Before my trip began, and to this day, these have been my only expectations:
– That I’ll have good and bad experiences
– To learn, grow, and transform from those experiences
– Spend most of my time outside
– Meet new people
– See my country and it’s different culture
– Visit family along the way
Now living in such a small space forces you to spend most of your time outside, and that was a desired and intended effect. One of my reasons for the trip was to dodge the Maine winter. I didn’t want to be couped up all the time because of cold grey weather. I like being outside in the sunshine. The biggest purpose of the house on my truck is really to provide shelter from bad weather, have a comfortable place to sleep, and to carry cargo, even though it’s very cozy to sit and hang out in with up to 3 people, not including myself. Otherwise, I’m pretty much always outside. Why stay in when you can be out, especially when the weather is nice?
Another great thing about living in a severely micro dwelling; everything is at arms reach. If you were to add up all the time you spend walking through your house to get one thing or to do another, you’d find a chunk is eaten up simply going from room to room, and back. I once heard that Einstein only had a couple wardrobes so that he didn’t have to waste any time thinking about or choosing what to wear from day to day. Likewise, I don’t lose any time when it comes to doing things in and around my house. Maybe that’s why everyone wears jumpsuits in the future.
Some more of the benefits are that I have less square footage to keep clean and maintain; no need for a mop and I have an oriental rug that I just shake out as needed so no vacuuming. No bathroom to clean either. I have everything I need and nothing I don’t. My only appliances are a camp stove and a fan. No toaster, microwave, oven, dishwasher, or fridge to clean, or have breakdown. I have no TV either. And on that note, I actually haven’t really watched any at all since I left Maine six months ago, which has been very gratifying. They really do rot the brain (don’t get me wrong though, I love a lot of different shows and am quite a movie buff). The only exceptions are the occasional youtube video on my phone, or watching a funny show once in a great while on HULU with one of my friends here in NOLA. That also means I haven’t played any video games, which for me is a guilty pleasure, but I honestly haven’t missed it. Just stepping outside my door, wherever I happen to be, is more than enough for interactive entertainment.
So, there’s also no yard to maintain, no gutters to get clogged (however, I do have a gutter, it’s just small and it’s design prevents clogging), and here are the big ones; no rent, no landlord, no electric or internet bill, and no neighbors unless I want them. The only downside I can think of at the moment is that I don’t have a garden, and no place for raging bonfires. But I’ll make up for that when I get back to Maine.
As for showers, I have a camp shower which is just a black bag of water that heats up in the sun and has a hose with a sprinkler. I don’t always heat it either; a few months before I even thought to go traveling I got into a habit of taking cold showers fairly often for their health benefits, as in, improving circulation, which has a cascade of nice effects for the body and is subsequently good for mind of course. And, the “unpleasantness” of the experience itself each time is also a way to train your mind to better face unpleasant situations by focusing on the fact that great rewards often demand you go through a little discomfort first. Anyway, I take showers outside with a limited supply of water, with minimal pressure, and it’s not always hot, so I spend only as much time as I need to in order to get clean, which is generally between 5 and 10 minutes. I do it with the same approach as brushing my teeth or shaving… Its not something I do for pleasure, and the quicker the better. Bing bang. Time is precious, and half hour showers weren’t uncommon for me when I was living in an apartment. But now, it takes up the least of my time. My “bathroom” consists of a folding toilet seat for you know what, and a glass jar for number one. I try to use public restrooms or shops when I can for both, but if I can’t, I’m prepared.
Life on the road with a minimalist mindset is definitely conducive to living in the moment and reducing stress if done properly. And if you’re like me, one learns to eagerly and enthusiastically let go of and be very content without so many of the things we’re taught growing up are necessary for happiness. You eventually come to embrace the new lifestyle as you shed the majority of your old possessions, habits, requirements, and expectations for everyday living. Thoreau, and all the rest who have said that less is more and simpler is better, are all correct. More things, more space, more obligations, more concerns, more this and that and so on and so on is just more fragmentation of every aspect of your life; more complication. Part of my mantra has always been “no worries,” and “no big deal,” or, “keep it simple.” And if you ever met me, you’d immediately notice that I’m mellow to the extreme. I’m not passive or shy, I just always have a very laid back attitude, relaxed demeanor, and an easygoing presence. Calm, cool, and collected as they say. If you can’t be happy with nothing, then you can’t be happy with everything. In fact, it gets harder to be happy with more, and easier with less. But don’t take my word for it. Go out there and see for yourself.