Resources for a simple, values-based lifestyle
Welcome to the Minimalist Journeys Life Resources page, a curated list of the websites, apps and tools we recommend so that you too can experience more by living with less. This list is designed to help you organise your home and finances, and give you more time for the things that truly matter in your life. As we have Australian, German and New Zealand citizenship, some of the products and services we use and recommend are specific to our countries only and may not apply to everyone.
Many of the resources on this page were crucial to developing our lifestyle to where it is today. We have tried and tested many options, but only those resources that made the cut are listed here. These are our preferences, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. Though, we do add and change this list as we find better resources that help us all. As such, we always look for organisations that are aligned with our values. So if you represent a company interested in working with us please get in touch.
How to live paperless
Wonder what to do with your old photos and documents? Make space in your home and preserve your mementos with our step-by-step guide.
To digitize your life, you have the choice: get your most important documents and photos scanned by a professional company or do the scanning yourself.
We did the scanning ourselves with the help of the Epson Perfection V370 Photo Scanner. We used a different model initially but swapped to this one as it allowed us to scan documents, photos AND Sandra’s 35mm negatives, which the scanner turned into positive digital images of sufficient quality.
Portable Document Scanning
To remain paperless after having digitized your most important photos and documents, we use and recommend the Office Lens smartphone app and its in-built scanning feature. You can scan any receipt, invoice and other physical documents you may have and automatically store it as a PDF file.
The app allows you to
- Capture a photo of a document and convert it into a clean, rectangular PDF.
- Scan multiple pages and save them in the same PDF file.
- Take photos through the app and save them as JPG files.
- Save the file to the default folder.
- Rename the file as you save it or use the app suggested file name.
- Rearrange multiple pages into the correct order before you save them.
- Scan a document while offline. Once you get an internet connection, the document uploads to Microsoft OneDrive.
The app does not allow you to scan multiple pages as PNG files and save them as a single file.
Where to (safely) store photos and documents
Once you have scanned your initial documents, photos and negatives, you need to put them somewhere. We do not recommend using USB sticks or external hard drives as they can get lost/stolen or otherwise compromised, and you don’t have access to your files unless you have the storage device with you.
Cloud storage providers allow you to store digital files (including photos and documents) safely as the storage and the transmission of files are encrypted, and access is protected by two-factor authentication. Storing your files in the cloud also enables you to access them anywhere, from any device, and at any time using an internet connection.
Our favourite is OneDrive.
We use Microsoft OneDrive for all our documents and images, because
- changes we make to our files are automatically synchronized across all our devices; and
- we can access our files offline, which means we can be productive even without an internet connection.
Microsoft OneDrive is encrypted, and you can share files and folders with friends and family. No more large email attachments or USB drives.
Avira Phantom VPN Pro
We have been using Avira products and services since 2012 and thoroughly recommend them. Avira is a German multinational security software company mainly known for its antivirus software Avira Internet Security. And while it is best known for the antivirus product, Avira launched the virtual private network solution in 2017 and has been enhancing the features and capability ever since. It is now available for the four main operating systems: Android, iOS, macOS and Windows in both a Free and Pro version.
To get technical, neither traffic nor IP addresses are logged on their VPN service, however, bandwidth is logged. And being a German company, they are bound by the General Data Protection Regulations.
As a critical application, it is one of the ones we would recommend you pay for – whichever solution you go with.
What to do with physical mail
Governments, financial institutions and other businesses require your physical or postal address before you access their services, which makes not having a fixed abode (like us) especially challenging.
You can select either a Post Office (PO) box or a street address. Given that all financial institutions and many businesses don’t accept PO box addresses for regulatory purposes, we chose the street address option.
The benefits are:
- Your mail will be received (and signed if required) and you will be notified via email, so you no longer miss important mail;
- You can (pre)select which mail you want to have scanned and emailed, shredded or forwarded based on the sender and the weight of the item;
- They provide bank-grade security and protect your privacy; and
- The company is New Zealand owned and operated.
With their global partnerships, and based upon our own research, our best recommended alternative to Private Box outside of New Zealand is Anytime Mailbox. It is a great budget virtual mailbox service with over 600 available street addresses worldwide. That said, if you go with the less expensive plan from Anytime Mailbox, your monthly mail quota is quite small. Their mobile app is great for digital nomads and like almost all of the mailbox services, they offer to recycle and shred your mail.
How to minimize expenses/maximize income
We only operate Australian, New Zealand and German bank accounts, so our tips and advice when it comes to personal finances are limited to those countries and the personal experience we’ve had with the accounts and companies we’ve used.
28 Degrees Mastercard
- No annual fee;
- No currency conversion fees; and
- No international transaction fees.
The downside is that the card does not provide you with any rewards points, so if you think about using it to pay for your weekly groceries at home don’t get this card. The card is perfect though for people who travel frequently internationally as those sneaky fees add up to more than what any rewards points are worth – we calculated AUD800 in saved currency conversion and international transaction fees during our 3 month backpacking trip in 2012.
If you pay off your credit card every month (as you should), this is a real money saver. They also offer free Wi-Fi access at more than 1 million Boingo hotspots worldwide.
