The path to minimalism is filled with struggles. Not because being a minimalist is punishment, but because this path to "enlightenment" requires letting go of your subconscious death grip on previously understood ideas. I'm seeing minimalism work its way more and more into culture, and seeing more and more people unsatisfied and disillusioned with our nation's (and many parts of the world's) consumerism.
For many people, minimalism is just practical. Everyday Minimalist* comes to mind when I think of the practicality. She travels a ton, so minimalism just makes sense. She can't afford to take everything and the kitchen sink with her. However, for others, it's a long process of realizing we have way too much Stuff. I fall somewhere in between the two. The closer you arrive towards a comfortable minimalist lifestyle yourself, the more it becomes practical.
A minimalist lifestyle is perfect for traveling. However, in reducing the consumerist and wasteful lifestyle, we're met with a challenge: the cost of travel on our world. Yes, we may get rid of everything and carry our life's belongings in a backpack, but what's the cost of flying around the country? Around the world? What's the cost of our privilege?
I know flying has a tremendous impact on our environment. However, we are able to see so many parts of the world that were untouchable even as recent as 50 years ago. I hear so many people return from traveling with a huge shift in perspective. Their ingrained Western-centric mindset has been adjusted. There is a world outside of our bubble. That kind of perspective is invaluable. I try to retain perspective, but I haven't seen these things myself. One day.
By reducing our consumerism, we can reduce the huge impacts on the environment that all our plastic crap and disposable stuff have. Purchasing carbon offsets may not eliminate this effect, but it's a good start.
Some may argue that with the internet, we're connected throughout the whole world and can see many things we've been shielded from. That is true. However, experiencing the world in person just isn't the same. You can look at pictures of the beaches and ocean in Hawaii, but until you've heard the ocean, smelled it, listened to it, you can't truly grasp it. Our privilege means we have a duty to embrace it and protect it. We're lucky that we live somewhere where we have the freedom to travel. We should take advantage of it.
*Everyday Minimalist is now over at Save. Spend. Splurge. where she continues to post matter-of-fact manifestos on life and consumerism. Love her posts!