My dad always highlighted the importance of independence. His version of it was to amass as many savings as possible, thus being financially secure and free to move or buy at a moment’s notice.
Years later, during art school in Zurich, one of my professors pointed out how true independence can only be achieved by owning less instead of more. “Keep your standard of living as low as possible while still enjoying life to the fullest. Keep your possessions few or they will end up owning you. You’ll be tied to one spot.” His sentiment echoes in my heart to this day. It was advice much closer to my own heart.
Over the years, I began living accordingly, only holding on to few memorabilia… favourite books, gifts, small collectors items I picked up around the globe, notes and photographs transporting me back to meaningful moments…. all of these items easily fitting into a couple of boxes.
In 2005, I moved to a Maldivian island where I lived and worked for four years. Assorted wildlife scrambling up and down my bathroom tree. Coconuts falling from up high and slamming into the corrugated iron roof of my humble abode during all hours of the day and night. A comfy mattress, a handful of books, and a few square meters of privacy. I loved the material simplicity of my existence on that tiny pile of sand seemingly floating amidst oceanic hues of turquoise.