Eating Out While You Travel

Travel

Summer is my absolute favorite time of the year for traveling and going on adventures. Mostly because camping becomes much easier for us. I can pack less clothes, blankets, etc. because it doesn’t get very cold. Don’t get me wrong though, I also love traveling to different ski resorts in the winter because my significant other and I are avid snowboarders. Traveling in the winter just calls for more packing. Those of you who have been keeping up with my blog already know that I do not like to feel cluttered by things and I like everything to stay organized. Especially on road trips because your vehicle can become absolute chaos if you do not keep cleaning and organizing. The less you bring the less you have to take care of. In the winter you need more layers and those layers like coats, snow boots, sweaters, scarfs, blankets, snowboards, and much more take up lots of space. You also need to prepare for the worst because there are many more risks when you travel during the winter than in the summer. It is important to bring sand in case your vehicle gets stuck, snow shoes, extra food and water, head lamps and lanterns, etc. Needless to say camping in the summer is a breeze. My significant other and I also have a very simple set up as we usually prefer backpacking. This time however, we took a seven day road trip in my nice big SUV so we were able to pack a little more since a majority of our items could just stay in the car when we were not using them. We drove from Idaho to Washington to Oregon to California and back to Oregon and then to Washington. It was an awesome trip! We ended up going through Mt. Hood on the way to California pretty much following the 97 all the way there and then we took the 101 back to Washington so we could go up the coast. We decided to keep this trip very simple and affordable by camping and only bringing the essentials so we could focus on our next adventures and really living in the moment. I figured the best way to simplify our trip would be to not worry about bring our own food and cooking. This way we didn’t need to bring a big camp stove, propane, or a huge cooler filled with food because then you also have to worry keeping the food cold so it doesn’t go bad and we were not always near a gas station to buy ice. All we decided to bring was a back packing stove which is basically pocket sized, one pan that folds up, a pot for hot water, a small cooler for drinks, ketchup, and mustard, a french press, and a 6 gallon jug of water which is refillable. It was very easy to take care and we didn’t have to do many dishes. We just had to wash our utensils and coffee cups. We also carry roasting sticks in our “kitchen stuff” too because then we were able to roast brats the first night and buy a few buns. I always thought that I was the master of organization until I met my boyfriend. You should see his work! He can fit a thing inside of a thing inside of a bag and inside of another bag. It is incredible. I am thinking about writing a blog post next on how he has our “kitchen stuff” for camping and backpacking organized because you would be amazed. It might give you some organizational inspiration too. We also brought our mountain bikes plus gear, skateboards, sleeping pads, a tent, a double sleeping bag, two camp chairs that fold up very small, a fold up table, and other small things like toilet paper, a fold up saw and hatchet for fire wood, bear spray, head lamps, a lantern, a few towels, our water bottles that we could refill, a few clothes, swimsuits, a first aid kit, and a some snacks like granola bars, trail mix, coffee, and homemade cookies. Our goal was to keep everything as simple and minimal as possible. However, we did stumble across one problem on this trip, FAST FOOD. I gave up fast food completely about a year ago because yes I always knew that it was unhealthy, we all know this, but I never stopped to think about the horrific impact that trash from fast food restaurants has on our environment. It is absolutely disgusting and a huge waste of our natural resources. I will also be writing a blog post on this topic because I am very passionate about it. I never ate at fast food places consistently before I completely gave it up, but I would stop for lunch maybe once a week. If you think about it though that really adds up! I was also guilty of buying a coffee at least once a day which in my opinion is still considered fast food because you are still drinking coffee out of trash. I decided to completely give these habits up because I do not want to support fast food and I want to reduce the amount of trash I leave behind. This was a challenge during our trip because although we were able to bring less food and items for cooking in our vehicle; we ended up having to eat more fast food in exchange. This was not the plan at first. We talked about going out to breakfast in the morning and trying new restaurants for dinner, but once we were on this trip we realized how fast time was going by. We drove at least 8 hours every day usually with multiple stops in between, but fast food could keep us on the road longer. I was stressing and feeling so guilty about all of the paper and plastic we were throwing away. We both agreed that we would plan a little better for our next trip by making sandwiches, salad, pasta, etc. ahead of time and just bringing a bigger cooler. This way we are eating healthier, we can put everything in reusable to go containers instead of plastic, and I think we could have saved  more money this way. My significant other and I are passionate about traveling and seeing new places, but we want to do it in an environmentally friendly way so that our kids and our grand kids can see the same beautiful mountains and rivers we have. We look at our mistakes on these trips, learn from them, and make the next trip even better. If you have any recipes to share or if you have certain foods that you usually bring on your trips please comment below or send us an email because we could use some advice on this. I am sure many other people from the minimalist community could as well. Thank you for reading and as always I would love to hear your comments, opinions, and questions on the subjects mentioned in this post.

