Recently I watched a documentary on David Gulpilil an aboriginal actor. Something he said has stuck with me. “In the blackfella world we share everything. Everything is ours. In the whitefella world it is private property and everything belongs to someone else.” He went on to say “Blackfella world you have nothing, a spear and your ready to go. Whitefella have too much junk.”
It got me thinking about how we live our life. In our culture we collect things. My house is full of books that I have read once and will probably never pick up again. Vases that never hold flowers, ornaments and other dust collectors.
Why do I need all this junk in my life? Don’t get me started about the children. They beg for something new they see in the shop and in moments it is broken or tossed to the side, never to be played with again. What am I teaching them? I remember as a child all my things had a place in my room and I looked after things.
There was a time when I lived life as a minimalist. It was when I was a backpacker. All I had was a backpack and freedom to roam. My main bag contained clothes for all seasons, two pairs of shoes, toiletries and a sleeping bag. My day backpack had my journal, camera, wallet and important documents. That was it, my life jammed into two bags.
While my nomadic life was nothing like David Gulpilil’s it made me think what did I learn during this period of my life? No possessions cluttering up my world, just me, a backpack and a one way ticket.
During this period of my life I felt free. And this is what I learnt.
Less stuff equals less stress
No mortgages to pay, no car loan repayments, it was just me and my backpack. All my financial stresses were gone as I travelled. It is possible to live with minimal possessions and be happy.
Grateful for my relationships
Being so far away from home and having little contact with friends and family made me realise how much I valued those relationships. It gave me time to reflect and see who was really important in my life.
On my terms
I hate to admit this but I was a sheep, doing what others wanted to do. Always wanting to please other people. Travelling gave me control of my own destiny. It was the one time in my life that I could be selfish and do what I wanted when I wanted. Things were always on my terms.
I am a shy person and often lack confidence. Friends and family couldn’t believe it when I said I was travelling solo around the world. Being on my own took me out of my comfort zone and I had to step up and put myself out there. It is satisfying to look back at all my accomplishments and realise that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
Enjoyed my own company
Being on my own has always been a struggle for me. My social calendar was always full to avoided spending time alone. Being alone made me aware of my own thoughts and I listened to my inner voice. Writing in my journal was one of my favourite things to do and it helped me to work out my thoughts and feelings.
Don’t need designer labels
I used to keep up with fashion and spend lots of money on clothes and shoes. Travelling with limited clothes made me realise that I don’t need to waist money on fashion. You just need comfortable, practical clothes.
I am patriotic
Never thought of myself as patriotic until I travelled. I am proud to be Australian and showed the love of my country. If the song “I come from a land down under” was ever played I was there front and centre belting out a tune! A bit cringe worthy I know!
It is easy to make friends
At the start of my travels I would hide myself away in my hostel room. It didn’t take me long to realise that I need to put myself out there to make new friends. Start conversations with fellow travellers. Before you know it I was making travel plans with someone I just met. Friendships come and go on the road but I have also made long lasting friends.
Travelling solo did wonders for me, it brought me out of my shell, gave me confidence and made me realise that I don’t need material possessions to make me happy.
Anyway must run as I need to declutter the house and simplify my life. Try and get back some resemblance of my simple life on the road!