Welcome to The Nested Nomad! I have been dreaming about and planning for this blog for almost a year now. I am so glad you’re here with me as I launch this concept.
These are my bottom lines: I love to travel, and I am passionate about living simply. My dream for this blog and community is to learn with you what it means to live simply, consciously, and adventurously wherever you are.
Searching for Simple
For so many reasons, I believe in simplicity: simplicity of space, of schedules, of stuff. One of the best definitions I’ve read for simplicity comes from Mark Scandrette, author of the book Free, and an all-around inspiring guy who recently spoke at our church. He defines true simplicity as, “choosing to leverage time, money, talents, and possessions toward what matters most.”
Mark’s rationale for the practice of simplicity is also incredibly eloquent and entirely convincing:
We live in one of the wealthiest economies on earth. Yet many of us feel crunched for time, stressed in our finances, or perplexed about what makes life meaningful. Our culture is driven by a sense of scarcity, fear, and an unquenchable quest for more. If we don’t make conscious choices to resist these impulses, the force of a materialistic and consumeristic society will make most of our decisions for us. The scripts we’ve inherited about material prosperity are wearing us out, robbing our joy, and destroying the planet.
In a future post, I’ll share more about my own thinking on simplicity, but for now I’ll share where I’ve been and how I got to this point.
As a Millennial, I grew up in an age of buy more, buy bigger, buy newer just because you can, and even if you can’t, put it on credit and pretend you can. I watched my parents and their generation strive for more and more, and while my parents never let work or the pursuit of things come in the way of their love, affection, and time with my siblings and me, I do see how easily those urges could have taken over.
I never want to sacrifice my relationships on the altar of possessions. I don’t think most people want to do this, but when it comes down to decision time, many of us will make the unconscious choice to put in the extra hours for the prospect of a few extra dollars, without counting the cost for our families. I have fallen into this trap so many times. I’m slowly learning and finding new ways to break the cycles of working more, spending more, and consuming more.
I believe in my bones that we were made for more than acquiring new, bigger, better. Despite what culture tells me, when I examine my desires, what I’m actually craving is experiences, learning, practice, simplicity, and time. Time to breathe and enjoy the little things. I am drawn to slower rhythms: a slower rhythm in my schedule; a slower rhythm in my conversations; a slower rhythm that opposes my usual “do more, be more, accomplish more” mindset.
Letting Go and Making Choices
In practice, Dan and I have decided that we want to cut back our spending to free up as much excess as possible. We plan to give away a large chunk of that excess. (We currently engage in giving, but we want to continually increase this percentage.) And we’ve also decided that, aside from giving, the most fruitful thing we can do for our marriage (and our future children) with the extra money we’ve been given is to travel.
Ultimately, I don’t believe travel will make me happy, just as I don’t believe stuff will make me happy. But I do believe that travel, done well, can provide the kinds of opportunities for learning, growing, and bonding that material possessions cannot.
Where stuff feels flat and two-dimensional, experiences ignite our hearts and engage our senses and usher us into a world that is bigger, more vibrant, more colorful, more staggering than we ever could have imagined. Experiences and adventures draw us deeply to the heart of the One who created it all as we experience the world and the people He has entrusted to our care.
When we learn to let go of our things, when we drop out of the rat race, when we stop believing that we need more, we find freedom. Freedom and margin in our schedules to minister to needs. Freedom to pursue what we really want to do. Freedom from being enslaved by the demands that our possessions place on us.
Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not planning to live in a house that has no furniture, no drapes, no bedding, no dishes. I don’t hate all material possessions. I have a warm and inviting home, and I enjoy showing hospitality. And it’s pretty inhospitable to usher your guests in and say, “Oh, we’re minimalists. Enjoy the floor. And please bring your own plates because we only have one.”
What I’m really after in all this is being able to say no to out-of-control spending, out-of-control clutter, and out-of-control consumerism, and yes to the things that really matter to me. Treasuring the old instead of scrambling to purchase the new. Repairing the broken instead of instantly replacing it. Seeking a person, an experience, an opportunity to serve, instead of serving my stuff.
I will be quick to admit that I don’t speak as an authority on this topic (not even close!). This is a lifestyle I’ve been pursuing for the past 1 year out of my 27 total years of living, so I clearly cannot claim expert status. But I am passionate, and I’m eager to learn, explore, practice, and share what I learn along the way.
Hopes for the Future
As newlyweds, Dan and I have spent a lot of time dreaming about and planning for our future. We desire a future that doesn’t include massive consumer debt and a constant influx of new things and a build-up of old things. A future that isn’t suffocated by too many hours at the office, by too many activities, by a cluttered house that constantly needs attention. A future that is packed to the brim with real relationships and quiet moments and making memories and finding adventures.
So how do I do all this? And how do I do it without striving and straining in the same old ways, but just in pursuit of new things? I’m not sure yet. But I’m eager to continue experimenting and to share what I learn along the way.
My hope for this blog is that if you’re searching for simplicity too, or if you’re a fellow travel lover, that you’ll find inspiration and community here. I’d love for you to join me so we can learn and grow together, build some new friendships, and spur one another on in this pursuit!