What is Minimalism?

You may or may not have heard about Minimalism. Many people have been told that in order to be a Minimalist, you must own less than 100 things, and that you can't own a home, car, or television. These are all stereotypes.

Earlier this team we welcomed Pascale Sury and Jonathan Bradfer to ISB as part of the Visiting Artist and Scholar Programme, as they began a year long journey around the world, living a Minimalist lifestyle.

In order to be a Minimalist, you do not have to fit into the stereotype that we outlined above. Minimalism - having fewer possessions and living a simple lifestyle - is used to spiritually free us from fear, worry and guilt. The reason that Minimalists give away many of their possessions is because a big part of the population assigns a very high value and meaning to their belongings. By giving too much meaning to our possessions we tend to overlook our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute to the world.

Pascale and Jonathan are Minimalists and they came to speak to the Middle School French D students, who were studying a unit called 'Comment Voyager' about their lifestyles and travels, which left the group speechless. They started their adventure by selling their belongings, resulting in owning a backpack that weighs less than fifteen kilos, and another backpack carrying camera equipment. They plan to travel to 100 different countries that are far removed from the culture that we live in, to learn about other societies, and to find out the importance of relationships, communication, and spirituality. They will take a vast variety of different transportation methods to reach their destinations that are less touristy and more cut off from the rest of the world. They want to value the things around that you don't own, but observe and experience in life. They own a tiny house that they live in at the end of their voyages.

They truly do have to go through a lot of work, and their journeys aren't as relaxing or simple as they seem. They have to watch out for thieves, and in order to communicate with other people they need a translator. They have to carefully plan everything out because going to some places can be expensive. But to them it's all worth it because Minimalism represents what is important to them: it is about finding yourself, and finding what true happiness is, rather than finding joy out of objects and wealth.


Written by Grace Bassett, Isabelle Bass, and Eliza Levitt, Middle School News Team


See more about Jonathan and Pascale (video in French)