You know those life dreams, the ones that haunt you at your core, tugging at your soul nearly everyday. The dreams that no matter how much justification for why right now is not the best time for it to come to fruition, it just won’t back down. That is tiny living for us. The emotions that bubble up around this dream seem to be boiling over recently, as time goes on. As we are now reaching 18 months from when we thought we would be settled into our dream tiny home. The architectural plans were drawn up, designed by Whit and I, and reviewed by my architect father. We had flown to SLC and met with a tiny home builder in the area. We even scouted out locations for “squatting.” We had paired down all of our belongings to fit into a small trailer and my jeep. We had completed all of the necessary steps including stoking up our inner fires of hope and kindling our aspirations. All of this, only to be told that our dream couldn’t happen, because of bureaucratic laws in place for building restrictions that still hadn’t been readdressed since the tiny home movement started. In places like Portland, Denver, and Austin, building codes have been adjusted and rewritten to accommodate for those who want to live small. So in a frenzy over our weekend in SLC, we found an apartment. Although we love our apartment, especially for its location, we are still mired in our dreams for tiny living. And I know we will still pursue our dream despite our setback, if we can only wait a few years. Our current plan is to finish training in about 3 1/2 years, then take a year off to backpack around the world. When we come back from our trip, we will find an airstream to renovate and call home. We hope to do locums work in a few different locations around the US and abroad, and an airstream would be the ultimate easily mobile home.
With all of this talk of tiny living, people always seem perplexed at the lack of objects that one truly needs to live. For different people, the everyday essentials will change. For us, we love to cook so our kitchen appliances (though limited compared to many) are indispensable. Also, our camping and snowboarding gear are integral for our way of life and what brings us happiness. All of those items take up space, but with smart storage options are reasonable to keep in a tiny home. We have never had a TV, nor do we ever plan on buying one. We get by with our laptops only, and don’t require other electronics. We share a wardrobe that has been shrinking nearly every year as we continue to give away clothes we don’t wear often enough to be worth keeping. Now that we make all of our body products, our bathroom essentials are contained in three mason jars. All of this factors into a lifestyle that we have embraced: one of minimal consumerism, embracing experiences over materialism, and freeing ourselves from the ties of objects.
It can obviously be difficult to give away or sell objects that hold memories. But the truth is, you can still hold onto the memories without the physical presence of the object. I have learned this lesson in regards to my travel treasures. A few years ago, I would buy a little something for myself to remember the trip by: a piece of art, an ornament, or some other random souvenir. When we moved to SLC, I had the realization that I didn’t need to keep dragging these objects from home to home, that I would always remember the cultures and crazy experiences that each new country wrought. And since giving those things away, I honestly haven’t thought about them until right this moment as I’m writing this post. So many other knick-knacks and decorations have passed through our hands only to be given away when we realized less truly is more. And it is incredibly liberating.
I know many people, including our own families, don’t understand our mentality or beliefs. We are befuddling and confusing. We may seem like we are trying to live some austere hardship, rather than living simply. But it is so much more than living with less. It is the sense of freedom that living with only the essentials brings. It is about the nights spent in deep conversation cuddled on the couch, rather than zoned out watching reality TV. It is about the funds available for travel when the “need” for the latest fashions is irrelevant. It is about the nights spent under the stars camped out at an alpine lake or in a yurt or in the back of my jeep with just our backpacks. It is about feeling so incredibly alive and knowing that if we lost it “all,” whether through flood, fire, or financial loss, we would still be perfectly happy as long as we still had each other. It is about focusing on what is out there, rather than in these four walls. It is about exploration and discovery of both the world and ourselves. It is about freedom.