I have arrived in Vermont for a 7 week stint at the summer camp I run with my wife. This is always an extremely exciting time for me for a lot of reasons; many of which I will write about over the next couple of months.
The crux of the matter is that my family (and the students at camp) live a life of simplicity and minimalism together for an extended period of time. There is no technology; most of us walk barefoot; we eat healthy food; we bring our musical instruments and not much else. The simplicity of the place and the experience is beyond words.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that an ongoing quest for me is to eliminate all that is unnecessary from my life. I am not trying to cut out everything, and I certainly don’t want to deprive myself of things, but I lived a life of excess for many years and it had to stop.
My essential question is always “what does necessary mean”? What is necessary to live a happy life? What does “having enough” mean? How much is really necessary?
I am never more happy than I am over the summers here in Vermont, so let’s start with that. What is necessary for me and my students to have here? We have the basics of clothing, shelter and food. I need a great and strong relationship with my wife and kids and I need time with them.
I do not spend a cent while spending time with my family here. We hang out at the house, we go outside and try to catch newts and frogs at the pond, and we play. No money is necessary to enjoy our family time. No movies, no malls, no eating out.
We drive to our home in Vermont with barely anything in our car, and we don’t miss a thing.
Other things we cut out and don’t miss:
- Going to movies
- Any type of eating out (we go to a farmer’s market once a week and munch on some goodies)
- Toys (we go to the thrift shop on Saturdays and spend $2 sometimes)
- New books (I bring up a pile of “to be read” stuff from home
- Cable and TV
- Cell phone (I carry it around to be in contact with parents of my students, but that’s about it)
I feel lucky to have the chance to ditch my stuff and live simply. I always return home and try to bring the simplicity back with me. I have a lot more to do, but it’s the process that I enjoy, and I’ll keep trying.
What is necessary for you? How much enough in your world?
Carnivals I was recently featured in:
Carnival of MoneyPros at Freeat33
Carnival of Retirement at Money Q
Finance Carn. for Young Adults at Faithful With a Few
Yakezie Carnival at Money Reasons
Yakezie Carnival at Growing Money Smart
Finance Carn. for Young Adults at The Happy Homeowner
Carnival of MoneyPros at Making Sense of Cents
Yakezie Carnival at Financial Conflict Coach
Carnival of Retirement at Dividend Growth Investor