For 32 years, Kashlee Kucheran’s focus was on the tangible.
Things she could touch, buy, invest in. Things she thought would make her happier. Money. Her work. The rat race.
The 32-year-old, who is based in British Columbia in Canada, was living a life that was filled with stuff. And a lot of it.
“A few years ago, I was a realtor, and yes, literally doing the exact opposite of what I preach now… putting people into houses. I was making great money but I was completely and utterly unhappy,” she tells Mamamia.
“In fact, I started to buy things in order to fill that void that I felt with everyday life. And I am not just talking about a few pairs of shoes. I built a 3000sq ft house, bought two cars and started filling every corner with overpriced and unneeded items that were still not making me happy.”
Her now-husband Trevor was working 15 hour days, and they were both “overworked, burnt out and just trying to get through each day”.
“We made really good money, but we spent it just as fast, and even started to rack up credit card debt.”
When Kucheran met her husband, their mindsets began to change. Maybe there is more to life than work? Maybe they only have an illusion of what success looks like, and that illusion is just that?
“I gave up my real estate licence and started making plans for us to see the world together. We started travelling any spare second we could, which even included a six month adventure in Ecuador. But there were still a few things in the way, namely the mortgage, the bills, and all the crap we had collected over the years.
"This brought us to the question: 'Why do we even have a house? Why do we have all this stuff? Is it even bringing us any sense of joy? Who told us this was the only way to live life, in debt and overworked and unhappy?'"
The blueprint of life they were given at children, she says, "didn't suit [them] at all".
So, in January this year, they sold it all.
"We sold our house, my car, the furniture, the dishes, the rug I just ‘had to have’ just a few months earlier, everything. I sold or donated 90 per cent of my wardrobe, shoes, handbags and jewelry. We combed through the credit cards and stopped all the subscription boxes, cable, and services we didn’t need.
"I didn’t realize how much stuff I had lying around that was just sitting there, collecting dust. It gave no value to my life at all and quite frankly, was holding me back from doing things I loved."
Kucheran admits that when she used to read stories about people doing something similar, she thought they "lost their mind". That was until she tried it herself.
"I feel incredible. Life is so much lighter when I am not being weighed down by bills and things. I never thought a storage unit full of crap, or a closet stuffed with things I didn’t use was actually making such a negative impact on my life. I am now down to two suitcases. (Mind blown!) Being a girl - and a lover of fashion - I had to get really creative with my capsule wardrobe, what beauty products I couldn’t live without, and even small things like getting a mini blowdryer instead of my full-size one.
"Everything I now own has a purpose in my life."
Now that debts have been paid off, bills have been minimised and 'things' have been sold, they have made a commitment to travel for the next ten years. But does she worry she may slip into the habit of buying again? That slowly, the stuff she tried so hard to rid her life of, will seep its way back in?
The couple who retired in their 30s. Post continues after audio.
"I have thought about this so much. It’s not easy to use sell everything and not still have the urge to buy more. I think it’s because consumerism is more of a habit then we think it is," she admits.
For this reason, the couple have rules in place. For one, if she buys a new top, an old one has to go. And secondly? They have a two bag rule: their stuff has to fit into two suitcases at all times.
To make money, the couple have launched a website to document their adventures and have a podcast coming out soon.
"Now that I have seen how many people are unhappy with their lives and the crushing weight of consumerism, I am trying to document our journey more and more so that it might help others."
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