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Made with love by Sieske Valk 2019 ©

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Lewie and Sies: Urban Nomads (Living Light)

September 11, 2016

Much has been written about the subject of Minimalism in both English and Dutch and there are even Minimalism meet-up groups where people dressed in black (it seems like black clothing is the uniform of Minimalists; guilty here) come together to discuss about interesting “stuff” in an analogue setting. I’m not planning to write extensively about the subject, I’m merely explaining how minimalist choices have made my life lighter and brighter.

 

Lewie the cat and I are officially homeless, hobos or as I like to call it, Urban Nomads. A few years back when I was still doing my Master’s thesis, my mentor and I often joked about being scientific nomads as we were always meeting up somewhere else and always had the essentials with us so there wasn't need for a creativity-restricting grey office. Ah freedom...

Never had I imagined I would deliberately choose to become an actual nomad: I had a complete set of furniture to make a home, a cat to feed and a homely personality. But here we are, with a backpack filled with essentials, a military print cat carrier (The Lewis Vuitton) and a scratching post to go...

How did we get here? And why?

The Lewis Vuitton

 

The apartment we were living in was gorgeous, spacious and comfortable. But the financial burden felt heavy on the shoulders.

After I returned from travelling I shortly considered pausing my entrepreneurial plans and start working fulltime again to pay the rent (I wasn’t allowed to get a roommate anymore so I was paying rent for two). But after a few days of stressing out I realised I didn’t need to keep the house; all I needed was a reboot. And then a good friend offered his spare room to me for a few weeks. Another girlfriend did the same. So that was it, the decision was easily made. Lewie and Sies would become Urban Nomads! At least until I figured out our next steps. I quit the apartment and only a few days later my partner (a UK resident) heard he got a new job in London. But because it would take some weeks to accumulate enough money for a deposit in that grand city, we would still be in limbo for a couple of months. But I was at peace with it. I sold a lot of my furniture which is replaceable and only kept the beautiful old and wooden stuff I didn’t want to get rid of. I sold my bike Betty, my steel horse (I very much related to the cowboy in this song whilst driving Betty) and upgraded my bicycle. I made a divide between books I really wanted to read in the future (leaving a small box full with dead tree books and a Kindle) and books which were just there as material to impress guests (three banana boxes full), leaving me with a great task of selling them on Kings Day 2017. I hired a cheap storage unit in the north of the country, packed up my essentials and am now living out of a suitcase (okay, two) and a crate full of cat and work stuff. Manageable, yes? Yes!

 

With the house and the bike came expensive insurances, taxes, upkeep costs and the like. Cut the products from your life, cut the expenses, cut the time you spend working in order to pay for them. It’s all so simple.

 

As a starting entrepreneur, assignments don’t come pouring in straight away. But because of my low expenses, I can afford to take it relatively easy and deliver quality services, to really focus on the important things and to not feel stressed when I have no clients for a few days. I am reading many books, have time to visit friends and family, prepare my website and marketing for a different city -because my services are universally applicable, I can easily transfer the company, and - last but not least - develop my own yoga practise...

 

In my days as a Human Geographer researcher, I researched many communities in developing countries where the people follow the concept of income diversification. They have several ways of earning an income and getting food (or livelihood). It is a way of creating resilience: when one variable flunks out, you will always have another to fall back on.

Although my life is currently filled with insecurities, I feel and know for certain that I will always be able to feed myself and Lewis. This is because I chose to diversify my income, and learned how to life light. I do things I am really passionate about and at any time can raise up the fire and spirit to make it work. As one good girlfriend once said: “Sies, you are like a cat. You álways land on your feet.” The only thing left to add to the equation is a positive mind set…

 

Go to next blog about Flow >>>

 

Disclaimer: I suspect Lewie thinks he’s a dog. He likes to go wherever I go. The places we are welcome to stay at are also places he stayed for holidays before, so he also feels at home there. He’s a very easy kitty and likes to travel as much as I do, as long as it is by train or bicycle and not by car. He cares about his carbon paw print.

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