Minimalist Camping…Can it be done?

Last week, my family decided we needed to get away for a bit. We chose to take a quick camping trip for 3 nights. It was a great trip minus the heat, black flies and falling out of a canoe. However, I can honestly say, we have not mastered minimalist camping!! As we began the packing process, we really were trying to pair down and not take too much, yet somehow by the time our wheels hit the pavement, we had a full truck bed!

As we set up camp, I quickly realized that we had brought too much with us, yet also not enough. For example, we had everything we needed to shower, have a dance party with solar lights, and cook meals over a fire. We however did not bring enough blankets, bug bite creams, or shoes! I quickly realized on night one as we snuggled into our tent for bed, that it was about 20 degrees colder than we expected and I couldn’t get close enough to my husband to warm me. I kept picturing the scene from “The Revenant” when Leo DiCaprio crawls inside a dead horse to stay warm. I just wanted to be warm enough to not shake!

“I kept picturing the scene from “The Revenant” when Leo DiCaprio crawls inside a dead horse to stay warm.”

Kelly Hoover

The next day, we headed out to take a lovely 4 hour canoe trip, that turned into a 6 hour canoe trip, and some very sore arms. It was such a fun trip! The kids were having a great time anchoring us down with a tube! Seriously, every foot we moved forward was like being at the county fair competing in the tractor pull! We later had to put it in the back of the canoe, once we realized our pick up person may send a search party if we don’t get moving!

“I could see myself practically flying through the air, feeling full on bird like majestic…”

Kelly Hoover

We finally stopped for lunch at the perfect spot. It was a little sandy spot with a nice rock to sit on. After lunch, I decided I would be the one to push us off, back into the river. As I straddled the canoe with my good leg in and my bad leg stuck in that lovely sand we enjoyed so much, I quickly realized I was in a pickle and wasn’t going to make it out of this one unscathed! I was already in too deep, and as I tried to launch myself into the boat I could see myself practically flying through the air, feeling full on bird like majestic, just to realize I hadn’t actually gotten out of the sand. Instead I had pushed the canoe further away causing my straddle to be more like splits, and for my leg to hit the side of the canoe like a slingshot. I flew backwards onto my bottom, and immediately felt the rush of cold water over my body. As I quickly recovered and realized I was not actually hurt, (at least not as bad as that time I rode a mechanical bull. True story for another time!) I could hear the resounding laughter of my family. I ended up with a nasty bruise, but it was worth it to see my families reaction, and hear them poke fun at me for the next 2 days. Watching your kids replay a fall, is highly entertaining in some odd way, even if it’s your fall they are reenacting!

As our trip was coming to a close, we started packing up all of the gear we so carelessly packed. As I packed up the lights, the extra table, and the 3 rugs, I looked at my daughter with blood running down her neck. Blood Running down her neck! She had been bit 4 times by black flies. I never knew that such a tiny bug could cause so much bleeding! I again realized that, while I had brought so many things I thought we might need, I didn’t bring the right bug bite cream. My poor daughter took it like a champ, and we wiped up the blood and got her fixed up when we got home.

What I learned on this trip was that we don’t need nearly as much as we took, but we need to take care when packing and make sure we have the essentials to keep us warm, dry, and safe. While this trip had many bumps (and bruises), it was so much fun. We made a ton of memories and enjoyed just being together. The beautiful thing about minimalism is that while we may need to master our packing, we were able to take off for a trip without worry. We could leave on a whim, and not feel the pressure of life and daily duties. Our lives have been simplified so we can enjoy every minute. We can laugh at ourselves, and spend time in the moment. This is what I saw when we chose minimalism. This is the lifestyle I will choose again and again.

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

Finding Focus

Putting our Focus on what is most important, is a valuable life goal. While I have never been much of a focused person per se, (SQUIRREL!), I have found minimalism has helped me to, dial in on what is most important to me. I recently heard this idea of Inheritance and what it means. Often the idea of inheritance is focused on the assets and material possessions that make up our Will. What if we could leave something much greater than money or possessions?

I believe we are all striving for the best. For some that is new homes, cars, trendy clothes, or money. As my journey to do more with less has taken off, I am thinking hard about what is most important in my life. Not just for today but for the future. One thing I believe many of us have in common, is that if we have kids, we want them to be loved well. We strive to be the best parents we can be. Here is where I want us to tune into and focus the most attention on. Leaving a Legacy.

Joshua Becker said it best, “Inheritance is the Legacy we leave behind, and the example we set.” Let that sink in a minute. Did you hear that in the back pew? The LEGACY we leave behind. The Example we set. Our children will be better off spending quality time with us than if we left them $100,000! Sure money is great, but teaching our kids valuable life lessons is far greater.

“Inheritance is the Legacy we leave behind, and the example we set.”

Joshua Becker

So how do we focus our attention.

