The Simple Life
Welcome to the simple life.
During our #DrinkwineTogether journey around the world, we have been grateful to have visited 11 countries in eight months. We’ve been able to spend significant amounts of time in some countries while some other countries serve as merely quick stops. We have tasted foods, struggled through language barriers, essentially walked through history, soaked up the sun, hiked up mountains, stood in awe of art, laughed with locals, and more. Perhaps nothing has had more of an impact on our daily lives more than the simplicity we have been forced to live with, and what we have witnessed MOST living with around the world.
What is the simple life? It is different for everyone for sure. For us, it was starting to hang our clothes on a line to dry way back in the first week of September of 2017 while in Portugal (we’ve now done that for eight straight months). Doing laundry from start to finish by hand is also an example of living simple... from wringing, scrubbing, rinsing, and drying all by hand. Stopping to eat street food from street vendors in Southeast Asia is an example of the simple life for us. The sweetness of open windows and natural air is life living simply for us. However, perhaps there has been no greater example of the simple life than what we have experienced in Ecuador. Of course, there are parts of living simply any traveler worth their weight would decry. Aspects such as not being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet, or not finding soap (or toilet paper) in public restrooms. Or maybe even the frequent lack of hot water for showers may find its way into the list of undesired simple life rules. We have experienced undesirable ways of life while living nomadically around the world... there is no doubt about it.
It is good to experience some discomfort as it “forces” one to reckon with what we are truly thankful for- in this sense, we are learning we are not actually even thankful for the tangible first world luxuries as much as we are grateful for the mere opportunities to experience them back home in the U.S. with almost zero thought. We have a lot to be thankful for in America. The simple life we experienced recently here in Ecuador however, was something a little different. It was a surprise actually.
While living in a sleepy little fishing village on the sea coast of Olón, Ecuador; we lived two days without electricity, two days without any internet (therefore no social media, no phones, no communication), no lights, no air conditioning, no charging of devices, no way to keep items cold in the freezer/refrigerator. At first we had a sudden worry, “Oh no... what are we going to do?” But then it quickly and unexpectedly turned to “oh well, we are just going to make this work.”
We conserved the little phone life we had left on our phone batteries. We rarely opened the refrigerator, we read books and magazines, and we just simply “enjoyed” life in each other’s company. For food, we walked to a local Ecuadorian restaurante. When we arrived into the town center, we quickly noticed the darkness. The black of night was different. We looked in the direction of one another and thought, “well, maybe the whole town does not have electricity... oh well.” That was correct. The whole town (or at least a few blocks) were officially off the grid. When we walked up to the restaurant in the dark, it did not have lights and was under the cover of the evening's darkness. We were surprised the eating establishment was open. Open it was, and candle-light was the ambiance to be enjoyed on that particular night. It was as if it was "normal" for the owner and her staff. Put up some candles, light them, open the door and welcome patrons... no big deal. Bienvinedos was just what was offered to us. We dined together that night to quality Ecuadorian fare while sitting in the darkened streets of Olòn. We smiled, we indulged, we laughed, we reminisced. It was as if nothing mattered in the sense of lacking the first-world luxuries we have become so accustomed that we even take them for granted. We noticed a grateful attitude of simplicity from the people of Olòn as well. We have experienced these same appreciative hearts of the simple life all across the globe. It has changed us. We are grateful.
For two whole days, we lived “off the grid.” We had to adapt. We had to live simple. We found peace in the simple life. We found we enjoyed it. For eight straight months, we have had to shed many Western world luxuries and we have discovered peace in "lightening the load" as well.
Whatever it means to live simple to you, we encourage you to live more simply. Whatever it means to find peace, we hope you find it. Life’s joys are found in the unexpected and simple ways of living. We are now more convinced of that than ever before.