Traveling Light

nomad living

Early this morning, Ken and I were having breakfast with his aunt, chatting about history and society and the future – how the Internet has shaped our culture and what might be next for our tiny corner of the world. And we couldn’t help but feel a pull to nomadic living – a tech-free existence with a smaller footprint and bigger rucksack, ready to roam parts of this world we haven’t yet considered.

And although my mind immediately drifts to the creature comforts I’d miss: hot showers, a cheese-filled refrigerator and a drawer full of very black mascara, I also think there would be something beautifully freeing about the experience. And so of course, Chmara Rosinke’s living cube is rattling around in my brain this afternoon.

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Chmara’s project, titled 2,5³ is a minimal living cube designed to revolutionize social canons and mobile living structures. “A negation of consumerism and the idea of contemporary nomadism led us to various visionary concepts like modular microh0uses,” the girl-and-dude designer duo (who are both under 30, btw!) write. “We just need less space, as there are less books, less paper, no fax, no television and so on.”

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And it’s so true. Our world is growing increasingly digital, but we’re still low on space. I often wonder what we’re filling our homes with, if not paper? What exists in our cabinets, our garages – our headspaces? Looking around, I spot dusty craft supplies and gently-worn shoes and must-have kitchen gadgets – all so far from necessity. Things that pile up and stack high, building a nest of objects around us so to provide comfort and security.

But like any good bird knows, we have to leave the nest to fly high.

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“We want to move, to travel, to take new jobs, be more independent,” Chmara Rosinke writes. “So we have to minimize our belongings and habits.”

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Their cube consists of a desk that converts to a kitchen, a rolling cupboard that unfolds into a table, a cupboard for clothes, mirror, drawer and chair/cube combination. My mind immediately wonders where my art collection would live, or where I might stash my cocktail rings and magazines and inspiration boards.

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But then I picture myself wandering through the streets of Rome, chatting on a veranda in Italy. Dining in my parent’s backyard in southern Indiana. And I suppose that’s all the inspiration I’ll ever need – a movable art collection of memories, decorated with cocktail rings of adventure and a living inspiration board of perspective.

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I’m sure I could find a rucksack big enough to hold each.

Image Credits: Chmara Rosinki

p.s. On personal adventures and journeys.

  • And what an adventure that would be.

    I recently temporarily relocated to the other coast for the summer and am loving keeping my bedroom and office as clean and uncluttered as possible. I really don’t want to unpack the boxes we brought with us as I know they might contain some “stuff” that I don’t really want or need any more.

    • I felt the same way after our cross-country move. I hate that some of it is still in storage – it feels so wasteful!

  • Having a teeny apartment in Paris and a small budget keeps me from acquiring too much, but I’m sure I could shed lots more layers. It’s certainly something to think about! Good thing single tubes of mascara travel well ;)

  • This is so cool–thanks for sharing and pointing to the original source. We aren’t ready to give up our house, but we have been doing some experimenting with furniture design from the 70s. It’s simple and uses plywood, and this cube reminds me much of it. So we loved looking at this. Don’t have a post up yet on what we’ve been doing, but soon. (Hard to find time to both create the projects and document them…)

  • We’ve just got home to Chicago from traveling with our toddler in Europe for almost 2.5 months. So interesting, when we got home (after feeling like Oh my god, we live in a mansion) my first craving was to declutter and simplify. We had been living in tiny spaces out of suitcases…and that experience showed me that I don’t need much. Give me a tiny, clutter-free space (and a terrace!) and I’ll be happy. :) Loved this post…I’ve been thinking about this a bit lately. xo

    • Ah, I love hearing this! It really is crazy how little we need, and OMG you are superwoman for traveling through Europe with your toddler! Go get ’em, mama! :)

  • Every time I feel the urge to buy something, I think “space is important to me in 3 ways; visually, practicality, and economically.” Then I think to myself..”is it worth it?” Sometimes it is, more often not. i’m totally with you on the sentiments of making room for inspiration and memories.

    • Oh gosh, Sophia – I LOVE this sentiment. Space is so so important, and I think we might be losing that as a culture, in a lot of different ways. I’m going to think really hard about this one – thank you! Great thought.

  • When we moved back to Vancouver after 10 years in Toronto we downsized to a 1930’s era little house. Lots of furniture was sold and we pared down but STILL it feels like too much.

    I joke sometimes about that desire to drag around a “personal museum”, like somehow memories aren’t enough so we must create a shrine to document every event.

    I’ve lived in a large home and I’ve lived in a small one and no matter the size, it ends up full of clothes and furniture and books and and and. I suppose it’s the handbag of accommodation – if I have a clutch, it’s enough and if I have a tote, it’s suddenly full as well.

    The purge is good – I always feel so much freer after sorting through clothes or books or even kitchen gear and gadgets.

    • Oh gosh, I LOVE this line!: “I joke sometimes about that desire to drag around a “personal museum”, like somehow memories aren’t enough so we must create a shrine to document every event.”

      Definitely gave me pause this morning. Thank you for sharing, Sandra!!!

  • All those granite counters, glass backsplash tiles, animal heads and poufs we keep seeing on HCTV and magazines will look really dated in a few years.
    We need to think carefully before we buy anything. It is better to spend money on travelling and retirement planning.

  • Read that whole blog and all that stuck was you have a cocktail ring! My mom used to yearn for cocktail rings…she ended up with plenty – I just didn’t realize the younger generation (like you) even knew what they are!

    Lovely blog.

    • I LOOOOVE cocktail rings – I get the obsession from my grandmother! :) And thank you, sweet Deobra!

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