  1. Make time to be together. Allow yourself to play, read, and laugh together. This doesn’t need to be complicated.
  2. Teach them new things. This can go as far as teaching your child to cook, or as far as teaching them a trade. Our children want to learn new things, we just have to be patient enough to teach them.
  3. Be a good example. Don’t just use words to tell your children what they should do, show them in your own actions. Our daughter loves to ice skate, she however hates to stretch. (like is stubborn enough to sit in a v sit, but not actually touching her toes.) We have started making time to stretch as a family to show her that not only is it good for her body, but that we support her in this. Taking time out of our day to do this with her shows her how much we believe in her.
  4. Think about the legacy you want to leave. Consider what you want to be remembered for. Do you want to be remembered as an honest person that helped others? How about a patient person, that loved telling stories? Maybe you want to be known for telling jokes or making others laugh and smile. Whatever you want to be, you need to cultivate that and mold your life around it.
  5. Develop Character. We hear this term often when talking about home remodels, but what about as people. Character is built as we grow. Teach your children to be kind, honest, trustworthy, empathetic. Teach them character traits and model what good character looks like.

As my kids are getting older, our lives have been improved by living simply. I believe when they are adults, they won’t look for an inheritance of fortune, they will cherish the moments spent together. In a world that tells us more is better, I want to teach my kids that having it all doesn’t provide happiness. Our happiness isn’t found in mansions, cars or clothes. We live in a time where most of our world is living beyond their means and in debt. Our debts are so large, that some of us will spend our lives paying it off. We struggle to keep up with it all. So let’s choose today, to stop the madness! It doesn’t matter, none of the stuff you accumulate matters, especially if you didn’t build relationships along the way.

This weekend my daughter was talking with her cousin after a long day of celebrating her brothers birthday! As they were leaving and giving hugs, the topic of stuff came up and my niece said, “I like having stuff! I don’t want to get rid of all my stuff!” My daughter looked at her and said, “Minimalism is awesome! We get to DO so much more now. We even get to travel more!” What struck me in that moment is that life doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. That’s what’s so great about living simply. While my niece prefers to keep her stuff, my daughter doesn’t feel pressure to do the same. The love between them is far deeper. It doesn’t matter to my niece if she comes to my house and has fewer toys to play with, they still can make memories together.

Leave a Legacy that you will be remembered for. Go out and live this crazy life chasing YOUR dreams!

Live Simply Friends,

Kelly Hoover

Quiet the Voice of Want

Quiet the Voice of Want…

Our lives revolve around consumerism and stuff. We buy more and more, and frankly have little to show for it. Yet, I too, know that quiet voice telling you to shop more. I grew up in a home where we bought a new outfit for every special occasion. These were not always brand new items from the store, sometimes we found amazing deals at thrift stores. However, that was ingrained in me to purchase something new, for every event. As an adult, I found old habits hard to beat. Until I chose to pursue a life of less. There is hope, and promise in what I am about to tell you to quiet that voice inside.

When you feel the desire to shop for something new, consider why you feel this way. Is this simply because it is habit, or maybe even, dare I say, addiction? Could it be that you have never taken another path and so you know no different? Asking yourself first and foremost, why you have the desire is a good place to start. If it was on impulse, or addiction or boredom, choose to say no.

Could it be, that you have never taken another path, and so you know no different?

Kelly Hoover

Consider your priorities. Why are you choosing to live minimally? For my family it was about simplicity. I was sick of managing all that was coming into our home. Laundry piled high, dishes in the sink, clothes I never actually wore, toys, gadgets, craft supplies, etc. I felt drained by all my stuff. None of it actually spoke life into me, instead it caused me stress even when I wasn’t staring it in the face. It was on my silent to do list. So we simplified our home and found it functioned 100% better than before.

When I consider making a purchase I have to decide if it actually goes along with my priorities. If it doesn’t then I choose to move along and leave it in the store. If you are anything like me, though, it took time before the voice within quit shouting at me to consume. I started by not watching tv, or listening to ads. After a month of reducing the amount of ads I heard, I found my mind quieting and the need to shop for something new, fading away.

The more time I spent doing things I wanted, in place of shopping, I found the happier I was. I truly was tired of keeping up with it all. I didn’t care if we had everything that everyone else had. I was content in my home and with my family.

Once I stopped allowing myself to feel the shame and guilt of not having it all, I found a deeper peace. When I look at my life now, I still have things, but now my things are manageable. We still have our share of board games, books and outside toys. Those things we will keep, because they bring us together as a family, and help us create space for quality time together.

Once I stopped allowing myself to feel the shame and guilt, of not having it all, I found deeper peace.

Kelly Hoover

Being intentional is one of the greatest gifts of minimalism. Not just with your purchases, with your time, your energy, your health. As we cultivate our desire for an intentional life, we quiet the voice once more of consumerism. When we fill the space that was being stolen from us with consumption, we find the voice slowly is growing quiet.

Finally the way to silence the voice of consumerism, it to simply be grateful. Have a deep gratitude towards life. Be thankful for all you have, all you do, and all you are. When we can be thankful for the little things in life, we begin to only allow our hearts and minds to be filled with good.

Simply be grateful.

Kelly Hoover

If you are ready to embark on your own journey of simple living, I would love to help you. This life of less is so much more.

Live Simply Friends,’

Kelly Hoover