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Sporty and I thought it would be really interesting to shine a spotlight on other minimalists (people who’ve downsized, are living with less, etc.) to see what their lives look like.
We came up with a set of 10 questions (the last of which we believe to be the most important) and we’re asking everyone we feature to answer them.
Same questions, different answers. It can only make for interesting reading.
Some previous interviewees include Ryan from The Tiny Life, Claire from Want Less, Mr 1500 from 1500 Days to Freedom, Bill Powers, award-winning author of Twelve by Twelve and New Slow City, and Al and Shelly from Sell All Your Stuff. We also featured ourselves because, well, why not? (You can see the rest here.)
We all arrived at the idea of living a simpler life in different ways, but I think it’s safe to say that all of us are enjoying the many benefits of downsizing.
Matt (or Daniel?) skiing in Whistler
Spotlight On: The Resumé Gap
This week we shine a spotlight on Matt from The Resumé Gap. Proving that you don’t have to be retired or have a trust fund in order to travel full-time, Matt and his partner Daniel achieved financial freedom in their late twenties. In early 2016, the couple quit their jobs, sold most of their possessions, and hit the road indefinitely. Their goals were simple: live adventurously, spend more time with friends and family, and explore the world.
Growing up with Baby Boomer parents meant it was instilled in me from a young age that my mission in life was to find a good job and stay there until they gave me a gold watch or I keeled over from boredom (whichever came first). My father lasted long enough at his job to receive that coveted watch, but when he retired a few years later his pension barely covered their living expenses.
I love how different things are nowadays, with more and more people un-cubicling themselves at a much younger age than my dad’s generation could ever have fathomed. Yes, as much as there’s an increase in early retirees like Matt and Daniel, there are still a great many folks out there who still believe in the old ‘one job for life’ adage.
These guys serve as an inspiration to us all that becoming financially independent from a young age is more than doable. Check out their website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to find out more about their lifestyle and see the many amazing places they’ve visited so far. Enjoy.
What Was Your Tipping Point?
What prompted you to say, “Screw it, let’s just sell everything!”?
Daniel and I had both been working stressful jobs and were feeling burnt out and ready for a change. For me, it was the constant work travel and feeling of always needing to be available by phone and e-mail, even late at night and on weekends. For Daniel, it was the intense and exhausting days doing direct service for a non-profit organization.
We took a week off in early 2015 and spent a day at a National Monument in a remote part of Idaho, in the northwest of the U.S., where we had no phone service and hardly saw another visitor all day. That day of total detachment from work was when we decided we were going to sell our things and start traveling full-time. Just under a year later, we took the leap!
Byzantine church in Athens (one of many, apparently)
How Do You Earn a Living Now?
Is it different than to your pre-minimalist days?
We’re living primarily off my savings right now. Even when I was working full-time, we made an effort to live simply and save the majority of our income, which has given us the flexibility and comfort to take time off now. I’ve continued to do a handful of short consulting projects and “side hustle” work, though the time commitment for those is pretty low.
It’s an absolute joy to spend our time as we please rather than be limited to just a few weeks’ holiday each year. Surprisingly, traveling full-time has actually been less expensive than our old lifestyle at home, which has made it easier to do this long-term.
How Much Stuff Do You Own?
How much of it do you travel with?
We sold or donated the majority of our big items, including a bunch of furniture, electronics, clothing, and kitchen stuff. Our minimalist dirty secret is that we still own a bed and a few pieces of living room furniture, which are currently residing in my parents’ basement. The longer we’re away from those things, though, the more I wish we had just sold them, too!
We travel ultra-light. For our three month trip in Eastern Europe this summer, we each carried only a small backpack weighing around 6 kilograms (or 13 pounds). We have three changes of clothes, a few basic toiletries, one laptop, and that’s about it! For the road trips we’ve taken in North America, we add a few more days’ worth of clothes and our camping cooking gear, but not much else.
Is There Anything You Regret Getting Rid Of?
Not a single thing. Imagine that: we got rid of hundreds of things in our lives occupying space, money, and energy, and I don’t miss one of them.
What Are You Happiest About No Longer Owning?
My car! No other possession occupied as much space, cost as much money to maintain, or brought me more stress. Handing the keys to its new owner was probably the most satisfying part of preparing for traveling full-time, and also the moment when I realized, “Wow, we are really doing this!”
Camping in Wyoming. Now that’s the life, right?!
How Do You Handle Gift-Giving?
For each other (if you have an other), friends, family, etc.
We called off gift-giving with each other and most of our family members a few years back, and I highly recommend it! With the few family members who still insist on exchanging gifts, we try to do small, practical items rather than junk no one wants. I like giving consumables (like local coffee, tea, beer, and wine) rather than “stuff.”
What’s Your Debt Story?
Do you have? Did you ever have? How did you deal with it?
We’re fortunate to have never gone into any consumer debt, which helped immensely in saving money and being able to take time off from work. Daniel graduated with $23,000 of student debt but worked diligently to pay it off before we began traveling.
Exploring the streets of Berat
Ang: In case you’re also geographically challenged, Berat is located in south-central Albania (I had to Google it).
Sporty and I Eat a Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet.
Is this something you could see yourself doing? Tell us about the kind of food you enjoy.
Trying local cuisine is one of our favorite parts of traveling, whether it’s spinach burek in the Balkans or Indian fry bread in New Mexico. It’s particularly challenging, though, to maintain a healthy diet on the road, so we try to balance restaurant dining with a lot of home cooking. We cook mostly vegetarian at home, which is less expensive and better for our health.
What Does the Term ‘Carbon Footprint’ Mean to You?
It’s something we think about a lot, both at home and while traveling. Frugality and low-carbon footprint living often go hand-in-hand, so the economical choices we make (like biking to work and turning down our thermostat) are often also the environmentally friendly choices. Flying across the world obviously burns a lot of fossil fuels, but the slow, long-term travel we’re doing now actually represents a significant decrease versus our old lives working full-time.
Do You Like Peanut Butter?
Our go-to morning meal at a campsite is a bowl of cereal with banana and a scoop of peanut butter. What’s not to love?
Ang: If it carries on like this y’all are going to think I’m doing it on purpose, but I swear I’m not! There just happen to be a lot of people out there who happen to love peanut butter. And as Matt so rightly says, what’s not to love?
*We’re keen to earn passive income to fund our coffee habit, but we’re definitely not going to be shifty about it. This means we’ll only ever link to something if we’ve personally used it, eaten it, read it, or whatever, and are 100% impressed. Also, it won’t cost you anything extra if you purchase something via our link. The vendor has to cough up our commission fee, not you. 😉