You Should Know More about Andrew Hyde
If you’re a longtime reader of this site, you may remember the name Andrew Hyde. More likely, you’ll remember his claim to fame: at one point Hyde narrowed his possessions down to a mere 15 items (which later bloated to 39).
I’ve shot an email or two to Hyde over the years to see what he was up to. It turns out that Hyde is far more interesting than just being some dude without a lot of stuff. I emailed Hyde a few questions to explain what he’s up to and what he’s about.
Introduce yourself for people who don’t know about you?
Tell us a little about your 15 item experiment.
For two years I lived with a backpack and 14 ish other things. I loved the idea of longterm travel and the thought of a storage unit and the amazing amount of stuff was overwhelming. When I was packing up I invited all my friends to loot all of my stuff and I left Boulder [Colorado] on a grand adventure with a super light backpack.
How many possessions do you have now? If more, why?
I was fortunate enough to buy a home so my stuff count is off the charts [editor’s note: the house is super awesome. See below]. I think I have a drawer with more things than I did for those two years. I think 400 or so things is what my ‘count’ is, but if the project was about minimalism counting up what I own is kinda missing the point. Nothing runs my life or schedule. Stuff is replaceable and isn’t something I value (I enjoy it for sure).
Tells us about your current living situation?
I travel about seven months out of the year. Two months or so I’ll be in a tent, one month in a hotel, two months at friends places and the rest at AirBnb’s or planes. I still travel with the same bag and will go on a few week trip with just a few things. My ‘room’ in the house is about 150 square feet and is just perfect. I built a very tiny home feeling space in my home.
What does this setup enable you to do?
Before I started Startup Weekend I had not been out of the country. Now I’ve been to over 50, all 50 states and had an amazing time. I do a lot of the obvious touristy sightseeing but something that I didn’t picture myself being able to do so much is volunteer. I work helping friends out in a barnraising style to almost every trip I take. Where can I go and how can I help out. That is the most ideal situation I can think of.
What would you say to people who might see your lifestyle as something only a single, childless dude can do?
Some of my favorite people in the world are traveling with their families. It is easier to be single, but that also has its own challenges. I love the freedom I have, but feel like I’m missing the beauty of an amazing relationship (which is coming). Anyone can travel (even if they just look at their current location from a different view). Location is identity. Where you are going and have been says more about you than almost anything.
How can anyone, regardless of their life-situations, adapt some of your lifestyle’s principles to his or her own?
I have a challenge I give to friends which is pretty simple: leave your wallet at home tomorrow. See how far of your enjoyable life you can make without cash. Ask for a free coffee. Volunteer a trade or just skip lunch. Walk, don’t drive if you can. Take your routine and see how much of it is just habit vs what you enjoy. Travel with that same philosophy. Research airline points booking and figure out a place you want to go and how you will earn the points to get you there. Help friends do the same. Time, not cash, is what generally holds people back. The trick is to get out there as much as you can.