david r’s story

recently, david r. shared his story of becoming minimalist through our share your story page. we hope you’ll enjoy hearing his story:

My story is interesting in that I’ve always held minimalist beliefs, just never knew until recently what exactly to call it.

I started out with my belief system in my 20’s after a surfing trip to Costa Rica and a growing, panging feeling inside me that as a society we were just spinning our wheels with uselessness. This feeling was strongly confirmed after I was given the book Ishamel by Daniel Quinn and I spent the next few months digesting it slowly.

I jumped a bus with some friends for Mexico from Houston with nothing but backpacks, some laminated surfmaps, a tent and some surfboards. I spent a month there surfing, living and exploring the country and its people. I had an amazing time and a first hand experience at just how little we need to live. When I returned home, I was destined to get on a right track. As my lease expired for my apartment, I moved back home and that was the defining moment for me.

I found myself packing my things and cleaning my apartment knowing good and well that I was planning on moving back in with my parents to get the ball rolling on something massive, so I just began throwing everything away!

I worked and examined my life for another year until the following summer came and it was time to embark on yet another trip south of the border. My friend and I jumped in my Toyota RAV4 with a propane grill, snorkling equip, fishing equip and surfboards and headed out for the unknown. 73 days, 7015 miles, 2 countries (Guatemala and Mexico) and over 12 Mexican states later… I figured out that I wanted to do this full time.

I came home, quit my job and got a full-time real job that would get me out of debt faster. I have been at this job for 2.5 years and I’ll be ready to hit the road this August on a perpetual road trip/vacation just exploring Central and South America, surfing and learning the real truths of our lives. I’ll be making the ultimate downsizing minimalist move as I’m currently outfitting a van to live in. Short of cooking, cleaning, tools, clothes, surfboards and books; nothing much else is coming with me. I’ve been giving things away left and right to friends and family and to be honest, it feels pretty good.

I know my case of minimalism is extreme but I accept that and actually look forward to its simplicity. I already practice a heavy form of minimalism in my every day life. I dont buy clothes until it’s a total and complete necessity. Frankly, I dont buy ANYTHING I don’t need in my life. I usually think hard and long before I purchase any item. I think about its uses, its needs, how often will I actually use this and why? Or do I just want this to be cool because the media and mass consumerism tell me I need it.. these are ways to get yourself out of buying useless things.

After you get good at this game, it usually becomes pretty apparent that we don’t need much of anything to exist after all. Enjoying time with our families, spending time exploring the outdoors and taking up a useful hobby are all we really need.

 thanks for sharing your story with us, david. may the waves be bombin’, brah.

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Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Jon says

    What this story is missing is an explanation of how david r. will pay for necessities, like food, gas for his live-in van, etc. Even the most minimalist of us has to eat. Will he get odd jobs as he needs money, does he have a trust fund to fall back on. I’m sure there is probably a good explanation for how he intends to fund a “perpetual road trip/vacation”, but it’s not included in this story.

  2. says

    Most people who take big long trips like this (including myself) tend to save up a TON of money before hand. Since he’s traveling around areas that are very inexpensive to live, I can’t imagine needing a gargantuan amount of money to survive (especially if you are cooking your own food).

  3. Leo says

    As has been pointed out, everyone has their own version of minimalism. I’m happy staying put in my home and little by little we’ve been tossing out “stuff”. Sometimes I wish we could go faster but then again I’ve come to wear a smile on my face every Thursday when the garbage men come to take it away.

  4. Sarah says

    It’s inspiring to know that you can get out of debt eventually :) That’s the road I’m on. Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Daisy says

    I’m not sure what I think of this. David says he started down this road in his twenties (implying that he’s left that decade behind and is now at least thirty). He’s spent the last several years living with his parents, allowing them to meet his living expenses while he pays down his debt and socks away money for this new lifestyle? I’d be debt-free and have a hefty savings account if I moved in with Mom, too but how responsible is that? And what about when the money runs out? Is it then time to move back in with his parents again? On the other hand, his parents are apparently supportive of his choices, so I suppose that’s between them. I do think it’s great that David is now able to live the life he wants and I wish him great success. It’s just not a story I can relate to at all.

    • di says

      Realistically, he’ll eventually need a job to support himself. Without a decent resume, it’s pretty hard to compete in the job market.

      If his parents’ have had to support him, they may not be able to leave much of an inheritance.

  6. morgan says

    It’s kind of minimalism. I suppose there can be different levels.
    After i finished school, instead of going to QLD for schools (australian party celebration for end of school) i decided to depart on a lonely 400km trek along the coast. I slept under the stars, fished and foraged for food, and surfed everyday. I literally took a shammy, socks, sandals, hat, pan and cutlery and a water bottle and a tarp for when it rained.
    My next goal is similar to this story. I’m currently saving up money for a high-top ford transit van which i can then turn into a basic camper and move into full time while i finish my university degree. it’ll take a bed, cupboard, and sink with a water tank installed. my rent will be in fuel, and my front door step will be a different sunrise everyday.

  7. Samantha says

    Morgan’s story is quite achievable for at least a few years here in Australia, di. Especially on the East coast of Australia where “cold weather” can be as high as 15 degrees Celsius, college loans are payable only when you’re next employed in a role that can afford to pay them off (higher than minimum wage) & fishing is very manageable in most areas. The biggest cost for unexpected rent would be having to book camp space because of being ushered along by police for illegally sleeping in one’s car in a public space. Not really too much of a problem if you can make friends at each stop & ask to park on private property though.

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