I hope you find joy in my expression of words.

 

Family

Family

In the midst of my journey towards living my most meaningful life, I have had to take time to identify the certain aspects ,already in my life, that may be creating barriers throughout my journey. I find the easiest way for me to do this, is through writing. This gives me the opportunity to dig deep and find out what is bothering me. Have you taken the time to figure out what may be causing you stress or maybe even holding you back from living your most meaningful life? What works best for you? I have a friend that enjoys going for a hike because it helps bring her back down to Earth and remember how much she already has to be grateful for. Once she does this, I think other issues becomes less relevant and she also has a clear mind so that she can then figure out what it is that is holding her back or disrupting her happiness. We all have so much going on sometimes that it is very easy to get overwhelmed. It is also easy to get stuck in almost a mindless routine where we forget to take a few moments just for ourselves, to enjoy something we love or to eat an amazing meal. This gets challenging when you work a full time job, you have a home and cars to maintain, and especially once you have a family. These are all great things that we need, but how much?

I was raised with the expression “family is everything”. I can remember this expression being engraved in my head and sometimes I would refer back to it. You know I was never super close with my grandparents and they have never been the kindest people to my mom or my dad, BUT family is everything so you tolerate it. As I have gotten older I have thought about this more and more because I have some aunts, uncles, and even cousins that I hardly know and have nothing in common with and yet we are forced to surround ourselves with these people during the holidays because THEY ARE FAMILY. This never leads to a fun and exciting holiday or even family reunion. I know this may be different for other families because I have friends that are extremely close with every family member all the way up to third cousins and I think that is amazing. For my family, this is not the case. Our reunions and gatherings are usually awkward and boring to be quite honest because I do not know what to talk about. I also do not really agree with the way many of them choose to live their lives simply because we do not have the same values and I am pretty sure the rest of my family probably thinks the same thing about me. However, we are family, even though we do not know anything about each other and “family is everything”. This topic sprung upon this morning because the 4th of July is coming up!! This is always a fun holiday for me. Since “family is everything”, my family decides to get together for this holiday too. Imagine that. They do a big awkward camp out and float the river where everyone talks about how much weight they would like to lose this year while we chug beer to make the event more fun for ourselves. I have been able to get out of this trip as I have gotten older, but my mom and usually my younger siblings go just to be polite. This year something crazy happened. About two weeks before the 4th, my mom called me and told me that she really did not want to go on the camp trip this year because the whole trip makes her feel overwhelmed and nervous!!! I could not believe my ears because I have been thinking the same thing for years now. I asked her why she would force herself to go to something that is more stressful than fun?? AND she says because they are family and family is everything. I just do not understand how that saying would help justify putting yourself through a weekend of stress… The way I see it is that life is seriously short. The older I have gotten the faster my days go by. A week flies right past me and if this is the case then I only want to be doing the things I love with the people I love. I would also much rather be around people that truly love me and want to hangout with me. I have had to put many of those family members aside in my life because they have been the cause for some barriers during my journey. It really can be challenging at first, especially if you are like me, because I worry about everyone’s happiness ,sometimes more than my own, and I would never want someone to think that I do not like them or hurt their feelings. I can’t think of a single person I don’t like, but there are many people that I would prefer to keep as acquaintances whether we are related or not. I think that you decide who your family is. My family includes my significant other, my parents, my siblings, my puppy, my grandpa, my significant other’s parents, and my three best friends. These are the people that make me laugh, they lift me up, and we all have a great time together. I wish I could spend every holiday with them because it would be a huge party. To me there is absolutely no need for you to put yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or even unwanted. AND guess what! My mom got out of the annual 4th of July camp trip this year! She decided to spend the holiday with me and our little family. I am so proud of her because I know that probably was not easy.

That was my holiday advice for everyone 🙂 Before I really started practicing minimalism, I always had those pressures to act a certain way around those family members and attend every event. I don’t know if any of you have felt this way about family members, coworkers, or maybe even friends you have had for a long time, but I feel much lighter since I have removed some of those people. I have made some space in my mind and my life for some amazing new friends and I can not wait to meet them.

I hope you find joy in my expression of words.

