If you asked most people to condense their lives and all of their belongings into two suitcases, most would laugh.
Not Sarah Wilson.
The globally-acclaimed Australian author of I Quit Sugar has been living nomadically from two suitcases for eight years, travelling around the world with limited possessions, while her other – very few – possessions remain in storage in half of a single garage in Australia.
Ms Wilson spoke to FEMAIL about her minimalist lifestyle and refreshing lack of consumerist attitudes. She also explained exactly what you need to travel the world.
The globally-acclaimed Australian author of I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson (pictured), has been living nomadically from two suitcases for eight years, travelling around the world
Ms Wilson (pictured) spoke to FEMAIL about her minimalist lifestyle and refreshing lack of consumerist attitudes; she also explained exactly what you need to travel the world
Recently, the 43-year-old wrote a blog post on how she had been travelling for four months with carry-on luggage (pictured), which weighed just eight kilograms
For Ms Wilson, 43, sustainability is something that has been instilled in her from an early age:
‘My parents rode bikes everywhere, we grew up valuing experiences over products and it’s something that has stuck,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I worked as the editor of Australian Cosmopolitan, but never owned a handbag!,’ she laughed.
Around eight years ago, Ms Wilson decided to pack up her belongings, put them in storage and travel around the world, while writing:
‘I have boxes of photographs and old letters, a surf board and a bicycle in storage, but not much else,’ she said.
‘Everything else I need I carry around with me.’
For Ms Wilson (pictured), 43, sustainability is something that has been instilled in her from an early age; her parents grew up riding bicycles and valuing experiences over possessions
While she has a few possessions, including photos and old letters, in half of a single garage in Australia, Ms Wilson (pictured) said that for the most part she works with very little
When Ms Wilson is on the road, she carries an amalgam collection of items – including a slow cooker, a blender, ‘one good knife’, a bikini, swimming goggles and her ‘trusty green shorts’
So how does she do it? Doesn’t the 43-year-old run out of clothes?
What does Sarah Wilson carry with her?
* A slow cooker
* A handheld blender
* One good knife
* A bikini
* Swimming goggles
* Hiking shots
* A denim or leather jacket
* A dress
* A pair of high heels
* Silk or woollen items that fold up super small
* Two pairs of underwear
* One bra
* One sports bra
* One pair of yoga leggings
* Cosmetics that double up, such as herbal oil which works as a cleanser and a moisturiser
* A book
* A laptop
‘You really don’t need much,’ she said. ‘Plus I don’t buy any disposable fashion and wear things until I can’t wear them any more.’
When Ms Wilson is on the road, she carries an amalgam collection of items – including a slow cooker, a handheld blender, ‘one good knife’, a bikini, swimming goggles and her ‘trusty green shorts’.
‘They come everywhere with me,’ she said. ‘I wear them hiking and biking all over the world.’
Apart from this, Ms Wilson carries either a leather or a denim jacket (hers are ten years old) with her, grey singlets and ‘a pair of runners I can wear while out walking, but can also team with a dress’.
‘When I’m travelling, I walk or ride everywhere,’ she said. ‘I don’t own a car so don’t have that expense. It’s very freeing.’
When it comes to clothing, Ms Wilson said she’s very particular about what she buys – she hardly ever shops, for instance:
‘I’m wearing the same dresses aged 43 as I was aged 18,’ she said.
‘It’s pretty simple. I don’t want to be defined by what I purchase. It streamlines the mind to travel light. I don’t have to make any decisions in the morning, I just throw on whatever I need to wear.’
She said she doesn’t do disposable fashion – but instead wears things out fully; such as this grey singlet (pictured)
She will take one or two dresses with her, which she can dress up with one pair of heels or down with a pair of sneakers (pictured wearing her gold dress)
Ms Wilson does not have a car; instead choosing to either ride a bicycle (pictured) or walk everywhere
When it comes to decisions, the successful author is similarly cut-throat.
‘I apply my attitude to clothes to all aspects of my life and my decisions,’ she said.
‘I don’t go shopping until I’ve eaten everything in my fridge and pantry, I read and delete any emails I don’t need to respond to instantly before I think too much about them.
‘This sort of attitude helps hugely with anxiety, which is intrinsically linked to paralysis with making decisions.’
Ms Wilson spend a lot of her time – via her blog and her books – trying to spread the message that you don’t need so many things and need to make so many decisions:
‘The more you buy, the more you want, the more decisions you have to make,’ she said.
‘Nowadays, I don’t go shopping, I go hiking. I feel as though I have so much more time in my life.’
