Tag Archives: minimalism

Five Things I’ve Learned About Ultralight Lifestyle

Over the last month or so I’ve made some huge progress toward adopting ultralight philosophy into every aspect of my life.

Here in the front country it’s not all about weight. Some of what I’ve worked toward has been lessening my financial expenditure (having an ultralight expense ratio).

Taking care of my body with the same care I would show to a cuben fiber shelter. Treating myself like the high-performance piece of gear that I am. Metaphorically speaking…

Here are a few things I’ve learned:

1. I enjoy the extra time! Selling my desktop computer and having my laptop die within the same two weeks opened up huge amounts of time. I sit here typing this blog post on my iPad Mini 2, the same device upon which I earlier was reading an in depth account of the causes of the Great Recession.

Ultralight in the front country means having an ultralight load on your time demands. It doesn’t mean doing nothing but, rather, finding what is exactly worth taxing your valuable time and doing only those things.

2. I’ve been able to reconnect. Getting rid of FaceBook meant reestablishing deliberate and thoughtful correspondence with intentional people. Even before deleting FaceBook, as I reached out to people to get contact info, it was nice to be intentionally communicating with some lost friends, rather than just commenting on their statuses.

Now, when I have something worth sharing, I send it straight to those to whom it matters. It feels much more clean and appropriate.

I’ve also been able to reconnect to things which matter to me. I’ve had more time to choose what to do with and I’ve filled it with things I enjoy. Walking to the library and perusing the shelves, reading books of topics as wide as motorcycle repairs to personal finance.

3. I feel more focused. Having less distractions on my schedule and around me physically leaves more room for me to focus on things that are truly important.

My to-do list today is about 12 items long and arranged on the Reminders app of my iPad (I’ve tried a few other apps but none seem to offer me any real value). I have the to-do list scheduled out so that i can get as much done as possible on one of my few days off.

4. There is little pressure. I have more time so I can go to bed a bit earlier, wake up a bit earlier.

I can shave each morning and enjoy the simplicity of a fresh shave with a clean razor (I’ve recently started shaving my head regularly). My drive to work is lazy, I never exceed the speed limit and watch as other cars shove part me to make it to their cubicle on time. Walking in to work I take it slow, enjoy the cold mountain air on my head and in my lungs.

With few financial pressures and absolutely no debt, it’s pretty easy to manage money. I work a job I love, make a very meager income, but still have more saved and disposable than most people I know. Of course, my “disposable” income I also save and will be happily investing while others are out buying 30’s of PBR.

Having ultralight finances and schedules means more time to enjoy the day. Just as we all love having a little more time to enjoy the morning on the trail with a hot drink in hand. Having a lighter, simpler pack, means more enjoyment of the trail. It’s no different in the front country.

5. I have room to make changes. From better time management and productivity, to exercise habits and long desired travel. With ultralight finances and schedule it’s so much more simple to find room for things I’ve always wanted to focus on.

Since I was a kid I loved video games and I still do. It’s a habit that’s stuck with me since I got addicted to the first Poke’mon game. More and more, however, in the past years I’ve begun to realize I’m wasting time. Finally, a month ago, I sold my very expensive gaming computer (along with a huge library of expensive games).

Why did I sell it? Not because there was something wrong with it. No, the computer was fine, and I took a huge loss financially on my investment.

I had been arguing with myself for ages to keep it because I’ve already spent so much on it. The other part of my brain, however, knew that playing games was slowly draining my potential.

Finally I just pulled myself up by the bootstraps and made the change I knew I really wanted to see. I wanted to move forward with my life more than I wanted to level up characters.

I wanted a positive direction for myself so much that I was willing to loose somewhere in the ballpark of a grand to get rid of a perfectly fine computer.

I’m glad I did.

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Continuing the Ultralight Lifestyle

It’s been roughly a month since I’ve taken my disjointed passion for ultralight backpacking and brought it together with my interest in the concept of “minimalism”.

I’ve bought into the idea that minimalism is, roughly, defined as “removing all unnecessary clutter from ones life”.

This has lead me to get rid of two pair of skis, an old pair of AT ski boots, helmet, extra set of bindings, desktop computer, and laptop (well, almost).

I have shoved a great deal of my clothing into a box, leaving only enough for exercise and evening relaxation. Exactly one pair of jeans and two t shirts for every day life. To be fair, I spend the vast majority of my days in a ski instructor’s uniform.

My early 2008 MacBook Pro died a month ago and I was planning to trade in in with Apple’s recycle program. They were to offer me $0 for it and, considering my tendency to tinker, I decided to try to fix it. $6 later (for thermal compound) and a two evenings of work (one to tear it apart, one to reassemble) and I have a perfectly functional MacBook Pro again.

Turns out the solution was to bake the motherboard in the oven @375┬║ for 7:30 minutes.

Anyways, with very few exception, I’ve spent the last month selling a lot of shit and accumulating as little as possible.

I’m moving back to a simpler way of doing things.

I’ve started waking up earlier to shave (head and face) with gel and a razor. It has become one of my favorite parts of my day.

I have more time in the evening to organize. Set up to-do lists, reminders, get in contact with people, and organize work and professional items.

I’ve been able to start playing footbag more often again, one of my on-and-off hobbies over the years.

I’m really looking forward to getting rid of my iPhone in May and going back to a basic talk and text phone. I love the simplicity and freedom I’m finding in every day life without being plugged in.

I’m able to save a huge percent of my income (expecting to save well over 50% this month) thanks to reduced consumption and increased awareness of my own personal finance.

I rode the bus in to work the other day (something I don’t do often because it’s absurdly logistically challenging) and it afforded me an nice hands off morning to listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcasts on finances.

