Travel Insiders: The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus

Oct 02 2014 by
Categories : Travel

The authors and low-key travellers talk about their streamlined road-trip style.

“‘Just in case’ are the three most dangerous words in the English language,” says Joshua Fields Millburn, who, along with Ryan Nicodemus, spent the last 10 months on an 82-city road trip across North America to promote the duo’s newest book, Everything That Remains, a memoir of life as the self-proclaimed “Minimalists.”

So how do you fit a whole life into a car for a year? Well, these two don’t. “We use the 20/20 rule: We don’t bring anything we think we might need that can be replaced for $20 in less than 20 minutes,” says Nicodemus, noting that he no longer packs, say, an extra pair of shoelaces. As a result, the duo each lived out of an approximately 40-litre bag for the whole journey.

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Their one indulgence? Great coffee. “We joke that ‘yeah, we’re on a book tour, but we’re also on a coffee tour.’” In their car’s trunk, you’ll find a kettle, a pour-over, filters and coffee, as well as an iron — purchased, of course, en route using their 20/20 rule.


BEST ROASTER Joshua and Ryan: Dogwood Coffee Co. in Minneapolis, Minn.: “When we are home in Missoula, Mont., we mail-order our coffee from here — they have the best roast around.”

BEST CUP OF COFFEE CartelCoffee Lab in Tucson, Ariz.: “The Ethiopia Yirgacheffe pour-over is fruity, crisp, perfect.”

BEST SHOT OF ESPRESSO Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco, Oakland and New York City: “They have consistently great high- quality espresso that’s masterfully pulled.”

OVERALL BEST Press Coffee Bar in Dayton, Ohio: “We love the neighbourhood and that the staff are so passionate.”

BEST AMBIANCE Matchstick Coffee Roasters in Vancouver: “The space has an elegant, minimalist style and outstanding coffee.”

MOST MEMORABLE CITIES Ryan: “The sky in Tucson is like HD — that’s the only way I can describe it. And Halifax has this great vegan restaurant called Wild Leek.” Joshua: “The people in Salt Lake City are serious about being nice — it’s not this faux thing. And Des Moines, Iowa, has some of the best architecture I’ve ever seen.”

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CAR ESSENTIALS Joshua: “A Belkin multi-charging unit and a GPS app.” Ryan: “Fruit and healthy snacks from Whole Foods.”

PIT STOP Joshua: “The Headspace meditation app, a six-minute exercise routine and an Airbnb reservation.”Ryan: “Skype, to keep in touch with my girlfiend back in Montana. I also mail her a postcard from every city.”

TRAVEL STYLE Ryan: “Jeans and a black T-shirt. I’ve gone to a wedding wearing this outfit.” Joshua: “My uniform is a denim button-up, blue jeans and boots. And I will say that Ryan does have one blue shirt.”


Cotton shirt, Joe Fresh ($29); Leather boots, Zara ($169); 40-litre nylon weatherproof rucksack, Mission Workshop ($249).

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Categories: Travel