How to Become a Minimalist – Living with Less

Ben WorrallTRAVEL

How to become a minimalist?


I have never been one to own a lot of stuff. This was not something that happened out of circumstance but was a choice I made from a young age. The reason I have been able to make this choice and live a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle up to this point is that I understood the benefits of minimalism.

Before I talk about how to become a minimalist, I want to briefly discuss what I see as being the main advantage of living a minimalist lifestyle:



For me the greatest advantage of living a minimalist lifestyle is the freedom it gives you to easily take your life in any direction you choose. I would say that for me personally, the most important value in life is freedom. Without the freedom to make choices and change your situation, you are pretty much living as a slave. In this case, you are not writing your own story but are allowing it to be written for you by external forces.

You may have heard this Fight Club quote:

“The things you own end up owning you.”

This is so true and something to be very wary of.

The key issue here is that people don’t like change. Once someone becomes comfortable in their situation, it becomes difficult to break out and to choose a path that may provide less initial comfort but a far greater opportunity for growth and overall satisfaction in life. People literally become addicted to what they have and can’t see a life for themselves where they don’t have access to these luxuries which they have become accustomed to. This type of reliance on possessions and other creature comforts hold people back from achieving their full potential in life. They are scared to lose the things they have attained and therefore live a restricted life.

Another Fight Club quote:

“It’s only when you lose everything that you are free to do anything.”

People who take the opposite route and accustom themselves to a life with fewer possessions – or even the bare necessities – have an advantage over everyone else because not only do they not have physical possessions weighing them down but they are also more mentally resilient to the hardships of life as they have built up the reference experience of living without the luxuries that most other people rely on.

How to become a minimalist?

First, let me start my saying that you shouldn’t pursue this type of lifestyle if you don’t want to. There’s no point trying to live as a minimalist just because someone else told you that it’s a beneficial thing to do. You should assess your own life as it currently stands and work out whether living as a minimalist would improve your life in the long run. If the answer if no, then don’t do it. It’s only worth pursuing if you can see the benefits it would have on your own life.

After all, every person is living in a different situation and everyone person has different guiding values. In my opinion, the younger you are, the more valuable living a minimalist lifestyle becomes. A guy in his early twenties with no responsibilities and big ambitions is going attain a serious advantage for the rest of his life if he can train himself to live as a minimalist. However, a guy in his forties with a family to take care of might find this type of lifestyle to be more difficult and less essential to pull off. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a family man (or woman) in his forties can’t and shouldn’t move towards a minimalistic lifestyle – he probably should.


The main thing you should to do if you want to become a minimalist is to separate the possessions you NEED from everything else. And if you want to take this seriously, you should be strict when it comes to what falls into the need category. Don’t let the media and the years of being forced fed advertisements brainwash you into thinking you need something when you don’t. For every item that you put into the need category you should be able to verbalise its specific purpose.

To help you out here I will list out the items I am currently living with:

–        Phone (communication + work)

–        Laptop (communication + work)

–        Backpack (Travel)

–        Basic clothes (9 t-shirts, 3 shorts, 1 jeans, 1 shoes, etc)

–        Basic toiletries

–        Bedding

–        Weight bench + weights (exercise)

–        Fan (it’s hot here)

–        3 books (will be moving to kindle shortly)

–        Wallet

–        Passport + other important documents.


That’s it! Obviously, this list is going to be different to each person but I hope that my example above shows you that it’s more than possible to live with minimal possessions – I have relied on these items for the last year.

The important thing is not to get sentimental and not to get attached to those items you really don’t need.

If you don’t have many possessions in your life yet, resist the temptation of buying more for the sake of buying more – you will regret it. Only buy what you need to buy.

If your life is already jam packed with possessions, then you will need to start decluttering. After you have separated the needed items from the non-needed items you can focus on getting rid of everything on that second list. If you are hesitant about just throwing items away, you could take the opportunity to try and make some extra money for yourself using eBay. Sure, it’s a little bit of work but it will be completely worth it when all it said and done. Check out Gary Vaynerchuck’s video for more information on selling and profiting from your non-essential items:



It’s also worth considering down-sizing or down-grading bigger items in your life. Consider these questions: Do you really need a large house, or would you be just as happy living in a smaller apartment? Are you truly satisfied with your brand-new car? and I don’t mean satisfied for five-minutes but will that satisfaction sustain itself over a long enough period to make the car worth it for you?