Much like in the wilderness, excess items slow you down. They take up space in your pack. It takes longer to find the things you really need (rain gear) when you have to sort through three dry-bags of camera equipment and charging cables.

In the front country we don’t notice them. Even those of us accustomed to going with less while hiking often don’t realize how much stuff we have.

I have never been a chronic shopper, I have never held a cent of debt, I travel often so it prevents me from accumulating much.

Even so, after really focusing on fusing ultralight with minimalism… well, I’m curious to see how far this can go!

My Not-So-Digital Nomad Experiment.

Well here I am a few weeks into seriously beginning to apply the ultralight backpacking philosophy to my life in the front country. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

I have this strange affinity for neat and organized austere spaces. It’s super contradictory though because my car, workshop, and often many parts of my life are super disorganized and not particularly clean.

Maybe this will be an opportunity for me to bring physical organization and attention to cleanliness to other parts of my life?

I shoved about 90% of my already super minimal selection of clothing into a box in my closet. So far I haven’t needed any of it. This will take some balance, however, because as seasons change and as I spend time backpacking and doing various outdoor pursuits, I will need different arrays of attire. Not to mention I practically live in my ski instructor uniform right now.

I like reading people’s minimalism blogs.

I don’t like that almost every minimalist blog (and every blog in general) is highly based around making income. It’s starting to get annoying. Even the ones who (on the surface) aren’t making an income, really are. By selling eBooks or consultations these bloggers are using their blog to make money.

It’s really just me being irritated with the fact that everything revolves around money. These successful bloggers have earned it and they should enjoy it.

The more I think about getting rid of my car, the happier I am about the prospect.

A huge part of my has been wondering how I’m going to settle into the adult routine of paying bills. Phone bills, health insurance, car insurance, vehicle maintenance, etc.

My solution has been a great big middle finger to consumerism. Sell the smart phone, sell the car, and stay healthy.

Without a bunch of stuff I can live in a smaller space. Rent is cheaper.

With cheaper rent, fewer and very small monthly bills, no debt, and carefully monitored personal expenditure I really feel very little pressure to worry about how I’ll pay my next bill. There are few of them and they’re small.

Once I’ve paid rent, most of the month’s income goes straight to savings! It’s quite relaxing.

Selling the car has been a hard logistical obstacle. I keep coming up with reasons I need it (and to be honest I really do for the time being). I see an opportunity on the horizon to get rid of it, however, and intend to do just that when the chance comes up.

Deactivating my FaceBook account has created some cool new contacts. People I occasionally brushed past in the digital world actually reached out to stay in touch. It’s pretty cool. I’m very near to ready to deactivate Facebook and it’s exciting and scary at the same time!

I’ll probably keep elaborating on my discoveries and experimentation as it happens.

I’m hoping this new lifestyle will make it even easier for me to get to new and cool job opportunities as they come up seasonally in my field!

I’ll be sure to let you all know if it helps me in the long run and if it’s a viable option for other outdoor educators and adventure educators.

Sorry for the rambling!

Oh, P.S. using the WordPress app for putting pictures into posts is still a pain in the ass. Maybe I’ll leave that in a review on the App Store.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Working Toward an Ultralight Lifestyle

For years it’s been appealing to me to apply my heavily ultralight backpacking style to my front country living. I think it’s finally time.

My older Macbook Pro has finally died and I will be getting rid of it soon. As I sit here typing on my desktop computer, it is listed for sale on Craigslist. I’ve decided to replace them both with an iPad Mini 2 which I ordered with a Bluetooth keyboard in order to easily facilitate emails, job resumes and applications, and keeping up on this site.

My iPhone 5 is eligible for an upgrade but it’s time to take another look at that. I’ve been saying to myself and friends for years that I’ve though about switching back to a “dumb” phone. It’s now or never, I suppose! So I’m going to sell the iPhone for what it’s worth and either reactivate or purchase a new pay-as-you-go QWERTY style “dumb” phone.

I will replace the lost functionality of the iPhone with the wifi only version of the iPad Mini 2 which I purchased. When I’m on the road or traveling, it will be phone calls and text messages only unless I’m near wifi. I will, for now, borrow a GPS car unit when needed but that brings me to the car…

I’m looking forward to selling the car. That’s right, I’m going to voluntarily get rid of a perfectly good car. Hopefully for a reasonable market value.

I’m hoping to be able to fit two (or three) changes of┬ácarefully selected clothes, a few small necessary front country toiletries, the iPad (and mini Bluetooth keyboard), my “new” dumb phone, and whatever select seasonal necessities in a backpack.

As I sit here looking around my room, having already sold two pairs of extra skis, an extra helmet, and a pair of boots… there’s not much left that I really need.

Here’s what I have left to tackle:

I have a printer but I’ll sell or donate it and just print the occasional page at the library or other office supply store.

I have an extra pair of ski bindings but they’re listed to be sold (soon hopefully).

I have an unnecessarily large pile of clothes for the season which I will donate much of.

My bed is an inflatable mattress which I will either store with the skis or ship home to be stored with family until next season.

The desktop and laptop, as mentioned, need to be sold.

There are a few odds and ends that I brought along which I will try to sell or donate such as an extra pair of shoes, a couple physical books (I recently switched to Kindle) and an extra laptop satchel.

I have a few other odds and ends which would be nice to store until next season (blanket, pillow, etc.).

Doing some research, I can get a hold of a 4 x 1 foot storage unit (what an odd shape!) for $20 per month. Probably worth it to store the few larger and more expensive items (skis, boots, inflatable bed, pillow, blanket, winter clothes etc) until next season.

I may gather up all my shit, put it into a pile in my room, and slowly whittle away at it. Getting rid of the car is going to be the biggest and most difficult leap of faith in this project.

Wish me luck!