The idea for this article started way before our departure for the gap semester.
One of our motivations for gap semester was to inspire by example, more precisely to inspire peers, friends and beyond to consider slow means of traveling to distant destinations. In our case it’s been embodied by our search (and struggle) to find an sailing embarcation to cross the Atlantic. Another dimension has been the idea to live more simply, coming back to the roots of what constitute a simple life. It is an extension of the idea of slow travel of course, being able to take the time to roam, to meet incredible people, rich of their experiences. We could be tempted to say that we ought to promote a more simple, more stripped out, way of living. This minimal, more sustainable lifestyle, as we can call it is he hope of aligning our earthly experience with our responsibility towards future generations. We referred to it as the “2 tonnes lifestyle”, a way of life roughly compatible with the Paris agreements enjoining all of us to keep our personal carbon footprint under 2 tonnes of CO2e by 2050 (on global average). In our case, we chose to explore a combination of travel adventures with a lower footprint (we may thus make our lives much harder!). But there is a catch, a sort of moral twist that we ought to expose here fully.
Alongside the precepts of minimal lifestyle lies the idea that we can be content with “enough”, what would then be necessity of telling about our adventures in that case? Shouldn’t we simply experience those travels without expanding on them?
The point I’m trying to bring across is the paradox of promoting a more simple, almost disconnected, lifestyle and the fact that we are building content from it, a website, an Instagram account and a podcast. In other words, while we may have taken a leap of faith by (temporarily) cutting from our jobs, we couldn’t resolve to “simply live the experience”. We had to generate something from it. The reasons are multiple and I wish to expose them here to determine if we are morally honest or not.
We’ve already written about this effect, the idea that one should record and promote any experience to stack it to his or her profile for future referencing. This builds your “portfolio” of experience and can allow you to advocate your choices in the future. More precisely, it counters the nasty “you took 6 months of vacations” comment. In that context, it seems to me morally questionable to promote a more simple, disconnected lifestyle while building “assets” about the experience we make of it.
On top of our reasons for creating these assets (which are here) , the question of reach is key. If we are sharing our thoughts and interviews in the genuine intent of informing about alternative lifestyles and inspire our close social circle about those experiences, the intent remains «pure» sort-of-say. If we are sharing in the hope of gaining a larger audience (an audience that would impress and bring our blog out of the amateur side hustle and into the professional sphere thus bringing further opportunities and therefore resilience) we would be dis-honest with the core of our message which is to live more simply. In other words, not in the right shoes to advice disconnection and simplicity. This is the «audience-depending» paradox that I wanted to point out here. Can we still consider our intent genuine with those afterthoughts about resilience? Is it that bad to try acquiring resilience through a side-hustle? Shouldn’t we then promote a similar (much narrower) lifestyle, combining minimal lifestyle with blogging?
The balance is fine between genuine promotion and hidden agenda, I believe there is still value in promoting the alternative lifestyles we encounter, if anything it also brings us a lot to shape this content with Estelle.