In 2018, I made about $60k less than I did in 2018.

Which I’m okay with.

My life in general lately has been more about cutting back, enjoying what I have, and analyzing my choices more than chasing more income.

That being said, I do love making money.

Not because I’m greedy or that money’s all I care about.

It’s just that it’s rewarding for me to apply my skills and see the results.

Kind of like a video game, but for real life.

Lately I’ve been thinking more about more about simplifying my life.

As I’ve been traveling the world these past few years, I’ve already made minimalism-favoring lifestyle changes.

Such as:

  • Packing my most-important possessions in a $90/month storage unit

  • Selling my car

  • Speding 11 months of the year traveling the world, via nothing else but a backpack and carry-on luggage

  • Cutting back on social media usage

  • Unsubscribing from newsletters, deleting apps, and being very critical of all things digital

  • Limiting my workload to 4 hours of (productive) work per day

All of above has made my life simpler.

And, happier.

But I still have room for improvement.

Taj Hotel, Cape Town — the hotel I decided to stay in for a month.

Taj Hotel, Cape Town — the hotel I decided to stay in for a month.

For example, I’m writing this from this suite in a 5-star hotel in Cape Town.

The price, location, and perks of this place seemed like a good deal.

And overall, it has been.

There’s a sauna, gym, and valet parking.

I’m also very central to nearby cafés and restaurants that I’ve been working from.

Yet when I look at the living conditions, it’s more than I need.

There’s a couch and chairs I barely sit on, a balcony I barely walk on, and enough space here to accommodate several people.

Living here makes me think:

You can live your life chasing more, earning more, and make it a goal to make more money (capitalization).

Or you can make the best out of what you got (optimization).

Both sides have their pros and cons.

And both sides pushed their extremes have undesirable results.

An overly capitalist person may get rich, but find themselves without any sense of purpose of meaning.

Whereas an overly optimized person will spend more time milking $100 than it takes to make $200.

As it is with most things in life, a good balance is necessary.

Plus, there’s other things in life to think about.


  • Taking care of your health

  • Developing relationships

  • Building habits and routines that lead to a better lifestyle

I wonder if I’d think this way if I was born rich.

Maybe the more money I make, the more disconnected I feel from the person I was growing up.

Or perhaps I just enjoy keeping my life simple — so I can invest more mental energy in the creative work I do.

Lots to think about and I don’t know the answers.

The best I can do?

Ask questions, put my thoughts out there, and continue to make the best out of what I got — while finding ways to make more, while doing less.

Raymond Duke