Article by Andrea Hofmeyr

Lloyd and Ani Hofmeyr, newlyweds in their early thirties, boldly decided to leave their much-loved, corporate lives in Johannesburg, put all of their belongings into storage, pack a backpack each and head to the other side of the globe in search of an adventure. Follow them on Instagram @hofwayround

Lloyd and I stood hesitantly at the door to my mother’s store room. It was packed to the brim; one cardboard box piled on top of the next. Six months previously, she had agreed to us using her space as a dumping ground for all of our worldly belongings. I felt the weight of those boxes wrapping around my heart; constricting it, pulling it deeper into my chest.

“All this stuff! What on earth did we need it for?” Lloyd asks me, perplexed.

In that moment, we realized the enormity of the shift that had taken place within us. Six months living with only the contents of our backpacks had entirely changed the way we saw ourselves and altered the way we wanted the rest of our lives to play out.

Lloyd and I place an incredibly high value on new experiences, personal growth and training ourselves to adapt outside of our comfort zone. We have always believed in dreaming big. More so, we believe in actively turning our dreams into reality. Exploring new places, ignites a fire in our hearts like nothing else, so with this in mind, we set our sights on the backpacking trail of Southeast Asia.

The plan was to spend six months living out of two backpacks, one for Lloyd and one for me. We would transport everything we needed on our backs; our legs carrying us from one place to the next. All that we owned would fit perfectly into the tiny, well-organised shell on our backs. As we began packing for our journey, we became more and more intrigued to see whether we would be able to cope with what looked to us, to be so little.

Downsizing on Stuff and Up-sizing on Life!

When our adventure finally began, even though the number of belongings we owned had drastically diminished, the boundaries of our world expanded endlessly in every direction. We were no longer confined by our own preconceived ideas or society’s expectations of us. Out there in the world, with 32-kilograms between us, we were freer than we had ever been.

It was terrifying.

As the weeks passed and we settled into our new found reality, our backpacks became heavy and cumbersome. We began to rid ourselves of things, a few at a time, leaving them abandoned in hotel rooms, ready to be claimed by someone else. We would move on, without a second thought. Quickly we realised that the less cumbersome our backpacks became, the lighter our spirits felt. We welcomed the feeling.

It was liberating.

Our possession-free existence served as a constant reminder to make the most of every day, to not let our momentum falter, and to look within ourselves and to one another, when we needed of comfort. We began to re-focus our attention on the things that mattered most to us. Our minds began to quieten and our souls began to feel content. Not only were we carrying less and less, but with each passing day, our ability to listen to our inner desires was quickly developing. We began feeling more in tune with ourselves and with one another. We learned how to communicate better, and watched our relationship flourish because of this. We were investing in time and in experiences, not in material things. Instead of spending our money on meaningless items, we were internalizing important life-lessons every, single day.

Downsizing on Stuff and Up-sizing on Life!

Lessons like these…

1. We need less than we think we do

When we thought we could absolutely not do without something, we tried. The world did not end. We adapted easily.

2. Things do not bring happiness, EXPERIENCES do

We constantly reminisced about eventful moments or fond memories we made on our trip. Never have we recalled anything we bought with the same warm feeling.

3. There is ALWAYS someone out there who has more than you do

Comparing ourselves to others on the road, always lead us into a dark pit of insecurity and restlessness. We no longer do this. We set our own goals and strive towards them every day.

4. There is ALWAYS someone out there who has less than you do

We stared lack and poverty in the face every day in Southeast Asia. We drew from this a feeling of deep gratitude for everything we had.

5. Experiences last longer than things do

Over the months that passed, we noticed just how battered and threadbare our belongings became. At the same time, it amazed us how clearly we were able to recall the taste of a particular food, or the feeling of our feet buried in the sand on a specific beach.

Downsizing on Stuff and Up-sizing on Life!

Keeping our minds firmly fixed on the lessons we’d learned on our six-month adventure, we turned to open the storeroom door once again.

Arduously we went through the possessions that defined us in our previous lives. Over the course of a few days, we donated and gave away over two-thirds of what we had previously owned. Most of it gone. No longer ours to worry about, to look after, to clean, to move, to repair. Gone.

Today, although our six-month trip is long over, (and our lives once again resemble more of our old corporate selves and less of the unkempt backpackers in us), we are living every day with minimal stuff. Our home is furnished only with the necessities and we buy only what we need.

Living this way helps us to keep our lives free from clutter, our minds clear from chatter and our bank accounts a lot fatter.

follow Ani and Llyod on instagram @hofwayround to see where their next adventure takes them

Images: The Hoffwayround 

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