You may have seen my earlier post about why Mahmood and I decided to quit our jobs and travel the country in an RV. But there’s another reason why I was so excited about it. Imagine everything you own in a giant pile. Now imagine handpicking only the few things that you really, really love (a handful of clothes, a few favorite books, a couple cooking utensils) – the stuff that you honestly truly cannot live without – until you’re left with what can fit into a 27 foot motorhome. Does that sound scary? To me, it was liberating.

Our lives have gotten so big. Complicated. Extravagant, even. We have a lot of stuff that we don’t need, and don’t use, that clutters our lives. There’s something very refreshing about thinking about what we really need the most and getting rid of the excess. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few indulgences that made the cut (yes, my Nespresso machine earned it’s space, as did my Vitamix) but bringing those items meant I was willing to forgo other things.

For me, the process was all about simplification and prioritization and I LOVED it. That said, it wasn’t exactly easy and we all had to make hard decisions about what would stay and what would go. As Mahmood debated every single tool he needed to bring and I agonized over leaving my beloved baking supplies behind, the kids also learned about prioritization. Neela (5 years old at the time) loved her dress-up dresses and tutus, but chose to leave those behind to allow more room for her toys. Esa (who was 4) loved dump trucks and had accumulated at least 8 or 9 that he played with regularly – he picked 1 to bring. Together the kids were faced with a mountain of favorite toys, and only a small duffel bag in which to fit their most favorite ones.

I was eager to simplify my life. And I’m not just talking about things. I’m talking about simplifying everything. We were living in a 3200 square foot house that would take about 2 hours just to make it presentable when we had people over to visit (that meant shoving toys & clothes in closets – not even actual cleaning). When we moved into the RV, we had exactly 27 feet, and I could have it deep cleaned (including scrubbing fixtures with a toothbrush) in less than 30 minutes.

In the end, this simplification gave us time. Fewer toys meant less time cleaning up toys. Less time cleaning meant more time to do the things we really WANTED to do, instead of the things we NEEDED to do.

Little did I know that this trip would fundamentally change the way we thought about our lives going forward… This was the beginning of minimalism.