Welcome to Run With Less, Britt @ Tiny Ambitions.
Britt is a blogger, podcaster and minimalist from Ontario, Canada.
Both the blog and podcast have been a great source of inspiration to my own journey of less and intentionality.
Britt, thank you for inspiring me and taking the time for a chat today.
Run With Less: For readers who may be new to your work, could you give an introduction to your backstory?
Britt: I started my journey into minimalism and simple living in 2014 when I donated/sold/recycled around 75% of my belongings. And I have the pictures to prove it! My ‘stuff’ started giving me serious anxiety and also messed with my finances to the point where I knew I needed to make a major change. I was also what I would call a shopaholic. I was a mindless consumer, to the max.
After getting serious about minimalism (and many, many trips to Value Village, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army later), I am happy to report my life is far less cluttered! I am now starting the work of diving into the simple life and everything that that entails.
I started Tiny Ambitions in 2016 to keep myself accountable on my journey and to share my love of minimalism and simple living with a small corner of the internet.
RWL: Great to hear that living simply has had a positive impact on your life. Could you tell us more about the Tiny Bites podcast?
B: Funny story, I started Tiny Bites kind of accidentally (this is what happens when you just start clicking buttons in an app without realizing what you’re doing)! After two years of blogging, I started to crave more connection with people in the minimalist, slow living and personal finance spaces. A podcast seemed like a good way to connect with like minded people, in a way that wasn’t possible with just a blog.
It started with solo audio notes just from me and I just finished season 3 with a full season of interviews with wonderful people leading their best intentional lives.
RWL: It’s funny how the best things don’t start out with a plan and are born accidentally, out of a passion or interest and are done purely for the fun of it.
You have a love for Yoga and have a new podcast project in the pipeline called ‘re: terrible yoga’. What can we expect from the show?
B: I do love yoga. So much so that I did my 200hr yoga teacher training in 2014 when I was in grad school. I made a great friend at this training and we’re starting this new podcast together. We both love yoga, but there is a lot of ridiculous yoga stuff out there that takes the practice of yoga way too seriously. We want re:terrible yoga to be about all of the terrible ways we’ve seen yoga portrayed on the internet, as a lighthearted and hopefully comedic reminder to be people, that it doesn’t need to be so serious.
RWL: Well done on the 200hrs! I can’t wait to listen to the new show.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting a new creative project or hosting a podcast on the anchor platform?
B: Just get started. The hardest part of any creative project is taking the first step to turn it into a reality. Once you actually get over that hurdle and get started, everything gets easier.
RWL: You love nature and exploring the outdoors. What are your thoughts on running?
B: I have never been a runner, but I love the idea of running. I love the idea of putting miles of pavement or trails behind you and just being present in your environment. Running isn’t for me, I’m more of a yoga, and hiking type of person, but I can totally understand the appeal of running.
RWL: Minimalism is about living an intentional life according to your own values. Could you share more about your values and how you live intentionally?
B: A big part of why I wanted to make a commitment to live a more minimalist life is because of the current state of our environment and worsening climate change. One of the best ways to reduce your environmental footprint is to consume less. And living with less can help with that.
For me, living intentionally is about taking the time to really consider what it is what I want in my life. That includes everything from the stuff I bring into my life, to the work I choose to do, to the kinds of people I want in my life.
In practice, intentional living for me looks like trying to only buy new consumer products when old things wear out, or stop fitting me, always searching for new opportunities to create meaningful and fulfilling work, and fiercely guarding and nurturing my personal relationships.
RWL: That resonates deeply. You have a passion for the tiny house movement too?
B: I do! I love tiny houses. I don’t think you need to live in a tiny house to be a minimalist, I just think they are a super cool way to live an alternative life, while maintaining some level of creature comforts.
Until very recently, I never saw myself ever buying a traditional home. So, a tiny house was the perfect alternate option. I’d still like to own a tiny house one day, or even live in another type of alternative dwelling, like an off-the-grid cabin.
RWL: I love how Minimalism looks different and is unique to every individual. What other flavours of Minimalism have you seen that inspire you?
B: I love minimalists who embrace their own true style and don’t try and force themselves into the current minimalist look that is all over the internet. There is nothing sadder to me than someone becoming a minimalist and thinking that means they have to only wear black and white and only decorate their house with grey furniture and green succulents. Life is way too short to not express your sense of style exactly the way that you want to. Personally, I’m a big fan of bright colours and loud prints, so, anyone able to bring those styles into their minimalist life is my hero.
RWL: Love that, embracing colour & textures to truly express your individuality.
In the latest Tiny Bites podcast episode, you share examples were you could be considered a ‘bad minimalist’, such as being messy and struggling to maintain Marie Kondo’s folding method. In contrast to the perceived ‘perfect’ Instagram aesthetic of Minimalism, your honest & authentic approach is very refreshing & highly entertaining.
Do you have any advice for someone discovering Minimalism for the first time?
B: Don’t be intimidated. It might seem like minimalism is a completely unattainable set of standards for how to live your life. But, I guarantee there are small ways you can begin incorporating minimalism and intentional living into your day-to-day life without completely starting your life over from scratch.
My biggest piece of advice would be, go slow. It’s tempting to want to dive head first into minimalism and get rid of everything you own (and that’s what I wanted to do when I got started). But, we’re talking about years and years of accumulated stuff. You owe it to yourself and to your stuff to take the time to really consider what you want to keep in your life, and how you want to re-home or reuse the things that are not serving you anymore.
RWL: Agreed, minimalism is a life-long practice that takes time, so go slow & enjoy the process.
Could you tell us about ‘mundane gratitude’?
B: Mundane gratitude is a phrase I coined with my yoga friend when we were talking one day about how annoying #blessed is on Instagram. Sure, it’s easy to feel #blessed when you have that perfect vacation to take, or the spotlessly clean house you’re sharing on your feed. We wanted to know if we could be grateful when life was a little less rosy. Can we be grateful for the small, seemingly mundane things in our lives? Like when our pets only throw up twice in a day instead of their usual three? If we can be grateful when things don’t look particularly #blessed, surely we will be able to appreciate the good that much more.
RWL: It’s the simple things that we should all appreciate the most.
What does your meditation practice looks like?
B: I have an on and off relationship with my meditation practice, but it’s something I want to focus on more in the future. I tend to lean on my meditation practice when I need it (i.e. when my anxiety is particularly bad, or I’m having trouble sleeping). But, I need to get in a better habit of meditating even when things are going well. I enjoy meditating, like the actual process of meditating is very enjoyable for me, so I just need to make that commitment to do it more often.
Thanks for sharing. I like that idea of meditating when things are going well, not just when you need it most. Like everything that is a practice, consistency is key.
RWL: You can add one word onto the end of the phrase ‘Run With Less’. What would you choose?
B: Run With Less… Fear
RWL: Where can people find you online?
Thanks again Britt, it was lovely to chat with you about all things minimalism and simple living. Good luck & I look forward to hearing the new @terribleyoga podcast soon.