Minimalism for the Digital Nomad

Becoming a nomad often means having to carry all of your possessions in a backpack that is comfortable enough to travel with across borders and in all types of vehicles. It then shouldn't come as a surprise that the less you carry, the easier it will be to jump from place to place. That's why incorporating some degree of minimalism in you traveling strategy could be to your benefit.

Contrary to common belief, minimalism is not the art of owning nothing, nor living in a sterile space, and it has nothing to do with owning a certain number of objects. This lifestyle is inspired by the Japanese Zen philosophy and is more about your mindset than your physical reality. In fact, minimalism is about having only what is necessary, and doing only what serves purpose in your life - so it's centered around what is essential for YOU.

Marketing and advertising make us believe that we are incomplete in some way, and that the answer to our dissatisfaction is whatever product they are trying to sell us. This feeds our subconscious and chains us to a consumerist lifestyle that will never make us happy. Through minimalism, we can get rid of all the excess in our lives, removing everything that doesn't serve a purpose...which actually is quite liberating! We tend to surround ourselves with objects that we think will fill a void, and instead end up carrying around confusion, and chaos; our primary needs end up buried under a mountain of useless junk.

If you want to travel or live minimally you will need to identify the things that are really necessary and that serve a purpose in your life, and discard all the rest. 

Put together a list of the things you will need to bring with you. Divide the list into categories so you can further break things down, and think about one item at a time. Also don't forget to save the list online somewhere you can access it at all times for reference.

My list is divided into 8 sections:

  • Technology: a few key gadgets to help you stay connected
  • Shoes: depending on your destination and activities

  • Clothes: minimal, functional and for all eventualities

  • Accessories: a few essentials for all seasons

  • Toiletries: one thing can serve multiple uses, so don't get carried away

  • Useful tools: you need to be prepared for any challenges

  • Medicines: not too many and as natural as possible

  • Packing objects: to help you organize once you know what you will bring with you

This is probably the most strenuous challenge because you will change your mind 100 times and find someone else's list online and start adding and removing stuff! Do a ton of research into each object because you want to make sure you have the best of the best with you! You want to only carry things that are:

  • Durable

  • Good quality

  • Good value

  • Multi-functional

  • Light-weight (this is definitely the most important)

  • Compact

  • Have special qualities like: waterproof, warmth-retaining or moisture wicking

And remember that a lot of things will be cheaper and easier to buy once you arrive at your, you aren't leaving for the moon (or are you?)

If in doubt ask yourself:

"I will have to carry this thing 200,000 km on my back taking up space I could use for something else.

Is it worth it?"