Life’s a (Trip To the) Beach: Hot and Hard Lessons in Minimalist Thinking

Travis W. King
6 min readMar 8, 2021

My partner and I bought a white 1995 Ford F-150 in Mexico City last year. On October 10, 2020, we filled it with all of our worldly possessions and our little black rescue pup — Rue Billy — and we drove it to the beach. Rue sat between us for two days as we slowly made our way through the mountains to Acapulco, then along the coast to Puerto Escondido, which is now home.

Our little team at the start of the drive—when the truck was still working fine.

Fonzy, the old white truck, overheated and broke down every two hours along the journey, white smoke billowing from the hood like a fucking truck-cartoon. Every hill was approached with care — emergency lights flashing — as we crept up the incline at 20 mph, waving apologies out the window to passing cars, watching the needle on the heat gauge wiggle at the upper limit of “normal.”

In the end, we made it. Now, we’re two blocks from the beach, and Rue is three times as big. We deal with intense mid-day heat and terrible wifi in exchange for life in paradise. It’s an exchange I’m happy to have committed to. We bought land and feel very settled. This is the first time since graduating high-school that I’ve thought to myself, “I’ll be here for at least 5 years,” and that feels good.

Roots grow fast in the dry Oaxacan dirt.

We’re here for a while, so we’re setting up shop. We bought a scooter, a refrigerator, and a kayak. We installed AC and a pull-up bar in our little apartment. We have a bodega (a storage room), and we’ve nearly filled it with wood, toys, and tools. For more than 8 years I lived out of a backpack and moved constantly, so now that I’m staying put, I’ve bought, acquired, and created stuff — a lot of stuff. Since accepting this new long-term life plan, I’ve thought a lot about stuff as well.

I like all my stuff, and there’s more stuff on Amazon that I think I want to order. I see something shiny that I don’t have and think, Gimme that stuff. Sometimes I make stuff with tools and cement. The market is full of cool stuff. I hang stuff on the walls and set it out on display. I have so many houseplants that I always forget to water at least one.

It feels good to be in a “building and buying” mode of life. To shoot roots down and…

Travis W. King

Traveling, writing, & working abroad for 10 years. Former Remote Year Dir. of Community. Check out my travel memoir—Not That Anyone Asked—at