A note on an aspect of “Simple Living” in my life…

I realized today that there are quite a few things that we take for granted in the west, that I do not have here (and some that I don’t have at home, either), and I have realized that really, some of them suck to not have, but most of them aren’t so bad:

Dishwasher: If I had a family, this would be pretty necessary (unless I made dishes a part of chores), but for one or two people, so long as you make sure to do the dishes once a day, or as you use them (as I tend to do), it’s not a problem.

Washer/Dryer: Pretty much the only thing I miss about a dryer is being able to wear something within 15-30 minutes of it coming out of the washer. Here, it takes 2-3 hours at best, and 2-3 days at worst. But, in general, it’s not a problem, and if I end up with a house, I would strongly consider line-drying the bulk of my clothes, so long as I have a dryer as a backup for during the rain. The lack of a washer (I have one in Jindo, but not here in Gunnae) sucks though. I washed a couple days of clothes in the kitchen sink today, with some dish soap and some tea tree oil soap (for disinfectant), and since I also have no hot water at the moment, I had to boil the water to wash them. Not the end of the world, but it does sort of suck. A washer is not something I think I would willingly give up for more than a few weeks at a time.

TV: Only once in my life have I ever had a TV in my living space, and at that, it was only a few months and virtually never got used (and even then, it was only for DVDs). I do watch some TV on my computer, but very little (maybe 1-2 hours a week). I watch movies pretty regularly (once a week-ish), but again, on my computer most of the time. I have a TV in Jindo, but it is almost never used, and even then it’s mostly used to watch CNN. If one could be had cheaply, I think I would have a TV in my living space, but it is definitely not a priority, and I could easily continue to do without one.

Cell Phone: When I tell Koreans I have no cell phone, they look at me like I’ve just told them I have no left ear. Hell, I get a similar reaction in the states when I tell people that on average, I use about 40 minutes a month, and never more than an hour (well, not in the last 3 years, anyway) and generally only use them for coordinating amongst friends. Honestly, I hate cell phones and wish they’d go away. I hate that I “have” to have one in order to communicate with people in this day and age. I use pay-by-minute cell phones and if I could, I wouldn’t have one at all.

Car: Now, this one I miss. I love to drive. It’s very zen for me, and I love being able to wander. However, that said, I love my scooter. Depending on what happens with Marc and I when I get back, I would seriously consider having just the Ural sidecar bike that I intend to get when I get back and, if he would be up for it, sort of sharing his car as our non-open air vehicle, and using Zipcar or somesuch if we both needed a car at the same time. I’d prefer to also own a car, but it wouldn’t be terrible to have to share a car.

Microwave: While I did use one of these relatively regularly back in the US, I think that while I will probably have one when I return, I will use it far less. I don’t have one here, and I have learned how to do without it. This, along with dryers, is a huge energy waster.

At this place I also have no furniture other than a bed, only one lightbulb, and infrequent hot water. Those all pretty much suck, but it’s not the end of the world. Back in the US, I got mockingly called a “luddite” on more than one occasion, but really, that’s not true. I love my computer and the internet (though going without, when necessary, doesn’t bother me much, as I write in paper journals in addition to my blogs), and I do love certain aspects of technology. But, there are many aspects that I can definitely do without, and even some aspects that I strongly dislike.  In general, I definitely prefer this more simple life to a more technology-filled one.

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4 Responses to “A note on an aspect of “Simple Living” in my life…”


  1. 1 Border Explorer September 2, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Living with ordinary people in another country is a great “reality check” on life, including what we “need.”

    Reflection on doing without sometimes leads one to appreciate the lack, rather than the presence, of those items. I can relate to living without the TV, the car, the dishwasher, cell phone as you relate in this post. I’m happier without extra things like that. They all end up claiming a piece of my time, my life energy. I’d rather not spend it on such things.

  2. 2 Driftingfocus September 2, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Oh, I had that reality check back when I lived out of my car for a year (see these two posts: https://innerquiet.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/simplicity-part-1/ and https://innerquiet.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/simplicity-part-2-or-the-great-purge/), but yes, it does bring it more into focus, certainly.

    Yep. I do sometimes enjoy having a TV, but really, when I have one, I tend to watch it, and it keeps me inside rather than outside going for walks, etc. While I would not enjoy the way they live, the Amish do have a point about how our saturation in technology has taken away our time to think. I enjoy not really having those things, and it makes me a much more contemplative, and calm, person.

    I do wish I had reliable hot water though. >.<

  3. 3 Suzy September 6, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind being without a computer, though I do like the connections with people whom I wouldn’t meet otherwise. I have been almost exclusively line drying my laundry since July. It may be harder in winter in Wisconsin. We’ll see.

  4. 4 Driftingfocus September 7, 2008 at 1:19 am

    I have gone without a computer for 6 weeks, but it was difficult. The other stuff, though, I range between not minding not having (microwave, dryer) and actively enjoying not having (cell phone, tv).


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