Currently Wandering » Outdoor Family, Adventure Travel, Simple Living - Family of 5 Traveling the United States in an Airstream.

The Problem With Being a Minimalist Snob

We’ve happily been minimalists for the last four years. After the great purge of 2014 and hitting the road, less stuff was liberating. We enjoyed less overall consumerism and prioritizing experiences over things.

We still own stuff, its just that most of our purchases are deliberate and items tend to serve at least three purposes or be used every day to justify their existence in a small space. For example, it’s no secret I love my Blendtec Blender (in fact, it came to Hawaii with me) but I make a smoothie literally everyday. We gravitate towards outdoor gear that will hold up to the abuse we put it through, as we are out adventuring at least twice as often as your normal family. In short, we have less but usually higher quality stuff.

Our Airstream is well-oiled machine. Everything has a place, everything has a purpose and we love what we have. As our friend Ann once said, “We may not have much, but what we have is our favorite”. We analyze each purchase and if something isn’t just quite right, often we’ll replace it with something better – purging the old item of course.

We’ve done such a good job with the Airstream, that recently outfitting our condo in Idaho wasn’t too hard. We basically duplicated everything in the Airstream, added an Insta-Pot for good measure and voila! Good to go. That way we didn’t have to move things back and forth, but had our favorite salad spinner, or knife set, etc.

Turns out being a minimalist also made us into minor snobs. We don’t necessarily need expensive things, but because we have less we justify spending a bit more on what we do purchase. As I mentioned, we have dialed things in and are used to what we have and our things work well in our lifestyle. Things work, and they work well.

When we jumped on a plane and came to Hawaii, however, that all went out the window. Or into the ocean, or however you want to phrase that particular idiom. After outfitting two living spaces perfectly tuned to our lifestyle, we are suddenly in a space that is not our own on an island where the culture is much more laid back, things rust out faster than you can blink, and no one cares how nice or maybe even functional things are. It just is what is is.

You can imagine the struggle.

Its a completely different experience and one we were not prepared for. Even with Airstream travel we are used to Amazon Prime 2 day shipping. If we needed something we’d maneuver ourselves into an address and two days later we’d have whatever we needed! On Hawaii, shipping takes at least a week. If not more. And since we are out in the country most stores are an hour plus driving distance and we don’t currently have a car.

Minimalism does not equal flexibility. I used to think it did. I used to think we lived this incredible flexible lifestyle, but now I’m realizing that perhaps we didn’t. Yes our location was flexible, but we still had that comfort of “home”. The familiarity of our favorite habits or meals (cilantro is $1.50/bunch so there goes most of my easy Mexican dinners!), or knowing that my kids have a shelf full of games or a bucket full of Lego’s to pull out when they felt like it.

So we are learning to plan ahead or do without. Its a great skill set to have, and one that’s been a bit neglected the last few years. There are a few things we’ve ordered and are patiently (or not so patiently waiting) for them to arrive. We’ve also bought a few used games from some college students, and snagged a sweet deal on an inflatable SUP board for the beach. Mostly, though, we are trying to let go, to dig deep and find out what we really are made of.

It just might surprise us.

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  • Crissa - Loved this post. Moving from the 5th wheel to the Class B was a challenge. I had all the things I thought I needed in the 5th wheel. But, the downsizing forced me to keep what was really needed and defined us.

    Praying that you are able to find comfort in your Hawaiian experience.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea Elkins - Great post! I spent 2 weeks in Hawaii back in y2000, and did NOT want to return home (‘course, I never wanted to go home from a vacation…) exactly because of the laid-back vibe you describe. Hair in a ponytail, shorts & flipflops, out the door. I’m enjoying your Instagram pics, too. Aloha!ReplyCancel

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