March 15, 2012


Getting out and meeting people that I only know of through the Internet is not something that I usually do. Today was different when I went to meet with Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus on their “Minimalists National Meetup Tour“.

I did not know what to expect coming to the meetup. But I found Joshua and Ryan to be kind, warm and down to earth. I put out my hand to shake theirs, but I got hugs instead.

You would think a meetup tour would be about them, what they are doing and their brand- but that was not the case. They were there to connect with other people and exchange ideas. They listened as much as they spoke.

Regrettably I came late because I had the time wrong on my calendar, so I missed about an hour of discussion. While I was there, the conversation among those who came covered a wide variety of topics that included the paradox of choice, religion & spirituality, clutter, and consumerism.

Joshua and Ryan had many great thoughts to share. They were selfless in their willingness to share and be supportive of those they were listening to.

It was also refreshing to see that the minimalist approach they shared and adhered to was balanced, practical and thoughtful. There was nothing snooty or judgmental in their thoughts and application of minimalist ideas. They did not advocate the extremes that have left the wrong impression with the average person about the nature of minimalism. They understand that minimalist application will vary and look different from person to person.

They do not consider minimalism to be about how much stuff you get rid of, or getting below some arbitrary number of things. It is about finding balance with material possessions while restoring meaning and joy to your life. Instead of the emphasis being on consuming, entertainment, and getting more “things” that are temporary in the happiness they provide; we can liberate ourselves and have more time and energy for people, passions, and experiences.

I really appreciate the ease of talking to them. They were active in involving everyone who came in the discussion. They are a breath of fresh air, more so because their online personas match who they are in person. They also had an authenticity that shined right through.

They didn’t hide that minimalism initially is uncomfortable, requires planning and that it can be hard to do at first. They spoke about how they went from corporate jobs to doing what they do now, but they did not whitewash their transition or sell it as “pushing the easy button”. They were clear that they made a plan and took the time to save and pay off debts before making their moves.

If the opportunity to meet with Joshua and Ryan comes your way, don’t let it pass by. While I am at it, don’t forget to check out their book, “Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life”.

Post by Chris Harris @ Between the Temples.


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