In the last few years I have been thinking a lot about the idea of living a simpler life. Living simply does not mean having a lesser life. In fact, it means enjoying life more!
What did I do? Well to start with I donated a lot of my extra things. Everything from clothing to dishes to anything excess over what I needed was donated to charities. It is an ongoing process as each year goes by. I have kept the things that mean the most to me and that I enjoy. The most important things to me are my cameras and camera gear and the ability to get outside and travel and to take in the moment. After my cameras I would say my outdoor gear is the next most important thing to me. I love to go paddle boarding, kayaking, camping and hiking and travel of course. And, I have my Apple everything – from iMac to iPhone to iPad. I need these to work and to document and to create and communicate.
Living a simpler life for me meant living closer to where I work. My day job is as an attorney. I live close to my office – three and a half blocks away in fact. That means, I can walk to work – easy. No petrol needed, no wear and tear on the car and I get fitter and I have a low carbon footprint. In addition, it means I have more time! I don’t have to spend time in a car “getting” to work. So I have more time to myself. In addition, I live close to all the amenities of life, like Trader Joe’s and the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. A library, post office, gas station, dry cleaner, movies, shopping, YMCA gym, anything I need is either within walking distance or within 5 minutes by car. I can’t tell you how much I love it. Before I made the change to my new digs, I had switched positions and before I could move I had to drive over 300 miles a day for a couple of months just to and from work. I was offered the position before I was able to move. By the end of it I was totally worn out! So now really loving where I live.
Having more time is the best thing. Having time to relax and enjoy life outside of the office is my most precious time. It gives me time to create and to be me. Life is too short not to enjoy it. I try every day to make my life more enjoyable and simple. I still have a long way to go but I know that as I get rid of the excess, a weight is lifted. I’m not living with nothing, but I definitely have reduced my “stuff” quotient. Although I was always very good at donating things and not being a pack rat, there were still things that I had outgrown or no longer used. So it is a constant thing.
Also another aspect of moving to a smaller place is that you take into account the fact of having less space and less room for things. So it forces you to look more carefully and to plan more carefully. One of the great benefits of living in a smaller space is that it takes less time to clean and less products, less money to clean and leaves me with once again – more time to do what I love to do which is to get outside and enjoy nature and take photographs and travel.
I think the key to living a simpler life is to think quality and not quantity and to appreciate the good things and conveniences we enjoy. When I moved I had to buy a refrigerator for the new place. Believe me, refrigerator shopping was not on the top of my bucket list of 1000 things to do before you die. But I had to do it. So after looking at the many variations of refrigerators I picked one that had the freezer on the bottom. It took over a month to get it but now I absolutely love it. In any case, now I have this refrigerator presumably for life since it cost an arm and a leg. You really come to appreciate a nice refrigerator after living without one for over a month especially during the hot summer. No ice cream, no cold drinks, nothing in the freezer for dinner, no yogurt, no milk. No left over pizza! No veggies in the crisper. It’s incredible how much a refrigerator adds to a life! I think in the developed world where we have amenities like this we take them for granted. When you have to live a busy urban life without a refrigerator you suddenly realize how much it helps you. When it is very hot, food and milk can’t sit around for long. So now, as part of my simpler life, I truly appreciate my refrigerator. Not everyone in the world has one. I am grateful.
When I downsized my physical surroundings and moved closer to daily amenities, it meant I had more money, more time and more freedom! My various living expenses went down from one third to one half or more of what they were previously. So another nice result is that I don’t spend as much money on my daily expenses for housing costs, for petrol, for car maintenance, tires, etc. Over the last few years I have been more and more conscious of finding products that do a job just as well but reduce costs and reduce carbon use and that can be reused rather than disposable. I feel good about that and try to do it whenever I see an opportunity. Once again, it is about quality of life and the quality of the environment we live in.
So what are the results? I feel lighter, happier, have more time to do my photography and to develop Happy Bondi. I have more time to meet people around the world and to write about what is happening and to promote the people and things I love and to enjoy the great and wonderful outdoors and nature’s beautiful colors, skies, oceans, and every leaf and frog too! Living simply improved my life and I am sure it will improve yours too!
- Happy Bondi's Guide to Staying Young: Using Relaxation Techniques To Improve Your Performance In Sports And In Life10000
- 10000Dmitry CHULOV is a professional travel journalist, photographer, blogger and traveller. In the last century Dmitry traveled one half of the world and in this century he’s planning to visit the other half. He’s a prolific and exacting journalist who had filmed documentaries on important subjects and explored the far…