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Thanks for stopping by! Here on BECOMING LOLA I share stories on becoming minimalist, as well as living a pure clean life as a style-obsessed digital nomad with a no BS approach to ethical fashion + travel. Grab a glass of wine and start here: Building A Minimalist Wardrobe.

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becoming minimalist and why more is just more



UPDATE: This becoming minimalist post is back by popular demand. 

Since returning home from my first solo travel trip ever, I immediately fell prey to the "system" yet again. 

This time, the love of my life has seen the light and decided the system doesn't work for him either. So we are off to travel the world, leaving everything behind. This is how my minimalist journey started...

***

I'm a little fed up. I live in a country where I wake up every morning for the sole purpose of paying bills and taxes. Where my government officials wake up every morning to serve people, so long as those people deal them eight-figure checks under the table. Where capitalist conglomerate CEOs wake up every morning to ensure they're creating the absolute healthiest foods, safest drugs, and the most transparent companies on Earth. If they happen to turn over a tiny profit of 13.6 billion dollars, then hey, that's just a bonus. And who can forget the drones. Oh. No. No no, not the fly by night kind. The 9-5 kind. You know the ones. The sluggish drones who also wake up every morning complacent, fearful, and unfulfilled; plugging in hours at a job they loathe while penning a blog at night they hope will make them rich, perpetuating relationships they dream of having the courage to end, making bucket lists they have no business creating in the first place, and envying the lives of prettier, skinner, more famous [enter names here] while never acknowledging that [enter names here] detests their own lives too. Lindsay Lohan with a side of Amanda Bynes anyone?

So surely it comes as no surprise that I am just fed up. I've had it up to here with ungrateful drones complaining about this flawless patriotic system America has bestowed upon us. Like those shameful grease-laden fast food employees I hear went on strike, demanding an increase to their minimum wage salaries. Such greed! Have they no idea that $7.25 an hour is MORE than enough to for a family of five to master the art of minimalist living in a luxurious tent from Walmart, (it's called glamping...hello!) eating canned beans, canned fruit, and canned spam while sending their kids to FREE public school? For heaven's sake, what more do you need? Apparently a lot more, because these social leeches are claiming our great nation is nothing more than a depressed, obese, over-consuming, egotistical masochist with its head up its ass. Last time I checked it was not our heads up our asses, it was our genitalia on Twitter. Fact check please.

But as a hedonistic adventure-seeking prophet, I am willing to oblige these complaints and see if the grass really is greener on the other side. As of last month, I've been shedding ALL material possessions to prepare for the most frugal and minimalist round-the-world journey known to man. And I want you to come.

THE CONCEPT OF HOME


Perhaps the reason millions of soul-deprived square pegs are so complacent with their chosen lifestyle (and yes it IS a choice) is because they have misunderstood what a "home" is. A home is not something you completely replicate from the pretentious pages of BH&G Magazine or Architectural Digest. You wont find it on the house tour section of The Glitter Guide, where overpriced home furnishing accessories go to die. As a native New Yorker who wears her birth city like a badge of honor, even this infamous metropolis is not my home as much as it is a comfort blanket hovering over a land mass of familiarity. This concrete jungle so many yearn to move to has no family that would shelter me, no best friends to throw me a fit-for-TV surprise birthday party (or even show up to the one I threw for myself!) and certainly has no zipcode I can comfortably afford to dwell in (though I don't blame minimum wage, I blame real estate tycoons not green lighting rent-free condos for fledgling fashion bloggers).

No, instead I find that home is - in its most simple form - a place where I safely rest my head each night, engage in a give-take relationship with the environment around me, and feel interconnected with a socially stimulating community of people who know me by name. This type of minimalistic home is ideal, and belongs wherever I am, whether for a month or a year, in California or Thailand.

SETTLE FOR ORDINARY - EVERYONE'S DOING IT


But don't be fooled. Confusing a tastefully appointed house for a true home is the least of a drone's problems. Somehow, at some point, we're all led to believe ordinary trumps extraordinary when you're seeking a traditionally stable life. Financial security? Check. Unnecessary master's degree (because who are you kidding, you'll graduate still making 30K a year in an unrelated field anyway)? Check. Irrefutably predictable daily routine? Check check...pass the damn check! Personally, I love a lackluster grind. Variety is for the insatiable and excitement is what killed Evil Knievel. But I guess 60 years of wiping your butt with cheap tissue in the same rickety bathroom does not a happy camper make. Allegedly spoiled brats in the Mediterranean are making us look bad, with their daily siestas and government supported paid vacations. Duly noted.

Lest we forget the notion of settling down, the very sound of which has been propagated to conjure up the image of a silver platter en route your way- so long as you claim to the universe aloud that you are ready to settle down. Well, I was ready to settle for any damn thing since the age of 23 and I'm still waiting for Oprah to grant me a dream life. And a car. 