According to the author, she will not go food shopping until she has used up everything in her fridge and pantry (pictured left: one of her meals, pictured right: Sarah Wilson)
‘Every time you think you’ve got to go shopping, hold off for a week and go for a walk. Then, try another week after that and so on and so forth,’ Ms Wilson said of how to live a minimalist life
She also recommends cooking from home (pictured), rather than shopping for more food or eating out too much
So what can you do if you want to live a slightly more minimalist life, and what are the benefits?
Firstly, Ms Wilson said you’ve got to stop shopping.
‘Every time you think you’ve got to go shopping, hold off for a week and go for a walk. Then, try another week after that and so on and so forth.
How to live a more minimalist life
* Stop shopping. Hold off for a week when you think you need to shop and go for a walk. Then hold off for another week, and keep going until you really need to go. Figure out if you do.
* Quit with the takeaway coffee cups and plastic bottles – both of which are unneccessary.
* Finish everything in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping.
* Stop buying yoga leggings! You only need one pair and they are clogging up the ocean.
* Read and delete any emails you don’t need to instantly respond to.
‘You might decide that you never really needed to go.’
Secondly, the nomadic author recommends quitting takeaway coffee cups and plastic water bottles – as well as yoga leggings, which are clogging up the ocean:
‘You seriously only need one pair,’ she said.
If you want to travel, Ms Wilson said it’s possible – it doesn’t require having lots of money:
‘I have learned how to navigate Airbnb, cycling schemes in many countries and what I do and don’t need to bring,’ she said.
Ms Wilson recommends cutting down your luggage to the very basics, and what you actually need:
‘Simplify things down to items that don’t take up much room. Silks are good as they fold up really small and you can hang them up in a hot shower to be ironed, a good pair of sneakers, heels and two pairs of underwear,’ she said.
‘You don’t need more than two pairs at all – you can wash them each night.’
Ms Wilson has also streamlined her beauty regime, insofar as she has one herbal oil which triples up to cleanse, moisturise and look after her hair.
‘You probably don’t need to pack jeans, and they take up a lot of space,’ she said.
Ms Wilson has also streamlined her beauty regime, insofar as she has one herbal oil which triples up to cleanse, moisturise and look after her hair
How did Sarah Wilson travel the world with just eight kilos?
* In a recent blog post, Ms Wilson detailed exactly how she travelled around the world for four months, carrying just eight kilograms.
Ms Wilson carried just eight kilograms with her for four months (pictured)
* During this time, she was writing and hiking between LA, New York, London, Scotland, Cornwall, Crete, Paris, Slovenia and Slovakia.
* For the occasion, Ms Wilson carried a small backpack that weighed in on various flights at 8kg.
* She did this by wearing the same things every single day and wearing every single thing she brought with her out.
* Ms Wilson packed two pairs of underwear for the trip, washing them out each night.
* She lived in silk, woollen and synthetic items – so she could scrunch them up tightly for packing and ensure they weighed very little.
* She wore sneakers with dresses ‘very happily’, but also brought a pair of high heels with her, just to make sure she had something, should she need it.
* She brought a second-hand denim jacket from GAP (which she wore in transit), a silk wrap ra-ra skirt, denim shorts, a bag of ‘fancy things’, a Gortex jacket, heels, a headband/eyemask; Saloman hiking shoes, undies and a bra, a market bag, ‘white things’, leggings, a shirt, a sports bra, a cap, a striped singlet and hiking shorts.
* Finally, Ms Wilson brought her simplified make up bag, a book, a laptop, a notebook, pencil, passport, credit card and an I Quit Sugar satchel.
Source: Sarah Wilson
The 43-year-old confessed she’s learned a lot about herself from living this nomadic lifestyle for the past near-decade, notably that she is not alone and she is relatively agile
‘I don’t plan very far ahead at all. I can pack up and leave a state or a country within a week, if there aren’t book deadlines or something,’ Ms Wilson explained
Among her packing tips, Ms Wilson said use small things which fold up small, silks, heels and woollen or synthetic items (pictured with her bike)
The 43-year-old confessed she’s learned a lot about herself from living this nomadic lifestyle for the past near-decade, notably that she is not alone and she is relatively agile:
‘Living a life like this makes you agile,’ she said.
‘I don’t plan very far ahead at all. I can pack up and leave a state or a country within a week, if there aren’t book deadlines or something.’
Ms Wilson also said there are countless travellers around the world, ones whom she has met up with in cafes across Europe and further afield:
‘It’s great bumping into people, it gives you this big sense of freedom,’ she said.
These days, Ms Wilson said she can never imagine going back to the world of the 9-5:
‘I could never do it now,’ she laughed. ‘I don’t want to be defined by what I purchase,’ she concluded.
Sarah Wilson’s new book, How to Make the Beast Beautiful, is available to purchase from all good bookstores and online now.
To visit her website, please click here. You can also follow her on Instagram here.