 

Minimalism

minimalism

There are going to be two segments to this blog post. The first segment will be about how I became a minimalist and the second will be about why I appreciate minimalism and the positive impacts it has had on my own life.

I grew up in a poor working class family which I have absolutely no problem with. What I did have a problem with was that they had the self-destructing disease known as “Keeping up with the Joneses”. If you have never heard of this term then I encourage you to use the magical Google to look it up because maybe you have known someone in your life that struggles with the same disease. I caution you because it is life threatening. ESPECIALLY, for a poor family that lived paycheck to paycheck. My young self was influenced by my parents habits, naturally. I decided from a young age that I was going to be rich!! I was going to be a rich business woman so that I could buy all of the things that my parents never could and then I would be happy. The only way I decided that I could be successful quickly was to go to a University and get my business degree, not because I was greatly interested in learning about business. If you are choosing to earn a degree from a university for the sole purpose of creating a large income then, from personal experience, I would say you are not choosing to be educated for the right reason. Therefore, my college years were filled with mass anxiety and I was always overwhelmed, but following this natural trend with students I went to a doctor who diagnosed me with OCD, anxiety, and depression. They encouraged me to keep following my “dream” because these four pills I was taking every single day would solve all of my problems. I did of course because I was on a path to being rich and successful and THEN I would be happy. Well it turns out when you are studying subjects that do not interest you like Human Resource Management, Finance, and Business Law then the subjects are that much harder to understand. By my third year I had landed, in my book, the ideal internship that would lead me on the path to great achievement. Unfortunately, I was very sick mentally, I had a full course load (because the sooner I finished, the sooner I could start working), and I was drinking and partying all the time. I actually got fired from my internship. I felt like my life was over. Everything was in disarray and I spiraled out of control. I look back on this time of my life and they were all of my own choices. Your health should always come first and you can not force yourself to do anything that does not make you happy. I am telling you right now that if there is something in your life that causes you stress or overwhelms you then drop it this instant. You are worth so much more than that!! Here is where my story becomes more positive I promise. The summer after I basically lost myself, my cousin asked me to come and live with her for the summer. This is where I realized that life always has a way of working itself out and honestly it turns out way better than you could have ever planned. I truly believe with all of my heart that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. My story is proof because I did not tell a single family member that I was having such a hard time. I never wanted them to worry about me or think I was failing. That summer I had nothing to lose. I no longer had the internship (that I honestly hated, but it looked good on paper) and I was not planning on taking summer classes, so I freaking did it. I up and moved to new city in a new state that I had never been to. Three years ago I accidentally discovered minimalism. I actually had never even heard about this movement before. I packed one suitcase with clothes and then I put four pairs of shoes, a yoga mat, and books in my trunk. I will admit I was extremely worried at first. I was thinking what if I need that one pair of shoes or what if I need that one pillow, but NO I was perfectly content with everything I had with me. I can say that I didn’t end up needing even half of the clothes that I had brought with me. I also did not need multiple swim suit options. That summer I lived in a camper on a nature conservancy where my cousin was interning. They let me shower and live in the camper for free in exchange for building hiking trails. I had never felt so free in my life. I never felt anxiety except for the one time bears were trying to break into our camper. The last thing I felt was depressed because I was outside in the beautiful mountains. We would kayak, swim, hike, mountain bike, and spend endless hours at the beach without a care in the world. I did not miss one of my things. I ended up working at a little ski resort tucked back in the woods and the people there were so kind and enjoyable to work with. I only worked part time because I did need to put a lot of hours into the trails. I have so many memories from that summer. We camped in the Sierra Mountains, took LSD, and walked around under the moonlight for hours. I felt like an actual kid for the first time in my life. My parents gave me so many responsibilities, especially being the oldest, that I never felt that kind of freedom and adventure. I can also admit that I do struggle with OCD, but I never had that much control over it before because I surrounded myself with so many possessions that I had to clean and organize repeatedly. That summer when I had only a few items to my name I never felt out of control once. I had everything organized how I liked it and I knew where everything was. That also gave me a sense of freedom because I did not need to worry about my stuff. Stuff and things are the last thing we should be worrying about in our lives. I can honestly say I have never danced more in my life than that summer. Dancing is something I really enjoy too. We would dance around the fire or on the sand on the beach like no one was watching. That summer did come to an end though and I decided I would finish my business degree after all because I was very close to graduating, but I went back to school with a completely different mindset. I decided that if I were to fail a class then so what! I decided I would take less classes and find a fun part time job. You could say everything happened for a reason. I also met the love of my life that summer 😉 I believe I only met him because I was in a healthy state of mind so from then on I have continued to put my health and happiness first and just let life run its course because as much as we think we can control it, we just can’t. I ended up finding a great job at a photography studio so I got to use my creativity and meet some great new friends. When I moved back to college, I got rid of about 80% of my things and I was determined to live each day with a heart full of love and continue practicing mindfulness. This was a great challenge for me because I went to a school where people came from very wealthy families and many students were stuck in the rut I was in. People on that path see you as different. This taught me to surround myself only with people that had the same values as me.

