It’s amazing how what started as a niche, slightly alternate way of doing life, has morphed into the mainstream for living and holidaying – The Tiny House.
As I was watching a documentary by Kirsten Dirksen I was inspired to think differently about home and what constitutes it.
We’ve all thought about it at one time or another… When is enough, enough? When does the hunting-gathering drive of stuff, overtake the need that the stuff was originally fulfilling?
The doco got me thinking about my own tiny house (which only met the bank’s criteria for granting a mortgage whereby it had to be >50m2, because it has a parking space and a storeroom) and my even tinier house, my tent, fly and other shelters that I sleep under in wild places.
I’ve been living in the same place for over 10 years now, and over the past few years, I’ve been tossing around the concept of stepping up in size. From one bedroom to two and a balcony would be nice. There seems to be this cultural drive, a momentum to be continually seeking ‘the next thing’, which invariably means, the next ‘bigger’ thing. Where improvement is measured by a change of status, perceived from your home, which apparently… is meant to bring happiness.
Having watched the doco and done some thinking, all that the endless striving seems to bring is debt. Debt which means your life is controlled by the necessity to earn a certain income, and work a certain job and debt that brings incalculable fear and anxiety if you lose that job.
Are we designed to live in that cycle of control and fear?
One of the very basic things that draws me to wild places, especially overnight and extended walks, is the ability to be self-sufficient. To know that when I leave the carpark, I have everything I need to eat, sleep, drink and be happy for x number of days. This isn’t about chest-beating, hunter-gatherer, knife-carrying, beast-killing, Bear Grylls urine-drinking survival-style techniques. My friends and I don’t belong to that style of wilderness living, sorry.
But the comfort that the few items I carry comfortably on my back all have a purpose and that everything will be used – although hopefully not the first aid kit or PLB!
Essentially, the shelters that we build for ourselves, whether they be tents, fly-only, hammocks or even under an over-hang or cave, are tiny houses in the extreme. How can you describe the feeling you get when you look around your shelter by head torch and realise that you have everything you need?
Turtle-like, we carry what we need and live simply for those few days that we venture out. The challenge to myself (maybe to you too?) is how can we bring this philosophy into our everyday lives.
This rethink stopped me in my tracks. I’ve discovered a new joy for my existing tiny house and rather than looking to the unknown of the bigger and better, (more debt, more control, more fear), I’m excited and refreshed about living in the now, living deliberately with what I have and continuing a practice I started in 2013, which was the ‘Urge to Purge’… but more on that another time!