I reckon, however, that anything with the word settle in it should be filed away politely. If I am going to set out on a quest to see what all the fuss is about on the other side, settling down is exactly the opposite of what I need. Admittedly, I'm a bit nervous. American history textbooks have taught me that we are the best. Venturing into third world countries like France, Cambodia and Greece (oh have they been upgraded to second world now? text book update please!) is on the wrong side of my comfort zone. And why shouldn't it be? We've been well trained military-style to put fear above all else until it consumes our lives like a cancer. Be realistic! Be cautious! Wait for the right time because tomorrow is definitely guaranteed. Shelve your true dreams just a bit longer. But the little secret no one tells you is that cutting the umbilical cord that chains you to home can make anyone apprehensive and doubtful, but it also has made me the most exhilarated and euphoric little miss minimalist I've been in almost two decades. This all before even booking my flight! I feel like a teenage boy planning the last night of his virginity. Now THAT is something worth waking up for.

PS- Need some mojo? I'm currently reading Slow Your Home and it has done some MAJOR stimulating of my mind, awakening me to my fear, and pushing me over the hurdle so I can travel the world fearlessly like so many other bloggers, as well as the saved-my-life 30 Day Clutter Bootcamp from Minimalist Packrat.

becoming minimalist and travel the world





What will you be waking up for tomorrow? And the morning after that...




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28 comments

  1. I love that you posted this! Seriously... LOVE! I have a master's degree and literally every time I've gotten a degree, I've taken a pay cut. I made more out of high school than I did once I got my Master's degree and finally threw in the towel and moved to Germany where I have no full-time job, but am living the dream! Come visit! Lol!

    : signe
    : the daily savant :
    : the daily savant : Blog Lovin

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    1. Signe, thank you for commenting! Mostly because now I have discovered your blog. You are gorgeous. Love your vibrancy doll.

      But yes this is sadly so true for SO many. I've never heard it articulated in that way "new degree, new pay cut" but I can only imagine. I think my jobs out of high school were also my most fair salaries and maybe the most fulfilling.

      What made you choose Germany!? I am definitely coming to visit ;)

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  2. I relate to SO many things that you spoke about in this post - the stale relationship, job they hate leaving little time to visit a hopeful blog and the envy, oh the ridiculous envy. I admire your viewpoint on the many "accepted" injustices of this world (I'm also the proud but seriously impoverished master's degree-holder and am making almost twice what I would using it than I am bartending...figure that one out). It has always been my dream to gallivant across Europe with no more than a back pack, some sturdy but stylish shoes, and a strong sense of wonder. I made a small leap and moved from the midwest to Austin, but I still feel the quiet pull towards leaving all the necessary things behind (like paying off student debt and regularly doing squats) and just go eat cheese and drink wine for hours while writing in some oh-so-cliche cafe in Paris.
    I can't wait to follow along with you on this new adventure and chapter in your life. You are a lovely writer and I hope for many good things for you!
    -V
    visforwriting.blogspot.com

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    1. Veronica, I cannot tell you how many times I sound like a broken record when I say this, but comments that lead me to kindred spirits like yours who also pen wonderful blogs is the fuel to my engine. So thanks for taking the time to comment and share your story which borders on tragic but hopeful, because I could only hope for the amount of social interaction a bartender bears witness to! I thought this was a dying secret, but if you can manage a good salary bartending in TX, then clearly nothing has changed in this country for post grads. My admiration falls to you now, because even though it seems a small step, it's a step most people don't take...which is leaving home to try something completely new. I find that its only then, once you have escaped/run from/tired yourself out from one existence can you realize that it still is not enough. Then courage to make bigger leaps starts to form. And I can guarantee you that by next year you will be writing a similar post on your own blog ;)
      xx

      PS- I literally came across a job today that was seeking bloggers who like wine to live in Spain for free and cover wine events. I am sure cheese would be involved too. Anything's possible! I'll invite you if I make it ;)

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  3. Love love love this! Keep it up! Though the greed in France is just as rampant though less spoken of with despise {mostly because the French will just blatantly speak out against the greed instead of live in denial like we lil' Americans} I have to agree with so much here. ESPECIALLY with how you define Home. Bravo!

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    1. Wow really? See, this is why I'm coming to visit you! I need to see so many of the hidden facets of France for myself, up close and personal. But its like that post you had on your Facebook about how Americans have the most problems and someone commented that infact we probably do BUT we are just the country everyone talks about the most!
      Thanks for the love doll

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  4. Hi Letitia you are such a lovely writer, you have so perfectly articulated some points I can truly relate to. I am also a masters degree holder working in a totally unrelated field. the thing with my part of the world (Nigeria), is that the jobs are not even available talk less of even getting a lower pay than your worth. I have been blessed to have traveled a few countries around the world and I must say, seeing other parts of the world is one of life's true blessings, I usually joke to my friends that "we were blessed with eyes to see the world and interact with it positively". I admire the courage you have, to embark on such a journey, I'm eagerly looking forward to your experiences.

    dressed2dnines.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you kindly Ngozi. I really appreciate your viewpoint being a Nigerian resident. I wonder what is the incentive to study to that level when choosing to remain in Africa? That's a very interesting predicament. But I'm so glad to hear you have traveled already. Where did you visit so far? And your little quote, not a joke at all. Its quite true and beautiful!