There really is no right or wrong answer but these are just options for each individual to consider. Remember to base the choices on what YOU need and not what society says YOU SHOULD need. This is vital. Not just to live a minimalist lifestyle but to live a life you can truly call your own. A life that you find personally fulfilling. This is the main message I am trying to get across in every post I make here on my website…

And minimalism is just one slice of a much larger pie – the self-actualized life.


Ben Worrall

Best Places to Travel in Southeast Asia – My Top 5 Picks

Ben WorrallTRAVEL

Koh Rong

On my 3-month trip around Southeast Asia I visited five different countries including: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and The Philippines. I traveled slowly and managed to stop at a variety of different places within these countries. From tropical beaches to thick jungles, from historical sites to natural wonders, from big cities to small villages. I saw them all and everything in between. In this post, I am going to be listing my top 5 picks for the best places to travel in Southeast Asia.

I am only able to comment on the countries and places that I visited, so naturally this list is going to be shrouded in bias but there’s not much that I can do about that. Just take these five places as personal recommendations from someone to has traveled there. Enjoy!





Coron Trip

The first place I visited and undoubtedly one of my favourites. Palawan is a province in the Philippines and home to two popular destinations– El Nido and Coron Island.

El Nido was the livelier of the two with some nice beaches close by and plenty of places to eat and drink. Coron was more relaxed and I personally found there to be more easily accessible activities in Coron such as markets, hot springs and an awesome mountain to climb with an amazing view.

Both destinations offer daily boat trips that allow you to explore other islands, lagoons and beaches around the area. If I had to pick one over the other – it would be Coron. I preferred the boat trip and I was also a big fan of the quieter, relaxed, atmosphere here.

Overall Palawan was a great first place to visit. The water, beaches and atmosphere are what you would probably visit for.





The second Philippine destination on the list is Donsol – a small town in the south of Luzon. There is only one reason why people decide to visit Donsol and that reason is WHALE SHARKS.

Whale Shark boat trips take place every morning. Not only is it very likely that you are going to be able to see and swim with a whale shark in Donsol but it’s also incredibly cheap. I think I paid around $15 USD for a whole morning boat trip and once in a lifetime experience!

Donsol is a nice place to visit even without the whale shark attraction. You can explore the town, go and watch some fireflies at night and the ‘Woodland Beach Resort’ was probably the best hostel I stayed in throughout my entire trip.




Siem Reap is the best-known place on this list as it is home to the 7th wonder of the world – Angkor Wat.

Of course, Angkor Wat is a must see for anyone travelling Southeast Asia but the city of Siem Reap was also decent place to visit. Its jam packed with bars, restaurants and other entertainment – even went to see a movie here. I think there’s more day time activities too but I didn’t do them. I just chilled out, rode a bike through town, enjoyed the free breakfast and swam in my hostels pool.



Koh Rong 2

I was personally really excited to visit the Koh Rong islands in Cambodia because I knew that the season of Survivor that was airing at the time (Survivor Koh Rong) had been filmed there. Despite this obvious reason why I would enjoy visiting the Koh Rong, it was also a fun time generally.

Staying on Koh Rong Saloem was the closest thing I have ever experienced to being stuck on a deserted island. Sure, there were some other tourists and a handful of (overpriced) restaurants but that was pretty much it. Shelter for the night consisted of a wooden hut on the beach. I spent all day lying on the beach and floating about in the bath-like sea.

I would recommend the island experience on Koh Rong for anyone visiting Cambodia (especially if you’re a Survivor fan)




Da Lat was unlike anywhere else I visited while travelling Southeast Asia. The weather was refreshingly cool here due to the city being in Vietnam’s central highlands. It’s for this reason that Da La has earned the nickname “The City of Eternal Spring.”

Da Lat also had very different natural surroundings to what I had experienced in Southeast Asia up to that point. The expansive pine forests and lakes gave the city a very distinct European feel.

I spent quite a while in Da Lat because I liked it so much. It was nice just to walk around the city, drink the amazing local coffee and haggle with locals at the markets – I wasn’t very successful at the last one.

There were loads of adventure type activities on offer but I chose not to do many of them because my budget was dwindling at that point. However, for my birthday, I did decide to visit the local waterfall which was accessible by a long slide/rollercoaster down the side of a hill. That was pretty fun.


