that I could go a month without washing anything (no joke). I was a serial thrift store shopper, and with prices like that, I stocked up! Now, I own 2 pairs of paints, 3 pairs of short, and 7 shirts. I don’t even wear all of them—which makes me wonder which one will not make the next packing cut.

Why did I ever need more clothes than this? Why did I ever buy more clothes than I needed?

We used to work very long hours on our business–leaving very little time for kids and life in general. It was as if we filled up our days with so much “blah,” and our kids and personal lives only got the leftovers.

Now, the family comes first, and business happens when it fits into our schedule (evenings, days off from travel, etc).

My kids used to attend school for 6 hours a day, and come home grumpy and uninterested in learning anything more. Now their “lesson” time is limited, and they learn from the amazing materials (aka: world) around us.

We find they soak it all in with an unprecedented ability to remember everything, as well as an insatiable desire for learning more and more and more.

We used to travel pretty hard-core, from location to location without any breaks in the itinerary. Even two nights spent in the same location was almost unheard of. Currently, we’ve been in the same location in Spain for nearly 3 weeks, and while a part of me wishes we’d roughed the rainy weather more to get out and explore…I have to admit it has simply been nice to slow down, relax, and do less.

But is it just me that finds that hard?

When I wake up some mornings and all I can think of doing is making some good curry, reading to the kids, and just relaxing…I find myself beating myself up over it.

There is this endless voice inside of me that loves to rain down on my parade, saying “What did you accomplish today?  What kind of work did you do? What kind of experience did you have? Did you do anything of worth?”

Why do we have to put labels on productivity, when sometimes the downtime accomplishes more worthwhile results than the up-time?  It allows our minds to regenerate, become freedom to be creative, and it helps us step back and see the overall perspective.

I have to convince myself it’s okay to slow down, relax, veg, and some days it’s even okay to accomplish nothing at all. Everyone needs some rest, and a chance to recharge their battery.

Maybe I won’t see all of Spain while I am here. In fact, I won’t even see most of it.  But that’s okay.

At the end of the day, I have to remind myself that even with travel…

 

Sometimes less is more.

 

My name is Alisa, and I am off traveling the world with my adventurous husband and rambunctious 3 small children. I love mountains, outdoor living, and I am crazy about vegetables. Most of all, I love making memories with my family, and I enjoy sharing our travels with others!

9 Responses to “Less is more”

  1. YAY! It’s crazy how we define our self-worth, as though it’s all about productivity. Yes, it is nice to look back upon the day and know you’ve done something worth doing – but does that thing really have to be work related?

  2. Great post. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever learn to ‘just be’.

  3. Hallelujah! Down time is so important, especially for travelers. And ridding yourself of the desire to buy is so important. It doesn’t happen overnight, but what a joy when you finally get there. These days I rarely want to buy anything …unless I’m in with B&H Photo or the Apple Store. (Hehe, I’m not quite THAT evolved yet.)

    Impressive that you’re able to move without leaving bags of grains behind you. That’s a trick I haven’t mastered yet.

  4. This is so very true… We are in Southern Utah right now and there are so many canyons to hike, it is hard for me to spend days of doing not much just pottering around. Today, the girls are totally happy to make a fairy garden on the campsite and make paper maché mask… I’d rather be hiking, but I have to admit that I also enjoy those days of nothing particular when I can truly relax into them.

  5. This is great! My life has changed considerably in similar ways to your’s and our family is happy! We are glad to have less stuff and more time together, less hurry and more quality! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Totally true! So good to remember. And well said.

  7. Lovely post… less is definitely MORE! For a start… I don’t… for a second… miss any of the “stuff” I’ve purged – and it’s my goal to get everything whittled down to just a few bags (slow progress). And I totally “get” the part of your brain that asks: “But what did I ACCOMPLISH today? What WORK did I get done?”. It’s so engrained in us, huh?

  8. It is amazing to think of the stuff we must have, when it is really the people around us that we need the most. Though we don’t travel often, we don’t own all that many items either, just enough to survive on our homestead 🙂 happy travels and many wonderful moments to you and your family!

  9. I feel that way somedays now. We are just at the start of our trip but we are steeped in vacation mode right now. We are relaxing by the pool, going to the beach, having days where we do nothing at all….Sometimes I feel like we should be doing more but I know this is exactly what we need right now!

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