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Into the Wild – A Glimpse into Extreme Minimalism

2012 June 4
by Charlie

Have you ever seen the movie, “Into the Wild”? I first saw this movie in 2007, and was blown away by Christopher McCandless abandonment of societal things. Possessions that tied him down, which he was willing to give up like no one else. I was captivated by this, because I’d never seen anyone willing to abandon everything. 


As I’ve grown up I’ve seen how easy it is to be caught in the traps of wants. Even as a thrifty guy the allure of accumulating more is even harder, because I work to stretch my dollars. With that comes the capability of buying more things. But how is that fulfilling? How will that satisfy a soul at the end of one’s life? Will I someday lie on my death bed one day and say “I wish I had accumulated more things?” No. What will matter to you at the end of your life? Here are a few of my death bed questions.

  • Did I love my wife like Christ loves the church?
  • Did I spend quality time with my kids?
  • Was I honorable in character in all my dealings?
  • Was I a lover of worldly possessions or heavenly treasures? Where did I place my worth?
  • Did I fear the Lord and keep his commands?

Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:13

When I sat down and interviewed Joshua Becker from BecomingMinimalist.com he gave me a lot of insight into how “the more stuff we own, the more our stuff owns us.” It was really enlightening to me that he was right. The more stuff I accumulated the more I needed to manage it, pick it up, store it, and replace it. The Lord really challenged me after he spoke at our church on “how are my things are bringing me closer to the Lord?” Here are a few things that were brought to mind that typcially “control” our lives…

  • Big Homes
  • Expensive Luxury Cars
  • Vacations
  • Buying Crap – for me this is dollar bin stuff at Walmart/Target
  • More than one of any item

Bigger homes is a lure of mine. The more I payoff my current home and come closer to debt freedom the more I look. But I realize this is just a want. A want to store more stuff in a bigger home. The song, Society by Eddie Vedder comes to mind.

When you want more than you have
You think you need
And when you think more than you want
Your thoughts begin to bleed

I think I need a bigger place
‘Cause when you have more than you think
You need more space
by Eddie Vedder – Society

As attractive as McCandless’s life was in ‘Into the Wild’, it I occurred to me that he died alone. Utterly alone, because his drive to be free from society trumped any human interaction. I think – like anything in life -it’s helpful to find a balance. As a Christian, I’m not called to live a life of seclusion of the world. I’m called to be in the world, but not of it. So as you either begin or continue your journey in minimalism, remember that balance is a good thing.

Do you practice minimalism? Have you seen the movie, Into the Wild? What do you think about his approach to minimalism?

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Charlie

An IT professional, Charlie also buys and sells liens, lives on the cheap, runs marathons and helps to run his family farm. In his spare moments, he raises 3 children, does the dishes and writes one post a week. His former blog, Frugal Retirement Plan, has been cited by US News and World Report.

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3 Responses
  1. June 4, 2012

    I’ve never seen the movie, but I am a regular reader of Joshua Becker’s blog. I like to think of myself as a semi-minimalist. My wife and I are pretty simple people and don’t need a bunch of “stuff” to have a happy life. We haven’t gone the next steps and got rid of most of our things, but we really think through whether or not something is really worth buying before making purchases.

  2. June 6, 2012

    Joshua Becker really challenges us to just get started. Start with a drawer or closet. Something small, but a way to feel like you accomplished something.

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