Our journey as minimalists

To our friends and family, our lifestyle as minimalists is crazy and just too bizarre to comprehend.

My mom is still heartbroken and defeated because she cannot understand how I ended up living the way I do; a university graduate who doesn’t have a 9 to 5, a car or a nice apartment to call home, in her world; my life is a disastrous cycle of poverty.

When we embarked on this journey we did not have a name for it, all we knew was that we wanted to start living with less.

Less financial burdens such as debt and unnecessary expenses, we wanted to live a life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions; our interest was in keeping things very simple. So in late 2016, we planned our move out of the city and into a beautiful house on a mountain, far from civilisation.

Things didn’t go as planned and our lives were thrown into turmoil when we were reminded that we are in South Africa, a country that has very little opportunity for African youth with alternative lifestyle ideas. The lifestyle we had chosen simply became impossible because we had no access to land outside the city. We had put our duplex on the market at a loss, were swimming in debt, with a 2-year-old and an SUV we couldn’t afford and things were about to get tougher.

The lease we had signed was not honoured and to cut the long story short we found ourselves having to rebuild our lives, again and again, something we have been trying to do since then.

A view of our current home with a spectacular mountain view just outside Hartbeespoort

Unemployed and with little to no family support, (apart from my mother-in-law who somehow understands our dream, God bless her soul) we were thrust into the world of entrepreneurship and embarked on our journey as minimalists.

My husband and I envisioned a life where we are living within a village community that we can serve so we started to develop our idea of an Aquaponics based community development project, an idea we built around the principles of Ubuntu, brotherhood and Minimalism called Ujamaa Harvest, an idea we are yet to live out, an idea that would completely manifest our ideals as minimalists.

Becoming minimalists has proven to be more challenging than we imagined, but more than anything it has clearly guided our purpose.

We began to intentionally promote the things we most valued and removed everything that distracts us from it, we started to value our relationships, experiences, and caring for our souls more.

After almost a half a decade of working very long, passionate hours to pay the bills, we ended up falling deeper into debt, one of the things that made us realise we had been chasing after the wrong things.

It has not been easy but every day we work towards living life off the grid, in a rural village and running a community project.

Once that is completed we might just work on converting a bus into our home and road trip across the country like Amber and Andy in the video below. What we are most certain of is that we will continue to embrace living with less and hopefully end up on an episode of Where the Wild Men are With Ben Fogle.

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