Living Life as a Minimalist

In motivation, travel by Michael Michelini19 Comments

my buddy James Song thought of me when he got this email and passed it along – I definitely think it fits my current lifestyle and objectives these days. Its about just OWNING what we really need in life. Not to be attached to personal goods.

I took a quick snapshot of me right now, I’m hanging out in flipflops I bought here in the Philippines for $2usd (100 pesos), some cargo shorts I bought with a friend for about $5usd in China – and an old tank top I had in USA. I’m enjoying, I’m relaxed, kicked back. Slinging message on twitter, replying emails, organizing my workflow.

So the email James got goes like this – (NOTE – this is NOT written from me, haha) Well, I never had the chance to buy all this crap here:

Check this out…

I just finished selling (or giving away) all of my personal

Not too long ago my life consisted of a massive 6-bedroom
house (with many rooms I never even went into!) and
5 cars. Yes, FIVE cars. I’m a car guy, what can I say. 😉

I had accomplished what many consider to be the
“American Dream.” I had the huge house and all the
toys. The Lamborghini, Ferrari, BMWs, a Rolex
collection, an expensive wardrobe, amazing furniture,
a massive home theater, a 1,000 gallon saltwater
aquarium, the works.

And now I have NONE of it. And I’ll explain why in
a moment…

Here are some “quick facts”…

For the first time in over 20 YEARS…

– I don’t own a car.

– I don’t own any furniture.

– I don’t own a TV.

– I don’t own any books.

– I don’t own a huge closet full of clothes.


– I don’t have a HOME. Not a house,
or apartment, or anything.

By now you’re probably thinking…

“John, what the hell are you doing!?”

I decided to do all of this because I wanted
to do a new experiment on myself…

It’s a challenge of MINIMALISM.

If you haven’t yet heard about minimalism,
or read anything about it, you should. Not
only can it (I believe) improve the quality
of your life but it can also make your business
a lot more profitable.

Minimalism is essentially focusing only on
the 3-4 most important things in your life
(or business) and ELIMINATING THE REST.

There many opinions on minimalism and how
to apply it, and some approach it differently.
Do some Google searches for “minimalism”
and you’ll find lots of great blogs about it.

It’s really a growing ‘revolution’ of sorts.

I don’t agree with everything he teaches, but a
decent book you can read is “The Power Of Less”
by Leo Babauta; and he’s someone with 6 kids.
That will get you started.

Everyone will have their own take on minimalism.
But I’m willing to bet you can benefit from it.


So you’re probably wondering, if I got rid of
all that stuff, what the heck do I actually have
left? And how will I live?

Here’s a full list of the only things I now own…

– A small 28L backpack (that holds everything below)

– 5 t-shirts (4 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)
– 1 pair of jeans
– 1 light jacket
– 2 pairs of shorts
– 1 pair of running/trek shoes
– 5 pairs of boxer briefs
– Assorted toiletries
– Clothesline & large ziplock bag (for washing clothes)
– 1 MacBook Pro 15″
– 1 64GB Wifi iPad
– 1 iPhone 4
– 1 Livescribe Pen & small notebook
– My passport & credit cards

THAT’S IT. That’s all the ‘stuff’ I own. ALL OF IT.

It seems like a growing trend. I read more and more about this happening around the world. I like to think back to one of my favorite movies – FIGHT CLUB – resisting resistance, and just letting go! Why do we need this damn corporate job to buy things for a condo to show off to our friends. I have been still even forcing myself to get out of that MATERIALISTIC mindset……where things you own make who you are. I don’t want to associate myself with people who measure others in this way. These people are not worth my time. Let them run that rat race and show off to other rats in the cage. Haha.

Later I think about too many people spend money they don’t have to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like – a great quote by Will Smith and I think this gets more and more true, and sadly I seem to think so many people actually do this…

I HATE MOVING. Every time I moved, I realized how much CRAP I would accumulate. Things I used maybe a couple times, wasted time and money buying……but moving makes me realize each time that I have to accumulate less, live lighter, and JUST LIVE LIFE!!!!!

Life isn’t about HOARDING things. When we die, we can’t take those precious possessions with us, right? its about how we live life.

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  1. hey Mike, nice blog. really informative, i would learn from this. but why do you have to include me while I’m taking my nap.

    1. Author

      hey Louie,
      haha, glad you like the blog – I kept you in the photo because I was too lazy to photoshop it up! It also makes the picture more interesting!!!

      If you read back on this blog, you’ll see a lot of different experiences i’ve been through since going full time with the business

  2. Great! You have finally become the bum we all knew you were. All of your classless photos you have put here over the years have showed it, but you never figured it out. Finally, you have admitted it.
    Congrats, little fella. “To know your own self is the first step.”

    1. Author

      Thanks Billybob! I am getting accustomed to your regular comments!