OFX is an Australian-based online foreign exchange and payments company with offices around the world. We started using OFX several years ago to transfer money between Australia and New Zealand, after finding that high street banks offered very bad exchange rates at exorbitantly high fees.
We have always been extremely pleased with the quality of service, the speed of transfer, the communication throughout each transfer and most importantly, the exchange rates offered.
OFX offers much better exchange rates than high street banks, in 55+ currencies. Forward Contracts and Limit Orders help customers mitigate currency fluctuations. Payments are secure (OFX is regulated by over 50 global regulators).
Their smartphone app provides a currency converter with live exchange rates and enables you to transfer money and track your transfers on the go.
XE Money Transfer
Many people know XE as the app that provides real-time foreign exchange rates and that was the case for us until recently. As a viable alternative to OFX (above), we tested XE Money Transfer with moving money from New Zealand to Australia and found there was a sweet spot when it gave a better exchange rate (and therefore more money in our pocket. It definitely pays to shop around. But XE Money Transfer is now one of the recommended tools when moving money internationally.
What to wear and how to pack light for all seasons
Obviously, this is a very personal decision, depending on where you live, your lifestyle, your job, age and gender.
We travel full-time with carry-on luggage only. We have prepared a list of the clothing and other personal items we own and where we purchased our gear from. All our packing lists are regularly updated: when we purchase a new item, it is added; likewise, when we donate/discard an item, we remove it from our packing list/s.
About 10 years ago, the team from Saint Basics embarked on a mission for cleaner underwear. Not to make a profit, but to supply us with Feelgood basics that we can truly love. And in the meantime, change the textile industry a little bit from within.
Now they make the softest basics from natural materials like eucalyptus. Great fit, anti-smell, no scratchy labels. About 95% more environmentally friendly than common products. And 100% free from pesticides, sweatshops, child labour and unfair trade. The team from Saint Basics believe they’re the most feelgood basics you’ll ever wear. In fact, they guarantee it.
So be a Saint too!. Start your day with a good feeling about who you are, what you look like and the choices you make. And help spread that feeling. Together we can make the world a nicer place … from the bottom up!
Saint Basics. On a mission for feelgood.
Unbound Merino was created by three lifelong friends obsessed with travel. Along with that came the desire to save time, space, and money and our focus went to high performance, great looking, travel clothing. Their purpose is to create simple, high-performance clothing that is versatile enough for any occasion.
How to have better relationships
Staying in touch with loved ones has been made easier over the years with technology, but face to face is always best. That said, we share the common tools we use to connect with family and friends around the world.
Knowing our history and where we have come from makes it easier to know where we are headed. Join Ancestry® and you’ll start discovering your family history and connecting with your heritage. As an Ancestry member since 2012, Paul has managed to located relatives back to the Fourteenth Century – and connect with relatives he had not seen since childhood. Ancestry provides all the tools you need to help you embark on your own journey of self-discovery. With the world’s largest collection of online family history records, and the number one selling consumer DNA test, Ancestry can provide you with the best insights into your family history and origins.
We all have our favourite when it comes to voice over internet (VoIP) and messaging services. Ours is Skype, as it allows us to
- have group video calls – it’s awesome to see everyone as if we were all together in the same room; and
- call mobile and landline numbers at very low rates.
On top of that, it’s super easy to use.
Similar to Skype, WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, images, and make audio or video calls.
We mainly use it so send text messages and images, because it is so widely used internationally, and its’ messaging capability is much like a smartphone text service. However, because WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, the cost is significantly less than on a smartphone plan (unless you have a plan with unlimited text and multi media messages).
Users can make (encrypted) voice calls and send text messages, voice messages and files of any kind. Unlike the other messaging apps we use, you have to pay a one-off charge to install Threema.
Where to find like-minded people
We started tuning into Amy’s podcasts long before we left our corporate careers. Many of the stories inspired us and helped shape what our Nomadtopia looks like today.
The Nomadtopia Collective gives you access to up-to-date, relevant resources for living a location-independent life and a small but supportive community for your journey. Especially when you’re on your own, having the backing of the community makes location-independent life less lonely and more sustainable.
Which products and services are environmentally friendly?
NetZero Co is one of the small companies that want to make a difference in the world and deserves support. They look for opportunities to make a positive impact on the environment.
Their products are carefully designed in Canada and manufactured across various countries, including China, Nepal, the USA and Canada. Their cotton products are GOTS certified, their compostable bags comply with BPI standards which ensures the packaging products compost completely and safely in municipal and commercial compost facilities.
Be The Change – with NetZero Co.
Tinggly is changing the way you give gifts. We know that people are tired of giving, and receiving, material possessions we don’t need, we don’t use, or add no value to our lives.
People want experiences, they want adventures, new, life-enhancing moments, and they want to take life by the horns instead of sitting back being controlled by consumerism.
All of Tinggly’s experiences are fully sustainable. For every Tinggly experience, they remove 33lbs of plastic from the environment, they offset the carbon footprint by a massive 200%, and we’re building trash traps in the rivers of Bali. Now you can give the perfect gift, with a clean conscience.
Last Updated 15 June 2021