(ENG only) This recent trip to Bali made me think a lot about my relationship with stuff. Even though I consider myself someone who lives as minimally and sustainably as possible, I have a lot. A lot that guarantees me to thrive. A lot that makes me feel safe and comfortable. A lot that allows me to pursue my values and live accordingly.
I wasn’t expecting Bali to be such an amazing, inspiring, enriching, interesting place on so many levels. Everything we have been doing, seeing, trying, tasting, experiencing, has been a real hit for me and babe. And surprisingly, during this trip, I found myself doing an activity I rarely or basically never do when I travel: I went shopping. I discovered things that I genuinely liked and/or needed, or things I had on my list for a really long time and still didn’t purchase for various reasons (e.g. nut milk bag or the maxi t-shirt dress I shred in my fall/winter wish list post). So I have flown back to Berlin with more than I originally brought with me.
Does this make me an hypocrite? I don’t know, maybe. A few years back, a good portion of my holiday required some shopping, as if I had to prove to someone that I had gone on a trip and I had enjoyed it by purchasing something new from the place I visited. This certainly changed over the past few years, to the point where I kept slimming down my travel bag a lot. Well, this time was different than my previous trips. I didn’t plan to buy anything in Bali and bring it back to Berlin, but still found myself purchasing various items.
A part of me feels good about having selected items that I will cherish and care for and that were all handmade in Bali. I will be able to use them over time while thinking about an experience that I will reminisce forever. I love the idea that minimalism frees ourselves from the “slavery of consumerism”: we have fewer things in order to have more time money and energy for what really matters. But those fewer things we are left with, are important because they all serve a purpose. But on the other hand, a part of me feels “weighed” down knowing that I will come back with things I wasn’t expecting to purchase. I have picked various different items, but overall I have exclusively picked up pieces that were locally produced. Bali has plenty to offer when it comes to handmade/locally made products. I will for sure treasure everything I have bought. But these unexpected expenses will: a) redefine my financial plans for the upcoming months and b) make me carefully check if there’s anything I can get rid of. I have been planning to organize a swap party amongst my circle of friends, so this will be a great way to reconsider my current possessions and donate something that is not serving a purpose anymore.
Every time I find myself buying something or adding something to my life, I ask myself if there is something I can remove. Like a sort of “1 in, 1 out” rule, I like the idea of keeping the amount of my possessions under control, in order to avoid accumulation and fall back into the circle of having way too much. I know I don’t want to go back to the stage of having cupboards and wardrobes filled to the brim with products, utensils, clothes, knick knacks etcetera that I didn’t even know that were there in the first place. But is it wrong to have bought multiple items that I didn’t see coming? Does this makes me less of a minimalist, less of a zero waster, less of a frugal person? Well, screw the labels for a second, does this makes me less of a better, conscious person? Do I have more than I need? Is it wrong to desire stuff when it wasn’t exactly in my plans to buy it? Is there something more I can do in order to be a better version of myself? Do the donations to the non profit organization that helps animals and the beach clean ups I made while in Bali make up for the things I bought (considering that they inevitably translate into resources that were used)?
Every action we make as a consumer is a statement. Every single cent we spend says something. Every item we bring into our life tells a story. I acknowledge what I have bought and make sure to be more frugal in the upcoming months.
These two weeks I spent in Bali opened my eyes on so many levels. I started asking myself so many questions. I know that I want to make even more sure that every single item I introduce into my circle of possessions will be cherished, appreciated, taken care of. To make sure that it wasn’t purchased unnecessarily.
Do you also have these struggles as a consumer from time to time? I’d love to know!