I’m excited to introduce you to other bloggers who have simplified, or are simplifying their lives and experiencing all the benefits that come along with simplifying or minimalism. In this new monthly simple living interview series, I’m asking each blogger to answer the same questions so that we can see similarities and differences in their individual journeys.
I write about several different topics here on Setting My Intention – decluttering, meal planning, movement, mindfulness, budgeting…not for the sole purpose of being efficient and productive, but because they are often the first steps on the simplifying journey.
I hope this series encourages you to take one more step towards simplifying your life in a way that is right for you! I know I need the encouragement to keep simplifying for me and my family. Enjoy, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Cheryl, can you introduce yourself to my readers – who you are (however you define yourself), where you live, and what you blog about?
I am more than me, I am we. My husband and I eloped in Las Vegas some 15 plus years ago, in retrospect even that was a minimalist event in our lives, a simple official ceremony with one friend as a witness and dinner and drinks afterwards. No gown, no presents, nothing additional. Then, one day, about 6 and a half years ago, our daughter was born on our homestead in Hungary. We lived quite simply before she was born and have lived even more intentionally thereafter.
Recently we spent two years in the UK as we had thought to move there for good, but life gently ushered us back to Romania, in Maramureș County, to be exact. After years of searching for that perfect place to call home, we think we have finally found it! Breb is a quiet and enchanting place where people are generously kind, horses still pull carts down dirt roads and most of the food we eat (and drink) comes from nearby.
Our blog, Handcrafted Travellers, originally started as a lifestyle/homestead/crafting blog more than five years ago, but over time we have begun to talk more extensively about ecological minimalism, simplicity and uncluttering. As sustainable life designers, we help people overcome the challenges of embracing an essentialist, unconventional way of life that always stays in harmony with nature.
What initially attracted you to simple living?
Spending way too much time in six-lane traffic to not meaningfully advance on life’s road, but rather acting like we were alive and well… this false sensation of going – or more precisely – drifting with a cultural current that was not ours… Nature beckoned with whispers of calm and the promise of adequate space for self-realization, for breathing clean air in and out.
When we finally made the move from the city hassle to the solitude of a farmstead, with almost half a year delay our belongings caught up with us: we had shipped the nonessential stuff we owned by boat and by the time it was cleared with customs, six months had passed. The strangest thing wasn’t a mad impatience about this. On the contrary, we realized that we hadn’t needed all those things – none.
The home we purchased, a solitary farmhouse with cob walls which we restored by hand, invited us to scrape the past away, round the edges, later adding our own artistic inspiration to them in form of clay reliefs.
All this newness had an educational and transformational quality to it. We gradually slowed down to better understand, feel and learn from our new surroundings. The quiet mesmerized us, nurturing our souls that felt reborn.We realized we hadn't needed all those things - none @craftedtravel Click To Tweet
What are the benefits that you have found in simple living?
Everything grew from here, this lush, fertile quiet. Grass broke free around us and quick sprang to our chests, critters gratefully moved in and delighted us with their magnificent company, deer ate the fruit we ate, rabbits nibbled the sage we enjoyed for tea.
We were hooked by the wisdom we found in nature and the simple take on life it strongly suggested to follow, with all the built-in resilience. And follow suit we did, recreating much of the resilience previously either unpractised or unfathomed by us.
From an increasingly self-reliant lifestyle we benefited a lot: growing and preserving much of our fruit and vegetables, enjoying the nutritious and healing power of countless wild plants picked literally from our doorstep, teaching ourselves a whole range of new skills that, in turn, could clothe us in a very real and original kind of way.
We could focus on the essential teachings about life and death, while we gradually became the healthiest selves we had ever been. Our daughter arrived into this calm as well and we can thank her robust agility, tremendous self-confidence and her happy intelligence to the nurturing base this simple and unhurried lifestyle offered to us all.
Once you come under the spell of simple living, there is no temptation that could part you from it.Once you come under the spell of simple living, there is no temptation that could part you from… Click To Tweet
If someone wanted to start living simply, what advice would you give them?
The first step to living simply is to embrace every opportunity to let go. Trust your intuition and know that blindly following the masses of consumers will neither bring you happiness nor satisfaction.
If the rest of society is not discovering satisfaction in their lives by filling their homes with stuff, chances are that it won’t work for you either.The first step to living simply is to embrace every opportunity to let go. @craftedtravel… Click To Tweet
Somewhere along the way, advertising taught us that we want things, and when this happens, we must have them or else… –this is completely untrue. We need certain things to survive, we do not “want” them for our existence. Once you have discovered the ability to live simply, you will realize that your needs are relatively little, and most of them cannot be bought at the store.
To live simply, you will need to get rid of many things in your life. Besides physical belongings, it is the emotional clutter that we build up year after year, often without realizing it, that holds us down the most. Our formal education informs us of how we should act and what we should strive for, it tells us how to follow and conform.
For those of us whose needs are different than normal, we must learn about and create ways to celebrate our simple homes, our backyard gardens, our minimal wardrobes and our quieter, yet more engaged, more present existence.
On the road to simple living you will meet many unconventional people along the way, sooner or later you will realize that you are quite unique yourself. Deep down we all are.
Follow Cheryl on Twitter.
What do you think? Did any part of Cheryl’s journey connect with you?