How to Be a Minimalist Vegan


I’ve been a minimalist for the last 15 years.

I moved a lot so it made sense not to accumulate things. When I moved to Colorado from New Hampshire in 2004 everything fit in my car. I may have packed too many boxes of books for a move across the country but many of them were books about the west that inspired me to be a westerner so they had to make the trips. However, many of them didn’t make the trek back to the east coast since eventually I donated them to local libraries. 

When I lived in Steamboat Springs, Colo. I didn’t have a need for much furniture although I did have skis and a bike. I lived in apartments and houses where all I needed was a bed and a desk (always a desk for writing).  When I moved to Granby, Colo. the condo I bought was furnished so I didn’t need to buy a TV, washer/dryer, sofa or dining room table. The condo was later sold with most of its contents. Again, when I moved to Tucson very few things came with me other than books, kitchen stuff and clothes. When I moved back to Colorado even less came with me, and my collection of books could fit in one box.

Part of being a minimalist is reading books and watching DVDs from the library. I just love the Concord, NH Library. They have a huge book and DVD collection. I watch many shows and movies on Netflix. For music I have Napster for songs to run to on my iPhone. Books, CDs and DVD do not fill the spaces in my house like they used to. When people walk into my house they see uncluttered space.

I’ve been vegan for about two months now. And while I know that I will never eat meat again, eating animal by-products such as cheese and desserts that have eggs and butter in them have been the hardest to conquer; they are my cheats. I like being vegan and do it for the animals, and I do it to help reduce my carbon footprint. I’m not sure that eating vegan has made me feel any different, yet. I have lost weight and feel lighter but I don’t feel like I have more energy. 

I joined a Facebook group called Minimalist Zero-waste Vegans because that is what I’m striving for in my life – all three aspects. I know I’m not perfect at it but I work at it. I really like the idea of repurposing clothes and all the different ways to live more simply.

Here are some websites I like:

Running Five Days in a Row

As a test, I decided this week that I would run five days in a row. My friend Mark out in Houston is also testing himself, also running five days in a row. However, he is running 10 miles each day; I didn’t have a set number each day.

Saturday, today, I woke up a little sore but not much. Mark is glad the test is over.

The idea is to set my mind on little goals I could tackle each day to prove I could do it. Next week I will try to run five miles every day for five days.

To stay motivated I incorporate a strategy called Baby Steps, stolen from the acclaimed movie, What About Bob:

Such a great movie and a great principle;  remember to look at what is right in front of you instead of tomorrow or a week from now. It really helps to settle the mind. Just run the five miles each day. 

With that thought I’m off to walk the dogs on this beautiful Saturday morning in Concord. The sun is trying to break through the clouds; this day is a gift.

Christmas Party in February, Reflecting on Friendship

Love & Light

This past weekend I attended a Yankee Swap Christmas Party with my friend Jeff. This group of friends have know each other for almost 30 years. To me, that is simply amazing. While I have friends I’ve stayed in touch with for about 25 years, we don’t see each other regularly much less have an annual gathering. The party was delayed from December so that everyone could attend. I love that – the day was changed several times to allow all (about 40) people to come.  

Jeff and I have been friends since around 1995 when we worked together at an insurance company in Portsmouth, NH. He’s visited me in all the places I’ve lived: Bethel, Maine, Killington, Vermont, Granby, Colorado and Tucson, Arizona.

The invitation to the party came through text: “Would you be up for a scary group gathering for a few hours, meet new people?”

Ha! Attend an event with a group of people I don’t know. OMG. The invitation made me laugh and since I’m trying to do things that force me to break out of my comfort zone I replied, “Oh sure I need to have new experiences.”

The night was very fun and Jeff’s friends are pretty awesome. Everyone was very friendly. Doing what introverts do, Jeff and I sat on the sofa and played cribbage. I almost won. I rarely win against Jeff, however I was 5 points from the win when he came from behind with a great hand. 

The especially fun part of the night was the Yankee Swap. I drew #21 – a good number to pick a gift I really liked. My gift was a beautiful, heavy blanket. I loved it and kept it. But a few numbers later I lost it to a bag of gifts that contained a Love pillow, candle and lottery ticket.

I left before the food came and headed home to beat a snow storm. I got home and thought about the evening and my gift.

Here’s what I think:

I really enjoy hanging out with people my age.

I think the evening was very symbolic especially at a time in my life where I’m more reflective than normal. I’m writing more than ever, and once again, trying to figure out how all the pieces of my life fit: career, relationships, travel, adventure, faith.

I am so thankful for the friends in my life who show up, call, text, email and invite me on adventures. I’m especially thankful for my parents. 

The Yankee Swap gift was symbolic:

  • The LOVE pillow: I need more love in my life. I need to give love and be more open to love.
  • The candle: I need more light in my life – give light, be the light.
  • The (losing) Lottery Ticket: I don’t need more money or things. Having enough money is good but I have what I need.

Travel Light, Be the Light