The Simple Life

Over the past couple of years we have been trying to simplify our lives. Little by little we have been learning about and embracing minimalism. Not that I would call ourselves minimalists but we have shifted that way.

After returning home from Roatan, we looked around and saw everything that was holding us down: a big house, big yard, the sheer amount of stuff that was around our house and yard, and our commitments. All of these things drained our money, time and energy.

Since then we have been experimenting with the degree of minimalism that we feel comfortable with. Each time we take another step toward simplifying, we feel happier, freer and more alive.

We have yet to feel any regret from ridding our lives of the unnecessary.

When we made the decision to move to American Samoa, we decided that this could be a great opportunity to further simplify. We decided not to take everything with us. We decided not to store everything back in Idaho. I decided not to teach at a gym while here. We decided not to have the kids go to school where they would be spending countless hours a day doing busy work, plus whatever homework they would be coming home with.

SL bags
Sleepy kids guarding their backpacks once we got to American Samoa.

We came with just what we could carry on the plane in our suitcases and backpacks. People keep asking when our stuff will be arriving, assuming that we have shipped all of our belongings over. Then they are surprised when we tell them that what they see here in our home is everything we have.

Now we are living here. We have five plates, a pot, a pan, a set of eight forks, knives, and spoons. We reuse food containers as our Tupperware. We use our grocery bags as trash bags. We have one set of sheets for each bed. We bought a small 32’ TV, in front of which, we sit close together when we watch a movie.

Our only time commitments are Nate’s job and our church that we attend. Outside of those two, we go where we want, when we want. When I get an invite from another mom asking if we want to join them for a beach day on a Wednesday afternoon, I have no calendar that I have to check. “Yes, we’d love to. We’re not busy.”

I don’t know how long we will want to stay like this. We might get to the point where we are craving a little more schedule. If we feel compelled to be busier, we can do that, too.

The point is that we, as a family, have never had this much freedom before!

I used to be under the impression that a responsible adult owns a house and some land. Responsible parents encourage their children to excel in as many areas as possible. If you have down time, its because you are lazy and you haven’t made yourself busy enough.

Guess what.

It doesn’t have to be that way!

We have found the freedom and courage to create the life of our choosing. What life are you going to choose?

10 thoughts on “The Simple Life”

  1. I love the minimalist life! I’ve read a couple books about it this past year and it makes so much sense. Less is more and we cherish our things and each other more when we have less. It’s not easy changing to that lifestyle though. Your family is awesome to embrace it and I’m kind of jealous of your journey. It looks AMAZING!

    1. Thanks Kristen! This has been a two year journey. We definitely started small and just kept looking for the next batch of stuff we could get rid of. Like you said, it’s more than just getting rid of stuff but valuing what and who you choose to keep in your life. It looks like you’ve been having a cool journey lately too.

  2. Will you explain a little more about education for your kids? I can understand pulling them out of school because the huge amount of busy work, but what do you do instead?

    1. Haha Nate pointed out that I might have made it sound like we are pulling them out and not doing anything more.
      I’ll be homeschooling them. I have a general idea but I’m still working out the details. It will be a lot of trial and error. The idea is, instead of following a specific curriculum, which is still going to have lots of busy work to make it fit every childs’ needs. We are looking at what the kids need to know to enter two grades up (when our contract is over her) and then working with our kids to reach those goals. We know our kids and how they learn and we can make lessons and activities work for their learning styles.
      Ask me in a couple months, we might have completely changed our minds ? but that is the plan.

    1. It is very beautiful! People say it’s like Hawai’i 20 years ago. It’s very reasonably priced here. Of course, some things are more expensive than you would find them on the Mainland- fragile produce, things like fresh berries, peaches, spinach. Housing is very reasonable and the best part is that most of your time will be spent enjoying the natural beauty of the island, which doesn’t cost a thing. Please let me know if you’d like more specifics. We have absolutely loved our time here and I would recommend anyone to have the experience of living here, as well. I’d love to answer any questions you may have.

  3. Very interesting!
    We have accepted a tentative offer in American Samoa.
    Did you bring any furniture or household items with you or did you purchase them after your move? Beds, TV etc?

    1. Sorry it took me so long to answer here. I’m glad you emailed me instead. We’re so excited to meet you and your husband when you arrive!

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