All about the couple behind Minimalist Journeys

Keen to life a simpler life or learn how to travel better? You’ve come to the right place.

Our website is full of practical advice and simple, tested tools that help you

Wonder who we are, why we chose to write about simple living and sustainable travel, and how Minimalist Journeys came about?

Here is our story…

Born on opposite sides of the globe – Sandra in East Germany and Paul in New Zealand – we both moved to Sydney, Australia in 2005 and 2007, respectively. We met in June 2010, being paired up in a Latin Dance performance at the dance school we both attended.

Paul and Sandra performed Zouk at 2010 LDA Ball, Sydney Town Hall, Australia
Our Zouk performance at the 2010 LDA Ball at Sydney Town Hall - Can you find us?

Latin Dance not only brought us together as a couple and introduced us to many wonderful people who are now our friends, it also led to our first three-month trip together – back in 2012.

At Iguazu Falls during our 2012 three-month world dance tour
At Iguazu Falls during our 2012 three-month world dance tour

A bit of a testing point whether our relationship would still flourish when together 24/7 for an extended period, that trip in 2012 laid the foundation for our journey today:

Our Wedding Day in Samoa in 2014
Our Wedding Day at the Seabreeze Resort, Samoa in December 2014

Location-independent since October 2016, we are not (semi-)retired, quite the opposite: we still work 5-6 days a week, on this website and other endeavours.

In August 2018, we purchased (and subsequently refurbished) Tirohanga Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand. The lodge allows us to welcome visitors from all around the world, it provides us with an income, and it is our home base when we are in New Zealand (during which time we operate it as a B&B).

Tirohanga Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand - Come and stay with us
Tirohanga Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand - Come and stay with us

While we are very different individuals, our values are aligned. We have both overcome significant adversities in our lives, and our approach to our future is strongly anchored in our values because of these very personal experiences.

Although we love spending quality time with close friends and family, we also share a thirst to learn and expand our horizons. That’s why we love exploring the world and immersing ourselves in other cultures.

We travel mindfully, with respect for nature and culture. Limiting our environmental impact and contributing positively to the communities we visit are important considerations that drive our purchasing decisions.

Material possessions are not important to us. While we never had many, to begin with, what we did have, tied us down. These days, everything we need for our life on the road fits into our carry-on backpacks.

Learning about minimalism reinforced how we felt about life already and adopting minimalist concepts into our life enabled us to ultimately farewell our corporate lives in Sydney and experience more by living with less.

We travel with carry-on backpacks only
This is us with our carry-on backpacks, leaving Sydney in 2016
Countries Explored Since We Started
Number of days on the road
Total weight of gear we own
< 0 kg

Life choices are very personal, and what’s important to us may be totally different from what’s important to you. We do believe though that a greater focus on our personal values can help all of us live the life we truly want. That’s why we created Minimalist Journeys.

A life change like ours doesn’t happen overnight. In our case, it was easily two years in the making and remains an ongoing process. We invite you to come along and read about our journey. Who knows, you may find a new idea or a different approach to something you have been trying to crack for a while.

We won’t (dare) tell you what’s right or wrong, but we can tell you what has worked for us and what hasn’t: from practical tips and tricks on our different resources pages (Life, Travel and Business) to the destinations we have explored to date.

Paul Ryken and Sandra Rosenau

If you read this far, firstly thank you for bearing with us. We don’t want Minimalist Journeys to be just a one-way street. So, please let us know what brought you to our website. Tell us about your journey and what you have learned. We’d be stoked to hear from you.

Enjoyed reading about us? Share our story on Pinterest.

All about the couple behind Minimalist Journeys
All about the couple behind Minimalist Journeys
All about the couple behind Minimalist Journeys

Comments 4

  1. Hi Paul and Sandra

    We are planning to visit Europe mid-September and we still waiting for your writings about Croatia and the places we should visit while there and also,the places to do my long runs as my marathon race is in Quebec, Canada(October 20th)..oops(Paul, at this time, I will send you the link to that race and see if you could track me:

    Any suggestions of places we need to actually see while in Croatia.

    We are travelling from Hamburg to Munich and in between with Natalia’s parents in tow.

    Wishing you all the best.

    a runner from Toronto.

    1. Post

      Hi Miguel

      Sandra is preparing the Croatia article(s) right now so we should have it published shortly.

      For Croatia, we would definitely recommend visiting Šibenik (especially over Split and Dubrovnic). They are also impressive, but for a cute town that is not overrun by tourists, Šibenik is better.

      As for running, there were a few national parks we visited that have great running / easy mountain biking trails. They are crazy drivers in Croatia (actually all the Balkans), and the roads outside the cities and towns can be quite narrow to run along.

      Would be great if we could catch up while you are over here.

      Cheers, Paul

  2. Hi Paul and Sandra

    We meet in Croatia in the restaurant. Me and my husband. We are from Israel. Hope you remember. Where are you now? When are you coming to Israel?

    1. Post

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