Be a Consumer of Experiences

Dee Williams, author of the new book The Big Tiny, was the key note speaker at the Tiny House Conference back in April. She was a dynamic and inspirational speaker and it was well worth listening too.

One of the things she mentioned is that tiny house people, herself included, aren't suddenly immune from wanting things. Just because we choose to downsize our lives and have fewer possessions doesn't mean we don't want anything.

In fact, in some ways, tiny house people are all about things. They just happen to be different things and may serve multiple purposes. For instance, I finally upgraded to a smart phone so I could combine my phone and my iPod into one gadget. Now I only carry one handheld computing device with me everywhere I go. I wanted it, so I bought it. I use it for streaming video, reading books, checking up on the internet. It is useful to me.

Siena Italy: a favorite destination
But there has been one specific area of my life where my need to consume and my drive for simple living actually converge. They feed and compliment one another.

I am a consumer of experiences.

When I get an urge to spend money or to acquire something I redirect my energy. Instead of saying "what can I buy?" I say "what can I do?"

Some of theses experiences are free or cheap. Others require my full evaluation about the time I will spend earning the money to afford them. In either case I am rewarded not only with a thing but with an adventure. I meet new people, I try new things, and I am a better person when it is over. And I can sit back and recall all the amazing things that happened and enjoy the experience all over again.

Experiences and tiny living are a perfect match. Our simplified lifestyle often means we have more time to explore new things. We save money by not having a mortgage or high energy bills. And we don't want to fill our tiny homes with lots of additional, unnecessary stuff.

So next time you're thinking about the things you can spend your money on consider an experience instead: a trip to another place or a local event like a concert or art festival. Use this opportunity to expand your community and do things you never thought you would do. Be a consumer of experiences.


  1. That is one reason I love geocaching and letterboxing, especially in historical places!

  2. I remember when I lived in France on a very tiny budget, and was wishing I had the money to buy some of the clothes, etc., I saw in the shops as I walked to the center of town. It came to me that here I was, living in the beautiful south of France, with eyes to see, ears to hear, etc., all kinds of different experiences. From then on I treasured each one, and still now, nearly thirty years later, savor those experiences far more than clothing, etc., that would no longer be useful to me now. :)


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