After living over 16 months in my Bighorn RV full-time, I just had the realization that I am living in a tiny home. For months, I have been watching these Tiny House shows on TV as I’ve traveled around the country. I have been fascinated by this growing trend of young couples, families, single professionals and retirees who want to live more simply. Some of them have sold large homes with the desire to have a smaller footprint on the planet. While for others, it’s their first home, and they want to have a home that’s affordable without the large mortgage, and that gives them the flexibility to move their house and travel with their house as well.
On most of these shows, the people are shown three different tiny homes, and have to decide which one they most would like to live in. At first, the homes were more wooden structures with porches, decks, and even window boxes, all on wheels. Now, the families, couples and singles are being shown different options such as a smaller home which is a more of a permanent structure on a cement slab, a mobile home such as the kind in the mobile home parks; and lastly, even house boats which can be moved around, or kept tied up at a pier.
When I saw all these different tiny home options, it hit me that I am living in a tiny home. My Bighorn RV is about 400 square feet, and is self-contained like a tiny house, and also very mobile with its own set of wheels, and easily moved by a good size truck. I also went through the downsizing process of selling a home which was almost 2,000 square feet including all those amenities that I had grown accustomed to over the years.
Now, that I am living in my version of a tiny house, I have discovered more of the benefits of living simply especially in an RV which can move with me wherever I may want to go. It’s also a lot more energy efficient because you can move to different areas to save on heating fuel in the winter, and then in the summer, move to save on the energy cost of running air conditioning. If that’s not possible with your job, you can also utilize solar panels as well to reduce your energy costs.
It’s been inspiring to see the trend of tiny homes across the country, and to see how these homes are showing up in all areas from cities to rural towns; and from on the road, to being part of more established communities. It gives me hope that more people are choosing a simpler lifestyle. I am imagining that more tiny home co-housing communities will be set up as another way to save money, living within a community. The possibilities are endless for the different ways that we can live with less.
Recently, I watched a very uplifting film called, “I AM” by Tom Shadyac, a Hollywood movie director who made a huge life change after a health crisis. The movie addressed the questions that Shadyac wanted to ask some of the most remarkable men and women from the worlds of science, philosophy, academia, and faith: What’s wrong with our world? and What can we do to make it better? After speaking with all these people, he began to see some themes in their words – how they all spoke of humanity being inter-connected with all of life on the planet; and how empathy and compassion are really intrinsic qualities of humans; and how, it all comes down to Love. Shadyac commented, “My hope is that I AM is a window into Truth, a glimpse into the miracle, the mystery and magic of who we really are, and of the basic nature of the connection and unity of all things.”
In the movie, Shadyac also addressed the materialism and super-consumerism of the American culture. Most of the people he interviewed commented on this phenomena of seeking happiness through the accumulation of stuff, and how to change the focus from buying more stuff to living life to the fullest. By the end of the movie, Shadyac gave up his Hollywood lifestyle. He sold his 17,000 square foot estate with three homes, and downsized to a mobile home park in California. He gave up his private jet, and commuted by bike to work. In a short amount of time, Shadyac created a whole new way of living more simply.
After watching that movie, I wondered how many other people could give up those expensive lifestyles, which have kept them tied to jobs that they no longer enjoy. I wondered how many other people could downsize from a mini-mansion to a tiny home. The tiny home trend could help many people experience the American dream of owning their own home. Many people have lost their homes since 2008, but perhaps, it’s time to pursue a new lifestyle – one that is more focused on living life rather than making excessive amounts of money.
I’m not sure that I will always be living in an RV tiny home. But if I do have another home in my future, it will definitely be a smaller home, with a small carbon footprint to match. As the New Year begins, I invite more people to join me in a commitment to living more simply. It can be a big leap from a large home to a tiny home, but you can always start out first by letting go of stuff through donating, selling, or just giving it away to people who may need what you no longer need. As you lighten your load, you may be surprised at how freeing it is, and before you know it, you too, could be living more simply. Happy New Year to one and all.
By Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A. © 2016
Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A., CHT is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Western Astrologer and Author who counsels clients through her business of Iris Holistic Counseling Services on the road at http://www.DonnaFisherJackson.com. She has published the self-help book, The Healing Path of the Romantic: Type Four of the Enneagram Personality Type System and a novel, Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives, based on the true story of a Romantic. Both books are available in a print and Kindle edition on Amazon.com. Donna is currently working on a new book – a travel memoir of her life on the road. ♥