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    2. To be honest I originally though the incentive would be a better paying job among other things, however i'm being very open and positive about the whole experience and working hard at becoming a successful entrepreneur, because one of Nigerians big challenge is a a shortage of small and medium scale businesses to absorb the graduates being churned out.
      I Have been to Ghana, Dubai, Spain, London England (Lived here for some years), Scotland, France, Barbados, USA (Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Chicago, New York, Orlando Florida, Miami), And I hope to visit several more places :).

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  5. Hello, I just wanted to say I found your blog today and I LOVE your writing style! If you wrote a book I would definitely buy it. Maybe memoirs of your year of travels?

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    1. Ah Sarah you made my day! As a writer, a book would be my most narcissistic accomplishment and I hope it happens one day ;)
      Thanks for the kind words.

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    1. Oh wow thank you so much Nigel! Hope you visit again :)

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  7. I like the way you write. Will come back any free time :)

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  8. Perfect! After years of teaching I started to work in before and after school care. Yes, I had less money, but I still got to work with children, which is what I loved BUT without all of the intense paperwork etc. It was amazing! My life was so much happier, more fulfilled. And money to buy 'stuff' did not matter a jot! I would rather be happy each day than fill my life with clutter x

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    1. Hey Holly! Kudos to you for still doing the passion and purpose but without the added stress. See most people would see choices like that as room for lots of people to judge them, but you are indeed still working with kids and thats what matters. More happy people in the world is really all we need right now! It can manifest in to more positive things :)

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  9. I just found your blog and started reading your archives. I agree with you, especially on the Monsanto bit... I changed jobs 5 years ago talking a 1/3 salary cut, but in the long term I can say it was the right choice. But I also think sometimes one has to stay at a job he hates b/c he's got to pay the bills and feed the kids...

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    1. Hi Chiara! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Wow, didn't realize Monsanto was known in Italy as well, but I know they are global for sure. I totally agree on the job front. So glad it worked out for you.

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  10. I like your write, cause inspired for me. Goodluck

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  11. Thank for sharing my sister, this post is great. Goodluck

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for reading and enjoying xx

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  12. It's 4 am and I'm reading your blog so inspired I want to cry. You embody everything I'm into and are the first black woman I've seen write a blog about things I love. Finally someone I can look at and know will relate to me ! I'm into minimalism,sustainability,& writing. I move back to NYC since September from Miami beach living of 4 years and took a break and tried to take time to travel. I need a job now and I feel up against a wall as what I should do with my life asap. I'm 24 with a 4 year old daughter questioning everything up until this point and feeling against a rock and a hard place. I read what you said to someone about how NYC is little pay off for how much you have to work which is true I suppose its so hard I know I have always worked hard and am driven and determined but up against thousands of other people sometimes for jobs. What do I do ?!?! My first interest was journalism and decided I wouldn't do it even though people said always do a blog I thought how cliche to write a blog and where would I start ??? I slowly find who I am more each day and what I'm really about. I'm a mother,buddhist (still learning exactly about how to just breathe),vegetarian,environmentalist,minimalist lover,modern design lover and just someone in general trying her best to be her best in this modern world ..... How did you do it ??? How do you make a living doing basically what I want to do with my life as someone dying to travel around the world and hard the use of the world wanderlust and is so beyond broke right now ? I want to become (or atleast I think I do) an interior designer specializing in Feng shui and sustainable design. I just want to help make a difference in the end ni matter what path I get to.

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    1. Joesy,

      Omg please come back!! I'm so sorry to only see your comment now. I'm the one who wants to cry. I have never EVER seen a comment from someone sound exactly like me. From what you said we have literally everything in common besides age and motherhood. Please feel free to message me on my contact form. I want to catch up with you soon! In the meantime I'm going to do a special post for you answering some of these questions. Don't give up! xx

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  13. Hello, Leti. I hope don't you mind to ask you this. I saw an entry where you put your top 10 fashion-travelers blog, there is one with I fell in love (@tuulavintage), I want to ask you (and maybe sounds strange) Do you know what does she do for living that amazing life? I know that she's a blogger but, how she made so many travels and sleep in 5 stars hotel all the time? Did she study a fashion career? Thank you so much! Have a wonderfull day!

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    1. I don't believe she did, but she must be on wikipedia by now haha. Maybe google and see, but pretty certain her background is not fashion. I interviewed her so long ago I forget now. But glad you enjoyed the post! Try tweeting her as well. She's still a sweet girl who might respond.

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  14. Anonymous7:44 PM EST

    I love this! Soul sister xx

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