An Evening with “The Minimalists”

It’s a Friday night in Madison.  My dad and I are sitting at a Culver’s chatting over a veggie burger and chicken tenders.  Like usual, I’m barely eating because I can’t stop talking about life, liberty, and the pursuit of minimalism.  My dad has definitely endured an earful of my minimalist preachings, but only because I know he can benefit from the idea.  Two months ago, I sent my dad a link to The Minimalists “Less Is Now” tour when I saw that they were coming to Madison. Two months later, the night has finally arrived.

About a year ago, Dustin introduced me to the “The Minimalists.” If you’re familiar with the minimalist movement, odds are you’ve heard of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who are two of the sexiest men at the forefront of simple living.  If you’re unfamiliar with their message, read their books, follow them on social media, listen to their podcasts, buy a ticket to their show, and check out their site. Joshua and Ryan are not only inspirational and relatable, but they’re excellent showmen. (Make sure you minimize their books afterward).

Madison is a diverse and progressive city that provided the perfect audience and atmosphere for The Minimalists to spread their message.  In a quaint but eccentric venue like the Barrymore Theater, Josh and Ryan told their stories and recorded their live podcast for a laid back Madisonian crowd.  Josh, having injured himself hours before the show, sat with his leg elevated in a wheel chair, but the pain didn’t damage his confidence.

After sharing their individual spiels, a live recording of The Minimalists podcast took place. Brave audience members lined up before a microphone and asked both practical and personal questions about their own minimalist journeys.  I had lots of well thought out questions to ask them, but preferring the safety of my computer screen, I remained seated.

After the show, I stayed to meet my idols.  Understandably, Josh was unable to do the meet and greet due to his sustained injury.  I waited in line to meet an enthusiastic and humble Ryan Nicodemus.  I gave him a big hug and was very pleased when he commented on our matching all black attire.  I also was filmed by their tour staff for a testimonial where I briefly explained what the Less Is Now tour meant to me.



I had asked my dad to think of one “take away” from the show.  What was one thing that resonated with you?  What was one thing that inspired you? What was your “a-ha” moment?  Although I’m no stranger to The Minimalists or minimalism, I also took on this task.  It’s important to not become closed-minded once you think you’ve “mastered” something.  I’m very familiar with Josh and Ryan’s message, but I challenged myself to stay engaged as well as find an answer for my biggest question about minimalism.

What the hell do I do now?

After impulsively quitting my job, deciding to go back to college, and purging my life of material possessions, I find myself wondering what’s next?  Is there a second level to minimalism?  How do I maintain the simplicity?  How do I stay motivated?

My take-away was to stop setting goals.  After an audience member shared that he set lots of goals but had difficulty achieving them, I instantly related.  I often find myself getting too excited about new things.  I want to do everything at once from making my own cosmetics and cleaning products to planning elaborate camping trips and growing herbs.  I wish and waste away time by starting things, but never finishing them.  Although I may not hoard material things, I hoard goals.

Josh answered the man by confidently saying “stop setting goals for yourself.”  Josh and Ryan approach their goals by having one concept per year that they’d like to focus on.  This year, it’s their Less Is Now tour.  I’ve never been more motivated to stop setting goals and to stop making lists of excessive tasks I deemed “necessary”.  It’s really a very simple idea.

Focus on one thing at a time. Be present.

As for my father’s take-away,  I asked him to type up his response.

“Simplify, follow your path, and pursue what ultimately makes you feel happy and content.  Ignore society’s preconceived views of value and financial worth.  Take a direction that brings YOU bliss in your limited time on earth.  You can’t contribute to the world in a positive way unless you are truly happy yourself.”

No less than 24 hours after the show, my phone blew up with photos of my dad purging the cluttered depths of his basement storage room.  Three days later, I’m still receiving photos of miscellany that he’s removing from his life.  I’m so lucky to have shared this experience with my papa!  I hope you all can get something out of this too!  Josh and Ryan have just released the second round of their Less Is Now tour so get tickets for a show near you.  I promise you, it’s an experience worth your time.


Thanks for listening,

-Amanda Maria



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