What do we really need?
I thought we were on Day 900 today, but with a quick check using excel, it turns out we're on day 889. How have I added 11 days? Anyhow, having now travelled for nearly 900 days, I think, by now we have sussed out what we really need as far as stuff is concerned!
For the first time since we left the UK on 16th November 2017, we are now staying in one place for one whole month. That's the longest we’ve stayed anywhere. Last summer, we did house-sit in Bristol for 3.5 weeks minus a weekend away.
Our apartment overlooking the Pacific Ocean here in Toucheng seems palatial to us. We’ve calculated that it’s 4.5m x 9.97m (15ft x 32ft), far bigger than a double bedroom with ensuite that we usually live in. So how much room does a couple really need? I've been investigating.
Since I last wrote, we've been staying indoors - in sympathy with the rest of the world in lockdown. Sadly Tim has man flu. (No worries; no cough or lack of taste and smell. He has a runny nose, head cold and feels tired.) Instead, of exploring outdoors, we’ve been watching loads of YouTube clips; learning about renewable energy and hydroponics, amongst other things.
I got hooked on a YouTube channel “Living Big in a Tiny House”. It’s fascinating seeing the different ways people design their tiny homes, some are so creative. One even has a sauna, another a dressing room, and many have upstairs bedrooms squeezed under the ceiling and fully utilise the stairs with drawers in the lower steps and cupboards under the higher ones. What a great idea.
Quite a few of these Tiny Houses have fridge/freezers, hobs, ovens, drawer dishwashers and washing machines with full-size showers - all mod cons.
I have found out that the maximum size for a road-towable Tiny Home in the UK is 2.55m x 7m (8ft 4” x 23ft), so I have been busy measuring this out (I knew that tape measure would come in use) and have been designing (perhaps) our next home. Who knows? I’ve worked out that we could have two small bedrooms and a sofa-bed, so our family could stay. It would be lovely and intimate, that’s for sure.
Sadly in the UK, unlike the USA, New Zealand, Australia and many European countries, you cannot buy a piece of land and live in your Tiny Home long-term. This is such a shame as it would enable many people to buy their own place and help the housing crisis. Currently, in the UK, I think that you can only live in one place for 28 days in a mobile home, which, with our recent travelling pattern, would be enough for us!
Living here and watching numerous episodes of Living Big in a Tiny House got me thinking about what we really need. Apart from not seeing friends and family in the flesh, is there anything that we miss from our old way of life? A garden for Tim and a cosy dressing gown for me – that’s it. We don’t miss the big house we had built with all the clutter in it; I don’t miss the stacks of clothes and shoes I had for every colour of the rainbow. Life is simpler now.
You may wonder what we do travel with over these (nearly) 900 days. We have a carry-on bag each for our clothes. We have our small toiletry and first aid bags and sewing kit. Our technology is an international plug adapter, mobile phones, power-block charger, compact camera, my trusted Microsoft Surface Pro tablet and a backup hard-drive.
Our travel kitchen equipment is a water filter, travel cups, a cooler bag, 3 Tupperware boxes, and two lovely cutlery sets our sons and girlfriends bought us for Christmas. We also have a pencil case with watercolours that haven’t seen much daylight, and I recently purchased a notepad that I am drawing in each day. That’s it.
Recently when a Facebook friend discovered that we were still travelling, he wrote “I bet travelling completely changes your perspective?” and my immediate response without thinking was “Yes, a very simple life with minimal stuff both outside and inside”.
That is one of the biggest things I have learnt during our (nearly) 900 days of travelling. Not only do we not need to be continually buying stuff, cluttering our lives, but also somehow all the busy-ness and chaos within our minds dissolve away, the constant internal chatter quietens down. That in itself is a blog to be written.
I wonder, with many of you in lockdown for several weeks now, has this simplified your life? Have you noticed that you need less stuff than before? Will this continue? We’d love to hear.