Toward Freedom

Short Anecdote of Minimalism

For a few months in college when I didn’t have a car to commute from home nor $10,000 for room and board, I was voluntarily homeless, sleeping in a hammock with my clothes stored in the gym locker room where I showered; my books were scattered throughout the library shelves; important documents, tests, notes, and stuffs were stashed in an abandoned locker in the basement; I dined with friends, snuck into the cafeteria, and microwaved simple foods.

Part of this kayak trip is to make a concentrated push toward true minimalism. I will consume as few bites of food but with the most calories as possible – certainly no meat. Simple paddle strokes to self-propel emitting zero carbon for miles and miles exudes minimalism. My kayak itself is minimal with its simple seat, small area to strap things onto it, and even less space for watertight storage. With one pair of clothes, sandals, no socks, no underwear, no soap, and no deodorant, I will find a balance in nature where the space that my skin meets the air becomes transparent and one. Bringing only one book of poetry, packing as many valuable words on as few pages as possible embraces minimalism. Sitting among the fish and turtles, herons and ducks, mosquitos and cicadas, the water-pulsing vein of America, and the Midwestern breeze. Praying simply, breathing intentionally, speaking minimally to maximize mental balance, spiritual attunement, and universal awareness.

The Direction

 This lifestyle is a natural leap for me. Should everybody be extreme like this? Probably not. But do you use your phone too much? Own too many clothes? Play too many video games? Eat too much? Any time I feel like I’m becoming attached to something, it goes.

  • When I knew, ‘I could not get rid of my phone,’ I sold it.
  • When I realized I had too much stuff, I Ebayed
  • When I couldn’t not check Facebook more than twice a day, I deactivated.
  • When I felt that my beard became synonymous with my identity, I shaved.

As with this trip I hope to make all aspects of life minimalistic. I have suspicions as to how my return to life after ‘yaking the Mississippi will be amended, but no clear vision. I am currently pursuing minimalism, but it’s not a dedicated lifestyle yet. Current minimalistic tendencies include: vegetarianism, living in a barn, showering less often than most, owning little (definitely no television), moving and living in Asia with only two bags of stuff (the majority was regrettably too many clothes and an excess of books), sleeping less and more efficiently.

The Goal

Freedom is the goal. Freedom in detachment. Freedom from screens. Freedom in silence. Freedom from stress. A freedom in nothing toward an Everything.

Embrace only the natural and the utilize the least amount of stuff to find the beauty and glory of the creative Magics everywhere.

Update on Polyphasic Sleep

 Temporarily abandoned. Because the sleep schedule requires a weeklong investment of sleep deprivation and I’m also endeavoring to kayak the Mississippi River, which requires mental (studying maps, plotting, meeting with fellow yakers) and physical (kayaking, yoga, kettle bell workouts) preparations. When I started planning for this trip I was four weeks away from departure and that one week that would be sleep deprivation was very valuable. When I return home, I will reattempt polyphasic sleep.


One thought on “Toward Freedom

  1. Hi Josh. I admire your spirit of exploration, curiosity and quest for challenges. Many people mistake minimalism for deprivation, but what is called minimalism is actually about making clear choices, ultimately based on an examination of values, and living according to those values. Making this choice has many advantages, both tangible and intangible, so really no deprivation at all is involved, and usually quite the opposite. There is also so much confusion expressed by the phrase “living with less,” as though having a much clearer, more intense experience of life due to clear choices constitutes “less.” I gave up television years ago, but I gained so much time, a clearer mind, the lack of temptation to buy idiotic, unhealthy junk advertised on television, better conversations, and a much broader perspective from reading, instead of watching the boob tube.

    Anyway, I ended up writing a book about all this–not just a deep examination of the effects of our possessions on us, but making the case for living a much more fulfilling life through freeing yourself from the destructive distractions of materialism, and living in relation to values, not just “stuff.”

    The book is called “Living Much More through Buying Much Less,” and is available on Amazon and Smashwords:

    There is also a web site for the book, which includes a free PDF of the book:

    If you find the book worthy, I’d very much appreciate your mentioning it to anyone who might be interested or might be helped by its message.

    By the way, I gave most of my possessions away, including my bed, and now sleep happily on an REI camping pad, either inside or outside. Outside is better, because of the delicious cold night air, and the glory of the starry sky.

    Thanks, Josh!


    Firinn Taisdeal


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