Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Shannon and Gerry Arner, the couple behind the blog ‘Arner Adventures.'
Please tell us about what it is that you do.
We are a DINK couple (Double Income No Kids), except, of course, our rescue, fur baby, Betty White. We are bloggers behind the lifestyle blog Arner Adventures. We publish content on living life to the fullest, rather than simply having life happen to you. We serve musings of our travel adventures, our wanderlust mentality, being child-free by choice (being DINKS), as well as our minimalist ideals on materially living small, so we may live and experience large. We also provide content on plant-based dining, mindfulness, and animal advocacy.
Please tell us more about your journey.
After owning our own business, working 24/7, and spending years filling our home with things that did not matter, we made a lifestyle change. We decided to make the most out of life. We decided that all of the “stuff” we were purchasing to fill our home didn't fulfill our lives. We decided to downsize, purge the things that did not matter, to make room for the adventures and life experiences that do matter. We sold our house, our business, downsized and moved to the North Carolina coast to spend time by the ocean… a place where we always escaped to during those hectic years.
During the process, we started a blog, Arner Adventures. Mainly it was started as a way for our friends and family to stay in touch with our venture. When we told people what we were doing, moving towards a minimalist lifestyle, they thought we were crazy but were also intrigued, asking many questions about how we were doing it. We thought blogging about our process would be fun and a great outlet to inspire others to consider living with less, experience more, and be more in the moment, enjoying life!
What can we expect from your blog as we head into 2021?
Each January, we play the “30-day Minimalism game”, inspired by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, also known as “The Minimalists.” We use each day of the month to get rid of items. For example, on January 1st, we get rid of 1 item, January 2nd, 2 items, January 3rd, 3 items, and so on. The person who can go the furthest in the month wins. We usually create a prize that is not materialistic. For example, last year, the loser had to plan the next adventure, and the year prior, the loser had to cook every meal for the month of February. Honestly, neither of us have ever lost. By the time January comes around, somehow, we have created a ton of stuff that we don't need, so January is a welcomed month for the game. We both always make it to January 31st, ridding ourselves of 496 items each. Items can be anything, so it adds up quickly.
As we head into 2021, we are embarking upon a year of no-buy, meaning we will spend all of 2021 on not buying stuff. If we don't eat it or use it as a utility to keep our home, car, or body running (like healthcare or medications if needed), we do not buy it. We want to do it, not as a punishment; we are actually very excited about it! We are doing it to live a more intentional life, being here now, in the moment. We live in a society that makes it so easy to click on an item and have it shipped to you in seconds. It becomes very easy to do, and we see areas in which we need to improve, to not only save money, but to lessen our carbon footprint, by placing less strain on manufacturers, delivery logistics, and not to mention the landfill, as most packaging items end up there, and sometimes, the items themselves.
The “no-buy year” also focuses on the items we do purchase, for example, cleaning products, food purchases, and any other item- we will ask ourselves, can we make it? How can we reduce the plastic and packaging for that item? We have begun making our own cleaning products. Still, We hope to learn more about gardening in-season or to increase our support of local vegetable farmers for items we do not grow.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
Accountability! Not only do we hold each other accountable along the way, but we blog about our process, similar to our lifestyle now. When we blog about tips for reducing waste or how to live smaller and simpler, we also ask for feedback and tips from our audience. They also hold us accountable. The more people we tell about our no-buy year, the more people who will ask us about it, hence, holding us accountable.
We also practice gratitude. If we take even 5 minutes each day, through prayer, or meditation, to consider what we are grateful for in our lives, we are certainly not going to place value or being grateful for materialistic things. With all of the things to be grateful for, like breathing clean air, drinking clean water, our health, our family, having access to the ocean each day, can you imagine throwing in being grateful for a big screen tv? Maybe some would, but know that those things are not important, and being grateful keeps us on the right path for our lifestyle.
Another strategy is to always ask, “Is there a way I can make or repair this myself?” If we lose the button on a shirt, we sew it back on. If something on our car needs to be repaired, or a household appliance, we can repair it ourselves? YouTube is a wonderful thing! You can find thousands of DIY videos for almost anything! We also want to utilize our community. Is there someone we can borrow an item from, rather than purchase it for a one, or minimal time use? The bottom line is that prior to purchasing anything, we take a moment to think about it. It allows us to be more mindful, rather than mindlessly filling carts online to have it delivered to our door in 2-3 days.
Any message for our readers.
We would love for more people to consider a less consumeristic life. The less you buy, the more you focus on the experiences and the people around you. Since embarking upon our minimalistic lifestyle, we are outdoors more. We seek adventures to spend with our rescue pup, Betty White. We thrive on ways to use things for more than one reason. It allows for a more focused life, especially while so many of us are working from home. A clutter-free space allows for more productivity and also allows you to take a moment to really see the things around you.
Some people consider “Meatless-Mondays” to help ease into vegetarianism or veganism. That is how we became non-meat eaters. We encourage the same with having less stuff. The “30-day Minimalism Game” is a great way to get your feet wet. By easing your way into the lifestyle, you can understand what it feels like to get a rush from ridding yourself of the stuff you don't need. You don't have to have a “no buy year.” You can have a “no buy weekend” or month.
Lastly, minimalism has a positive impact on your finances. We have been able to contribute more to our retirement in the past few years by simply asking ourselves about items we want versus what we need. That being said, we do have items that bring us joy, that may not be a need, but we do try to make sure that those items are functional and/or are being utilized throughout our life, i.e., a guitar or designer handbag. Quality over quantity always reigns highest.
When we leave this world and take our last breath, we know we won't be focused on the cars we owned, the cool watch that seemed so important at that time. We know we will reflect fondly on the experiences and adventures we had in our lives, and hope that others can consider that, too.
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
Thank you so much for giving us your precious time. We wish you all the best for your journey ahead.