a digital nomad travelling around the world with just a backpack, experiencing many cultures

Feeling Light Owning Almost No Material Possessions As a Nomadic Traveler

At the time of writing this blog post, I am sitting in a beautiful cafe (The Hideout Cafe) in Da Nang, Vietnam. I just had a very strong coffee that is knocking me off my feet. Around me sit other digital nomads, who are also working on their computers. I wonder if they have a similar story - leaving their home, traveling from here to there, enjoying the sights around, and not having a place they truly call "home."

I am in my late 20's now - the older I get, the less I own. And also the less I spend, as I have chosen to live in cheap countries. From a closet full of clothes and shoes, bookshelves of knick-knacks, bags of jewelry and makeup, multiples of the same item, to just a few suitcases of all of my belongings, I feel so much better than ever before.

It was difficult initially to get rid of so much - how to choose what to bring with me abroad and what to donate? How to look pretty in just a few outfits? How to adapt to different circumstances with so little?

I came to find out that very little is truly needed to survive and thrive - a purpose in life, food on the table, a few people around us we feel supported by, a few pairs of comfortable outfits, a bed to sleep on, and our own self-love. 

I learned to love my face without makeup on it. I gave away almost all of my jewelry in an Indian village that I just came from, feeling happy with just the rings on my fingers. I wear my pajamas out sometimes when all my other clothes are in the laundry. One purse fits all occasions. No more conditioner for my hair, only shampoo.

The better I feel about myself, the fewer physical items I rely on. I have come to rely more on my personality to shine.

Psychologically, I also feel much lighter without having so many items around me. It's like I feel more self-confident because I don't need as much around me, while I also don't need as much because I feel more self-confident. It's a nice cycle that fuels itself. With each item that I leave behind, give away, or decide not to buy, it feels like my inner "body" sheds some weight!

Having fewer items truly helps me connect to deeper parts of myself and feel more genuine, longer-lasting happiness. Like abstaining from sugar for a while before having a nice treat again - the dopamine release is much stronger and more rewarding!

I know that if I ever have a fixed home one day, I'll go back to buying more items - to make the home look nice, to feel more comfortable with certain items, etc. But it's great to know that I have been able to live without many items, so that I no longer base my identity / depend on owning those things to feel good.


XOXO, Bobo


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