Ben Worrall

Stephen King On Writing – Book Review

Ben WorrallREVIEWS

On writing stephen king book review


I have a love-hate relationship with books about writing. I have read quite a few books on writing – both novels and screenplays. While there have been times where the information in these books have really helped me to improve my writing, I have also found these types of books tend to stifle my creativity as I become far too focused on getting everything perfect based on what these books are telling me and therefore often lose touch with the bigger picture.

What makes Stephen King’s On Writing such a great book is that it doesn’t overwhelm the reader with rules. Instead, King acknowledges that there isn’t a whole lot he can teach us and approaches everything with a sense of flexibility. However, King also does offer plenty of golden advice that aspiring writers can learn from. I can see the improvement in my own writing after reading this book – which is all you can ask for.

The book is split up into two main sections, the first section is more of an autobiography, giving a detailed account of his younger years and the struggles leading up to getting his first novel (Carrie) published. The second half of the book concentrates on the craft and writing advice from King himself.

In my mind, if you are going to take writing advice from anyone there are few options better than Stephen King – a writer who has sold over 350 million books and is regarded as one of the most successful authors of our time.

The following are three insights from the book that I related with and found helpful.


1)    Door Closed, Door Open

This piece of advice revolves around the various drafts you will naturally undertake when writing.

King suggests approaching the first draft with the doors closed. What he means here is that your first draft should be written for yourself. You should be telling yourself the story as you are writing rather trying to please an external audience.

He then goes on to say that the second draft should be crafted with the doors open. At this point you receive feedback and remove anything that you may have included in the story which isn’t really the story.


2)    Paragraphs as building blocks

This is a simple piece of advice but I had never actually heard it before I read the book. King says that you should think of paragraphs as the building blocks of your story. You construct each paragraph with a defining purpose and then concentrate on using each paragraph to build a bigger picture. He also suggests using the technique of starting each paragraph with a sentence that overviews the entire thing and then expanding on that first sentence in the rest of the paragraph.

Since reading the book, I have tried applying this to my own writing and I have found that thinking about/using paragraphs in this way has really helped me to add structure and clarity to my writing. Thanks Stephen King!


3)    Write everyday

The fact you should be writing everyday might be slightly obvious and advice that you may have heard before but the reasoning Stephen King gives for writing every day is what made this point interesting to me.

He says that if you are not writing every day you will quickly lose touch with the characters and plot of your story. I was thinking about this in relation to the work I have done in the past and it makes perfect sense. I have always found it difficult to finish what I start because my original spark of an idea – the characters and story that I have decided to create – tend to get lost over time and the process becomes stale for me. This insight opened my eyes to the fact that I am not writing with enough intensity or consistency which is one of the reasons I have found it difficult to produce results.


These are just three of the many golden nuggets of advice contained within Stephen King’s On Writing. The book has provided a lot of value to me as an aspiring writer and I would most certainly recommend this book for other writers out there. You can get the book here.


Ben Worrall

My Travel Backpack: The Osprey Farpoint 55 Review

Ben WorrallTRAVEL

Osprey Farpoint 55L review


In today’s blog post I am going to be reviewing my travel backpack which I have had by my side since I left the UK back in early 2016. The backpack I’m referring to is the Osprey Farpoint 55.


I was initially hesitant to buy this backpack because it costs around $150.00 online and this seemed like quite a bit of money to pay for a backpack. However, there had not been a single day that I’ve regretted my choice to purchase this backpack. My Osprey has been reliable and convenient to use in every situation I have found myself in, from air travel, to overnight bus travel, to hosteling and even my everyday living here in Taiwan. A few months ago, I moved apartments and used this backpack to transport everything I owned to the new apartment. It was no problem at all.

Here are five reasons why you should consider the Osprey Fair point 55 if you are planning to travel abroad.


1)   Extremely Durable

This backpack has been through some rough times with me – from the sandy shores of the Koh Rong Islands to the hectic streets of Vietnam – and there has not been a single tear or break in the pack (as of the time of writing). The zips are top quality and the straps are secure.

The durability of a travel backpack is important as it literally contains everything you own while travelling. If you buy a low-quality product, then you run the risk of it breaking halfway through your trip which would be a nightmare. You won’t have that problem with the Osprey Farpoint 55.