      I like my freedom, its great. I used to get made fun of sometimes in school too for not wearing the nicest clothes – but hey, I’d rather have freedom then be a slave to pay the bills for some expensive clothing.

      this is my whole point of this blog!

      cheers friend

  3. mikey’s geeky relaxing look haha. gd that u feel comfy~ minimalism’s the best, being simple’s always gd.

    rich at heart’s most important thing ever in life. in buddhism, we believe we r a spirit who lives in this body for this life. but, i’v to say somehow when we dress up we feel happier, it’s corelated, it also depends on ur desire and level of satisfactory.

    everytime i ‘tidy up’ is like shopping, as there r too many craps which i bought n i couldnt remember, brand new, still nicely packed ;P
    i tried to sell many at a flea market n earned a lot ;P

    1. Author

      buddhism, maybe i should study more! But I think all religions support this idea to enjoy life itself, and not to gain satisfaction from material possessions.

      I think its by traveling internationally, when I have to constantly move things, pack bags, pay for storage of these material possessions, I more and more realize I dont need all these things…..

  4. Mike,

    Don’t worry about this troll BillyBob Fudsucker. It takes someone with an unusual amount of time and ignorance to actually take the time to be negative. I would just delete his stupid comments.

    I’ve been watching and following this blog and all I can say is keep it up. It’s good stuff and more importantly nobody and I mean no mother fudsucker or piece of shit should stop you from having a life worth living. High five you man for kicking ass and going solo.

    Reno, Nevada

    1. Author

      Thanks Mark,

      I’m glad you enjoy it – if you look back maybe a year and a half ago, I had another guy like this. I just keep on going!

      normally these kind of people tell me i’m crazy to my face in life! but I am going to keep on going, don’t you worry.


  5. hav u heard of a saying that there’s only one god, all religions which worship their own gods r actually worshipping one but in different ways.

    anyways, no matter where we r fm, values, life theories r the same~

    for storage, do u keep photos? i threw away alot of stuff but not photos n sth with memories…so i still keep a lot of craps ;P

    i think this blog’s one of ur very important posessions which u should hav a back up of it in case it’s down .. (touch wood)

    keep billybob’s! i luv seeing ppl making fun of themselves!!

    1. Author

      thanks Lammy,
      keep your comments coming!

      religion….yes, I think people all over the world like to have the feeling there is a greater good looking over them and their loved ones.

      I do get kind of lonely traveling alone…..just keep on going, right…

      Pictures….well I think my mom kept those when I was younger…and now everything is digital? I even scanned in college photos and threw away the original….no need to be weighed down with those heavy photo albums.

      Billybob, yea, i’ll let him keep his voice. I’ve had his kind on this blog in the past.

  6. babe, riding solo’s ur theme song ;P

    keep it up, being lonely sometime’s cool, u’ll enjoy being with frenz n family more later 😉

    n we always do need private time alone to refresh our minds n think abt what’s next!

    1. Author

      yea, i think its the life of an entrepreneur….and businessman…..

      having to separate yourself from friends… go above and beyond what you need to do in order to achieve success.

      never give up

  7. I like this entry – high five – I’ve reduced my monthly living expense (housing) to about 1500RMB and it performs all the necessary functions I need out of a home – I do have aspirations later in life to EXPERIENCE some toys but not necessarily to own them – ownership requires maintenance – own enough things and most of your time is spend maintaining them or the people you pay to maintain them. I want roots of substance – connections with people – not dead material weights.

    I like that e-mail as well! though when not traveling I’d hope to acquire some humble accommodations as opposed to having to use hotels for long periods of time.

    1. Author

      yes, OWNING is more of a liability to me now…..risk of it getting broken, lost, stolen. storage when you’re gone. …..

      couch surfing for life!!!!!!!!!!! but it is exhausting…..i’m sleeping on a piece of foam on the floor right now…..

  8. actually when i was reading(while translating) the email, i was thinking about fight club. and you actually thought of it, too! it’s amazing! and it’s an amazing film, too! it’s also my favourite. i obtained a lot of strength from it and it revealed for me what does being a man mean!

    and a few questions. first what does kicked back in paragraph mean? is it like refresh?
    and what does”I never had the chance to buy all this crap here” in paragraph 3 mean? does it mean i don’t accept it altoghter?
    and what does “Check this out” mean in the quote?
    i’m sorry i have so many questions, but this is a very difficult article for me and i can’t find the information through google…

    1. Author

      Hey Nigel,
      Yes, fight club really does change the way you look at life….I do remember watching it in the theatre back in New York City in the fall of 1999.

      I can imagine this article is hard to translate to Chinese….let me take your questions point by point:

      “kick back” – slang….i think the original idea is “put your feet on the desk and lean back in the chair” – to relax, get in a position of relaxation

      “never had a chance to buy all this crap” – means that I (me) have never gotten a chance to buy all the things that is quoted in this email I was forwarded.

      “check this out” – more slang…but simply means – look at this, or read what I am saying here….

      talk soon

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  11. Let me know if those stuff are on ebay

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