I’ve always been struggling with the question ‘what do I want to do with my life’. Studying Social Work, Cultural Anthropology, Communication, Marketing, having different kinds of jobs, I was always in search of something. Now, after ten months of traveling (and 30 years), I finally have sort of an answer. I wouldn’t say it’s the perfect answer, but at least it’s an answer.
To all the people back home, who have expectations: I’m sorry, but I won’t climb any corporate ladder.
I’ve been in New Zealand for ten months now, leaving very very soon. Without doubt, I can say this has been one of the most valuable times of my life so far. With everything I’ve learned and changed, I know that it’s going to be even better. Did I answer the question “What do I want to do with my life?”, and how? Continue to read… Continue reading →
The newest iPhone, new clothes, shoes, hot showers and big houses. Especially in the west, we are absolutely convinced we need this. This is what makes us happy, right? After six months of living in a van, experiencing a minimalistic lifestyle, my view about what we think we need has changed. What did I think I needed, before living the vanlife in New Zealand? What did I think that made me happy?
September 2016: my journey began, I went to New Zealand with my backpack
In september 2016 I went to the airport with my backpack. Some clothes, a laptop, phone, powerbank, toothbrush, e-reader, sleeping bag, some money and my paspoort. That was about it. Two months later, I bought a van which I converted into a self contained home. I fabricated a bed, curtains, shelves, a ‘kitchen’ with sink and gas cookers and I bought a toilet (which I haven’t used yet). This is pretty much all I own at the moment.
What we think we need… Do we make a mistake?
The delusion behind what we think we need is, ‘I want to be comfortable. Comfort makes me happy.’. We also think ‘I need new clothes because it makes me feel better about myself, people will like me more when I look like those women in the magazines. I need a good kitchen and a good bed because then I can cook and sleep better’.
My conclusion after seven months: this is bullshit. Comfort makes us numb.. sleepy.. We get bored, and we don’t even realise it. What about stuff? Your self confidence, feeling good about yourself, doesn’t depend on the beautiful clothes you wear.
So here’s my list of 7 things I thought I needed…
A hot shower, twice a day
Let’s start with the obvious. I’m a little ashamed to tell you this now, but I used to belong to the top 5% shower addicts in the world. Back at home, I showered at least twice a day. Ask my mom. Even as a child I showered at least 20 minutes a day, it made my mom almost cry, and the number only increased when I went living on my own. When I did my workout around noon, I sometimes showered three times a day. I loved, and still love hot showers. In the morning, I thought I needed it to wake up. In the evening, I thought I needed it to ‘wash off the day’ or in other words, to relax. Like everyone with ADD, I’ve been a troubled sleeper my whole life, and a hot shower helped me fall asleep, so I thought.
I don’t have a shower in my van (except for a portable shower) and after six months I’m convinced that we don’t need so many showers. I do still care about hygiene, and luckily I have a sink and water supply. When you travel around, there are a lot of other ways to refresh yourself. You can jump in lakes, the ocean, use public (cold) showers or go to the local swimming pool. Lately, I’ve been a huge fan of the public cold showers. I guess it’s pretty healthy, boosts the immune system. It’s the best way to wake up in the morning and I’ve been sleeping like a baby lately.
That shower doesn’t make you happy. It’s just comfort. So come on guys, save the planet, have at least one shower less a day. 🙂 (To be honest… I’m really curious how often I will shower when I’m back home)