2)   Detachable 15L backpack


The 55L backpack can be split up into two separate backpacks – the 40L and the 15L – this is one of my favorite things about the Osprey and was the initial reason I was drawn to it.


What I personally did (and what I would recommend to you) was use the 40L part of the backpack to store the bulk of my stuff such as clothing and toiletries, while I used the detectable 15L backpack to store my valuables, money, passport, laptop, phone etc. By separating the two I could keep the small backpack on me at all times which gave me the peace of mind of knowing that my valuable items were safe and secure. I could leave the bigger bag unchecked without having to worry as there were no valuable items inside. Some of the situations where this strategy came in useful included long bus rides where I could store the big backpack under the bus while keeping the smaller one on me and times where I wanted to explore an area on foot without having to carry a load of weight around.



3)   Opens like a suitcase

Another amazing thing about the Osprey Farpoint is that it opens from the front in the same way you would open a suitcase. This is dissimilar to traditional backpacks which mostly open from the top.

The advantage this gives you is the ability to see and access everything contained in your backpack at once rather than having to dig to the bottom to find the one item you need. This design feature really was invaluable for organisation, smart packing and quick item retrieval.


4)   Conveniently designed interior

Both the 40L and 15L sections of the backpack have great interior designs.

The 40L has a large section for bigger items such as clothing and then two zipped off smaller sections that can be used to store smaller items.

The detachable 15L section also has a bigger main section, a small zipped section, a laptop pocket, an exterior zipped front pocket and a back pocket.


5)   Lightweight

The Osprey Farpoint also comes in 40L and 70L sizes but for me the 55L backpack was the perfect size. It is big enough to fit everything you would need for your travels with relative ease but small enough to avoid overpacking and becoming bogged down.

Both the 40L and 15L sections are also equipped with adjustable straps and waist belts that help keep the pressure off your back if you find yourself having to walk long distances with a fully loaded pack.



As someone who has relied on this backpack for quite a while, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for durability and convenience! It is most certainly worth the investment if you are planning to travel with just a backpack for an extended period. I personally used it in Asia but I’m going to travel Europe at the end of the year and will be using it there also.

You can check out the price and buy the Osprey Farpoint here.


Ben Worrall

The Creative Balance


the creative balance

All writers have different processes when it comes to creating their own stories. I have spent some time studying a variety of different writing resources – each offering differing advice on how to put together a “good” story.

While my writing has improved overall by learning from others, I am also very wary of becoming too caught up in this process. The reason for this is that writing, especially storytelling, is a creative process and should be treated as such. Bringing too much left brained thinking into the process of creating art will leave you with a lifeless story or even more likely no story at all. I know this because it is a trap I have been stuck in for years. I become so focused on getting the technical details right that I forget about the larger picture. I become so overwhelmed with the ways my writing is flawed that the act of writing turns into something utterly unenjoyable and I end up quitting.

On the other hand, it is probably not wise to reject learning about your craft completely. What learning from others does is allow you to save huge amounts of time by avoiding the pitfalls experienced by those who came before you. If you are not open to learning and are only focused on your own output, you will likely fall into many of these traps and your work will suffer from your ignorance. Eventually, you will still end up learning the same lessons from first hand experienced but the time it will have taken you to do this could have been avoided with slightly more research.

Like pretty much everything in life; it’s a balancing act. It has taken me years to figure this out but my current theory is that you should dedicate plenty of time to learn as much as you can about writing and storytelling while simultaneously taking EVERYTHING that you learn with a grain of salt. There are no absolutes.

Keep the advice, the concepts and the so called ‘rules’ in the back of your mind but never feel like you must stick to them. Use whatever it is that you feel fits naturally with your style of writing but never comprise your own style because of some rule you have read in a book or on a blog post. You know what works and you know what doesn’t. Stick to your educated intuition and you’ll be ok, kid.


Ben Worrall

5 Best Insights from Robert Greene’s MASTERY – Book Review

Ben WorrallREVIEWS

robert greene mastery review

Last week I finished reading the book Mastery by Robert Greene. Here’s my review.




This is an amazing book jam packed with interesting and useful ideas. I was taken aback at how deep this book goes into unexpected topics such as creativity. Mastery may be in the ‘Personal Development’ category of my book list but it could also fit into the ‘Creativity’ category.

