As part of a new series, we are turning over our blog to Angeline Tan. An avid muvee user, we’ve decided to support her trek across America. Follow our blog for more from Angie and we are currently compiling her photo and video memories to share them with you all!
I’m a minimalist, favoring space and few possessions over clutter and material items.
Things frustrate me. By things, I mean material possessions. Items in the house, in our bags, cars and storage areas. Clutter zaps my energy, simply looking at them. Everytime I take over a new space, however temporary, be it a couch at Starbucks, a table in the library, a seat in the train, a friend’s car, a coworking space – I’d first clear the area of obvious litter and clean up the spot before settling in for the next few minutes or hours.
Naturally, I hate shopping. When I have to buy essential items or household appliances, I’d drag my feet to the store and fight to disperse a depressing cloud of dread as I visualize a home cluttered with more items – however essential they may be for daily use.
From June to July this year, over the course of 39 days, I rode 4,000 miles across America.
I wore the same set of cycling apparel, washed them every night when I showered, dried them when I slept and re-wore them each morning.
I carried all the gear I needed with me for 39 days – toiletries, slippers, repair kits, extra inner tubes, rain jacket, arm and leg warmers, sun block, apples, energy bars, packets of gummy bears.
Those were the only items I needed to live on each day, and they were sufficient.
I’d ride over 100 miles each day, stopping to eat whenever I’m hungry. Life was simple, and truly satisfying.
More importantly, it made me realize that I could with even lesser stuff than I already have so little of.
We don’t need much in life to survive. More possessions don’t equate to more joy. More possessions mean distractions from the truly necessary. More possessions mean more time wasted in caring and protecting them from wear, tear and damage. Lesser possessions mean more time spent on truly important things. Building relationships with people, for instance. Spending time with people that matters. Being present in the moment and taking in each experience, instead of worrying about this and that item.
We don’t need more stuff. What we need are experiences.
I got out there and crossed an entire country on my bicycle. I witnessed the most gorgeous sights, beheld breathtaking natural wonders, soaked in the beauty of nature, encountered incredible folks in small towns and big American cities, chatted with strangers about life, their hopes and dreams, savored some of the best food America has to offer – and captured all of these on film.
These, to me, are far more valuable than being a proud owner of material things. I feel extremely privileged for the opportunity to ride, am changed by the experience and humbled by the tenacious spirit that many of the folks I met displayed.
Adventures and experiences are not meant to be stashed away in sheer memory – they are meant to be shared because in sharing them, you and I are collectively connected by a common appreciation for the wondrous moments that life has to offer.
So get out there and explore life, capture precious moments and share them with those you love.
Angeline Tan, San Francisco