This leads to why I greatly appreciate the concept of minimalism because of the positive way it has changed my life. Having less items and clutter in my life has made me appreciate every object I own while not having such a deep connection to my things. I really enjoy listening to “The Minimalists” podcasts. Like I said, sometimes when people find out that you are on this path they do not understand at all and it can be very trying. I actually had someone that is very close to me, or at least I thought she was close to me, tell me and my significant other that we were poor, we kind of laughed about this later because she assumed we were poor since we only have the essentials in our home. We actually have a huge savings now because we choose not to spend our money on things that do not add value to our life. People always judge when they see people living in ways that are out of the ordinary. Mostly close minded people, but when I started listening to these podcasts by The Minimalists, it made me realize that I was not the only person that was living like this and it made me feeling stronger in my life choices. This was also when I realized that there was actually a word for my choices, Minimalism. I love this word. Minimalism is another way that we can express ourselves. I really like this quote by The Minimalist, “Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.” This is beautiful and so simple, yet such a hard concept for many people to grasp or maybe it is a concept that people still have not heard of. Just like the younger me. Living a minimal life has also allowed me to discover new hobbies and enjoy existing hobbies. I think before I was so focused on the future and my goals that I was closed to new experiences. It turns out that I love writing, painting, snowboarding, yoga, hiking, snow shoeing, fishing, camping, reading, gardening, and baking. I now dedicate most of my days to my hobbies because it makes me happy. If I did not live a minimal life then I know I wouldn’t have time for my hobbies. I would be working as much as possible to earn more money and to buy more things. Then I would need to spend more time maintaining those things. I would probably be in a great amount of debt by now too. I just don’t see how I could be happy living like that. We were not born to work, we were born to live. If you have also decided to live a minimal life then know that the minimalist community supports you and I want you to remember that because there will be many people that do not understand. If you have any questions or if you have a similar story to share than please send an email to expressionfromaminimalist@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

I hope you find joy in my expression of words.

 

What is expression from a minimalist?

If you have suddenly stumbled across this blog searching for more information and ideas about how to minimize your life then look no further. This blog is about expression and even more than that, freedom of expression. I will be sharing some of my own point of views that desire your comments and even arguments. We should not all agree because everyone has different values and these values help us shape our own opinions. I am eager to hear what you think and I am hoping to learn from you too. This subject deserves to be discussed from all different points of views because there is no exact way to be a “minimalist”. Discussing will also lead to sharing and the more this concept is shared then I truly believe that a difference can be made in our world. Living in a world where we are driven by compassion for our neighbors, our community, the animals, nature, and even strangers. Compassion is a dying value because we easily get caught up in working 40 plus hours a week to buy a bigger house and a better car. In the moment I think it can make us feel really good about ourselves because now we are more impressive than our neighbors and coworkers, but in the meantime we have no time for our passions, we eat fast food to get through our busy schedules, we don’t have time for family or friends because we get caught up in this horrible, never ending cycle. A cycle driven by advertisements and the media as the “normal”. However, there is no such thing as normal because your normal is different than my normal. This is why I love that there is now a term for living a simple life which is in fact minimalism and I believe that this is a very important topic since it has truly changed my life. Not just because I have saved a tremendous amount of money by minimizing my life, but also because I have been able to discover true passions for myself by taking away certain aspects of my life that were stopping me from doing this. Passions are what keep us feeling alive. We must follow these dreams and continue challenging ourselves so that we can live our own meaningful life. This is different for every single individual which is why I encourage you to lead your own dream rather than following in someone else’s dream just so you can purchase a few more things. Minimalism deserves to be talked about and shared because it could in fact change your life too. This blog will be filled with stories and memories of my own, but also with recent trends and articles from the minimalist community. That’s right there are tons of people choosing to give up the “American Dream” to create their own dreams and their owns paths of life. If this sounds at all interesting to you then keep reading and join our minimalist community because we were not born to work we were born to live.

I hope you find joy in my expression of words.