Episode 19: Minimalism and the 6-Month-to-Live List

Minimalism is intentionally living with only the things you really need. Minimalists maintain that there are benefits to minimalist living, like reduced anxiety, lower expenses, increased productivity, and living a more fulfilling life. But not all minimalists go so far as to reduce their possessions to live out of a van … for years … intentionally. My guest today is author David Soto Jr. and he is (or maybe was) one of these van life minimalists. 

David Soto Jr. is a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant who didn’t realize until reaching his forties that he was a writer. He has contributed to The Good Men Project, Task & Purpose, and Your Tango. His debut novella, “Los Chocolates de Esperanza Diamanté,” has changed the course of his writing career, sparking a series of follow-up books based on the characters he created. 

In a future episode we will discuss his literary pursuits, but today I wanted to focus on his extraordinary life to get a better glimpse into the world of minimalism. Is it really as great as some claim it to be? How do van life minimalists, for example, deal with boredom and the potential demons that will inevitably haunt you as you spend hours and hours a day in silence with your own thoughts? How does one become a minimalist? And what kind of person becomes one?

David Soto Jr. and I spoke back in July, and today I share that conversation. Join me as we explore van life minimalism on today’s episode.

The Nasiona Podcast shares stories that explore the spectrum of human experience and glimpse into foreign worlds. We focus on stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.

Our theme song is “Into the West,” courtesy of Tan Vampires.

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DAVID SOTO JR. is a retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant who didn’t realize until reaching his forties that he was a writer. As a child, he struggled with learning disabilities, which yielded him grades that barely earned him his high school diploma. With marks like that, the thought of being an author never occurred to him and college was out of the question. He joined the military and retired 23 years later. The same week David took off the uniform for the last time, never to put it back on, and hit the road to travel the U.S. in his van. 
David penned several fitness and nutrition articles and books, but after listening to On Writing by Stephen King, he decided to give writing fiction a try. He started with a novel about an Air Force Sergeant whose PTSD caused him to do terrible things in his sleep. This project was for practice as well as fun, and he published a chapter every week on his website. After several months, this project came to an abrupt halt.
One of Stephen Kings’ pieces of advice was to become a voracious reader of fiction. David became obsessed with reading novels and became reacquainted with his favorite genre, magical realism. One evening while reading, he could not get out of his head the vision of a beautiful woman who sold magical chocolates to people who needed to rekindle the fire in their love lives. That was the birth of “Los Chocolates de Esperanza Diamanté” and the series of books that followed.
You can follow David on Instagram and Twitter: @davidesotojr
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