Leaving the illusory comfort of a nine-to-five corporate lifestyle to backpack across Europe was a bold first step into the unknown, one that I never imagined would be the beginning of a journey that transformed me from a conditioned and religious human into an agnostic nomad turned minimalist.
That first big step lasted about three months. During this time, I moved across Europe with only my backpack and an insatiable inner yearning. A yearning for what? I did not know, but I knew I had to keep searching. I also knew that returning to my previous life was no longer an option. At the time, I had no idea what my next step would be, nor did I know what any of this meant for my life. However, I was certain of one thing, that I was changing, and I was changing from the inside out.
The journey continued from Europe to Africa, where I volunteered for a couple of months in Uganda at an orphanage. After Uganda, I flew to South East Asia: where I volunteered as an English teacher in Cambodia. After seven months of backpacking through several continents, I finally returned home. I, of course, did not return as the same person and quickly realized that this new version of me did not fit into the mold of a life I had already subconsciously left behind.
Over the next few years, as I figured out how to make an income online that would allow me to travel full-time, I unintentionally—almost organically—began to clear out all my possessions. To do this was never the plan. It was a subtle change as inanimate objects began to bother me. It felt like the fewer things I possessed, the less weight I had to carry: figuratively and literally. During this process, I came to comprehend that I only need a few things to survive and to feel content.
However, not needing many things to be content was not my biggest realization; by far, the biggest realization was that traveling and being exposed to different cultures, beliefs, and ways of life allowed my mind to open and expand, and as it did, it began to shed its beliefs, ideals, opinions, and the limited view I had of the world and life and myself.
This journey, which began with an insatiable inner yearning for something, culminated with the end of that search, the end of mindless consumerism, and the end of old beliefs, conditioning, and ideologies. Not only did I become a minimalist with regard to things, but also with regard to my sense of self.