Our family (well, okay, not the kids) have been striving towards a degree of minimalism. We have a long ways to go, but, with our SILK Road Trip, we have an opportunity for an experiment in minimalism.

When I say minimalism, it probably garners up images of homes with three pieces of furniture and virtually nothing on the wall. Or, that neighbor who doesn’t buy anything but just borrows it from friends and brags about how he says no to materialism but relies on others to purchase things.

No, we are talking about stepping back, figuring out what is important to our family, and focusing on that. This includes both time and possessions.

I will be the first to admit that we have not been successful, yet. That will be the focus of a future post.

However, our 32 day road trip offered an opportunity to experiment in minimalism because we can only take what will fit in our 2008 Honda Odyssey.

As we planned our trip, we had a few requirements we agreed to:

Constraint breeds creativity.
  1. No rooftop carrier. In part, because it is noisy and decreases gas mileage, but also because the more room you have, the more stuff you bring. Constraint breeds creativity, so the less room we have, the more creative we become in what we pack.
  2. Be able to see out the back of the van. 
  3. Limit how much we have to pack and unpack at each stop so that we can spend more time with friends and family.

Here is, roughly, what we packed for our family of 6:

  • Approximately 5 days worth of clothes for each of us. Each kid had their own jr. suitcase to keep clothes organized. They are all the same size and shape for easy packing into the van.
  • One large cooler
  • 3 scooters (they all fold down) to burn energy and keep the kids entertained
  • Pack-n-Play
  • A few grocery bags of food, plates, cups, etc.
  • 3 kids sleeping bags
  • Pillows for everyone
  • About 9,000 movies and audiobooks, organized into DVD binders (we only watched about 5 different ones)
  • A couple toys and books for each kid
  • Laptop, iPad, and associated chargers

We met our packing goals – and, it worked pretty well. Now, admittedly, the generosity of our friends and family we stayed with helped – they provided us not only places to stay and meals to eat, but, for those with kids, new toys for our kids to play with.

That being said, our kids were forced to be creative in their play and learn to ride their scooters better. And, we were forced to find new and creative ways to eat on the road. And, we got pretty quick and loading and unloading the card.

In the end, we were able to spend more time with the friends and family we were seeing on the trip.


The Minimalists website

Becoming Minimalist website by Joshua Becker

Books by Joshua Becker