Today I'm not only hosting CCS's first guest post ever, I'm hosting a guest post written by my very own witty and charming husband. He has been a huge support to me with this blog and it just felt natural to have him write the first guest post. He also has some really insightful things to say about minimalism, I love hearing his thoughts on these sorts of things and I hope you will too.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Nothing motivates and focuses a person like extreme circumstance. For me, international travel has been and currently is my catalyst for minimalism. Minimalism seems like a recent phenomenon, although people have been taking vows of simplicity and poverty for centuries. We now have a variety of flavors. We have reactive minimalists who feel overwhelmed by the clutter, expense and maintenance demands of their possessions and toss them. There are upgrading minimalists who see an opportunity to trade large mounds of moderately-priced stuff for small mounds of very expensive stuff. And there are also purists who hope that further pursuits in minimalism will positively improve their spiritual state. But you know what? It seems that no matter what your reasons, having less stuff is generally better.My First Taste of MinimalismPersonally, the first time I encountered minimalism was when I took a great internship in Central Asia. One of the requirements of the internship: Everything youâ€™re going to bring for the entire summer needs to fit in a single backpack. This is no problem, until you start to make a packing list. You buy the biggest backpack possible, and then you have to start assessing what matters most to you.DVDs? Basketball shoes? Asterix comics? Out. My collection of invaluable books? My running gear? Soccer jerseys? Also out. My computer? Cell phone? Now weâ€™re getting serious, butâ€¦out.It turned out that some things were absolute hits (powerbars, high quality coffee, pocketknife, camera & journal) and some things were not (you donâ€™t need sweaters, professional attire or water shoes in 100 degree rural mountainous terrain). A lot of the stuff that I had worked to procure over the last four years were being unceremoniously stored in a closet stateside.It turns out I didnâ€™t miss my stuff. I had a great summer. I learned that being bored doesnâ€™t kill you. I found it actually fosters introspection, self-discovery and creativity. I learned that building friendships with people different from yourself is one of the best investments of time possible. I learned that a really good cup of coffee is worth a 45 minute walk in blistering heat, and there are people who feel the same way, no matter where you are in the world. And I learned that all your hard earned stuff is just that â€“ itâ€™s just stuff, and peopleâ€™s happiness does not need to be tied to the amount of stuff they own.When I got back to the States, I felt this overwhelming urge to get rid of a lot of the possessions that I had accumulated through college. I loved getting rid of nearly two-thirds of all my possessions. It was absolutely cathartic, and I felt empowered, knowing that I had survived with so little and learned so many valuable life-lessons. Minimalism: Round 2Fast forward a dozen years or so, and Iâ€™m kind of back at this point. International travel. Different specifics, way more stuff, more than one backpack this time, but a similar scenario. And Iâ€™m reassessing - what do I have that I really need and enjoy, and what things are just weighing me down and consuming space in my house? I suppose in theory, I should be saddened by the idea that I am going to have to liquidate a significant portion of my possessions. And yet it doesnâ€™t make me sad at all. I feel like Iâ€™m throwing aside a heavy suitcase that I have been dragging around with the vague fear that someday I might need the contents inside.If history is any predictor of the future, Iâ€™m guessing that I will feel much freer, and stand to gain a new perspective on life, happiness and my material possessions. And that is worth much more than my pile of stuff. Some ideas on how to a take your first (or another) step on the path of minimalism:Get rid of books that you've completed. Take them to a used book store; give them to people who will enjoy them; but donâ€™t horde them.Simplifying you schedule â€“ think about what 3 things youâ€™d do in a perfect day and write them down on a note card. Strive to include more of those things and less of the other things you spend time doing (but maybe donâ€™t even like).Think about what things in your life youâ€™ll be glad you did in 6 months, and which things youâ€™ll forget that you did tomorrow. Do more of the former. Go through you closet and donate items you havenâ€™t worn in 6 months to a shelter or thrift store. Even if theyâ€™re still good clothes. Someone, somewhere, will be grateful for your generosity. Pick two or three pursuits youâ€™d like to have as hobbies and get good at those things â€“ and liquidate all the other hobby paraphernalia that youâ€™ve dabbled in over the years. Start or join a Toy/Book/Clothe Share for kids around the same age as yours. In the eyes of a child, someone elseâ€™s toys are always preferable to their own! In what ways have you embraced minimalism? James has been traveling since he was two years old, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes not. He is happily married to his best friend and has one fantastic daughter. He also loves hiking, minimalist running, photography, Irish whiskey, and reading anything he can get his hands on.