Ditching the Corporate Life

This 25-year-old minimalist lives and travels out of just one suitcase. Here's how

Henry Akerman has been living out of his suitcase for the past seven years while he travels and works online jobs
Uptin Saiidi | CNBC

Henry Akerman is a living embodiment of several popular work trends.

He's traded a full time job for multiple part-time ones, in what's sometimes called a "gig-economy." He's also a "digital nomad" — typically a young person who works remotely.

But there's another trend he hopes will catch on: minimalism.

Akerman, 25, works across Asia and Europe with only one suitcase in his possession.

"The less you own, the more headspace you save for what really matters," he said. "I've met countless families who have nothing, yet they are joyful."

He's avoided any permanent base since he was 18 and graduated from high school. Now, he spends anywhere from a week to several months in different locations, like in Thailand or Japan. As an American citizen, he continues to pays taxes in the United States.

Akerman's income varies each month. It consists of about 25% from each of the following areas he works in:

  1. acting jobs;
  2. his e-commerce business which sells t-shirts he's designed;
  3. other start-ups he experiments with;
  4. and investments, such as cryptocurrency.

What's in the suitcase?

"Minimalism is like meditation," Akerman said. "You accept that distractions are there, but you choose to focus on what really matters instead. To me, what matters is health, community, and purpose."

Living in a transient state has its downsides too.

"I value the importance of community," he said. "It's hard to maintain relationships while traveling."

He uses an online forum Nomadlist.com for inspiration and to meet other-like minded digital nomads.

He minimizes transportation costs and searches for flight deals on the likes of Skiplagged.com and Hacktheflight.net.

Akerman names a few things inside his suitcase: three pairs of shoes (dress shoes, athletic shoes and sandals), one suit for when he wants to dress nicely and apart from that, he said "just the basics."

"My advice is to sell everything and start over," he said. "Think about what you really need, wait a bit, then re-evaluate if you still need that item later."

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