Much of the book focuses on the life stories of current and historical figures who have achieved mastery in their chosen field. A wide variety of people and fields are covered. Robert Greene studies the lives of these people and by picking out certain successes and failures that they each encountered in their careers. We can learn from the experiences of these great people and use that knowledge to avoid similar pitfalls that we may face on our own path to mastery.

This book is going to be useful for people from all walks of life but I would say that younger people are going to get the most benefit out of it as the content is most relevant to people looking to achieve mastery over a long period of time.

You can purchase a printed or audio version of Mastery here.

For now, I want to talk about the five most important insights that I personally felt the book offered me:


1.    Your 20’s = the apprenticeship stage

While Robert Greene didn’t directly say that the your 20’s should be the apprenticeship stage of your life, he did say that you should spend a considerable amount of years of your early life dedicated to learning. For me, this would be my 20’s.

The apprentice or apprenticeship stage of your life might not be what you are assuming. The stage doesn’t necessarily involve you undertaking a practical apprenticeship to learn a specific craft (but it could be). All it means is that you dedicate a large chuck of time to learning and improving specific skills rather than focusing on attaining material goals. It could involve you working in one company for ten years to learn the ins and out of the craft you are passionate about or it could involve jumping from position to position having new experiences and learning as you go. The type of apprenticeship you undertake is completely up to you and depends on your personality and what you want out of life.

The important thing is not so much what you do but the approach you take to doing it. Your focus should be on learning rather than achieving.


2.    Find purpose by being broad initially 

It’s a question that most people want to figure out. Who am I? What am I doing here? What is my purpose?

We are often bombarded with the narrative that you need to find your life purpose from a young age and then never waver from the course. The trouble is that this is impractical if not impossible for most people.

Robert Greene suggests a variety of methods of finding your life purpose including using your childhood inclinations to guide you.

However, what really stood out to me is the idea of using a long-term process of elimination to figure this out. You start by picking an area that you are potentially interested in and then move closer and closer to your actual purpose over time by eliminating routes that you decide of interest to you after all and gravitating towards routes that are. Your focus will naturally become more narrow as you learn more about yourself and areas you are interested. Eventually you will stumble into a niche that fits you perfectly. This will be your purpose.


3.   Social intelligence

Social intelligence is mentioned as a crucial aspect of achieving Mastery. It is also an important aspect of life that is sometimes overlooked by people who tend to lean towards a creative pursuit. This part of the book was particularly impactful on me as it’s an area that I tend to largely disregard.

The common belief by many people (myself included) is that if the work is good enough then it will speak for itself and to an extent this is true. But it’s also important not to get so caught up in yourself and your work that you forget that there are other people in the world too.

Robert Greene basically recommends developing social intelligence to deal with the inevitable social politics that act as deadly traps between you and mastery. Once you have developed this skill you can navigate the process far more effectively than without it.

He also goes on to mention that you need to ground yourself in reality. You can come up with big ideas but how are you going to put them into practice. This will usually involve dealing with other people. Don’t try to change people but accept them and understand them. You can use this to your advantage.


4.    See with the eyes of a child

A true master can reconnect with their inner child and retrieve the creative and intuitive ideas that reside in that part of themselves. This master will then have to combine this basic, intuitive thinking with the practical skills that they have developed throughout their adult years.

The ability to use both child-like intuition and rationality in this way is the secret to creating masterpieces.


5.    Openness

Working in too rigid of a fashion will cut off many possibilities that might have otherwise been available to you.

Greene argues that keeping an open mind and giving your full attention to every idea that presents itself to you will allow serendipity to do its thing giving you access to brilliant creative ideas that never would have been discovered if you weren’t flexible enough to accept new possibilities.

The road to mastery is almost never a straight one. We need to be adaptable, flexible and open to navigate each bend that presents itself.


I loved this book. It was an ideal read for someone in my situation and I believe the above insights and many of the other great ideas included in the book can help a significant number of people (especially younger people) focus on their path to mastery.

Get the book here.


Ben Worrall

I Have no Talents (The Talent Myth)


Do you have no talent?

Feel like you don’t have any talent? I never really felt like I have any identifiable talent either. I have certain skills that I would consider myself above average in but these skills have never translated into what you would consider a talent. In fact I would be willing to make the assumption that most people would say that they have no talents.

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