“I don’t need as much money to live which means I don’t have to work as much,” explains Andrew Odom, who with his wife, Crystal, and their three-year-old daughter recently downsized from their 248-square foot house in eastern North Carolina into a 27-foot travel trailer. “Every penny we would have paid toward a normal American house goes toward living life and adventuring and figuring out the next step, whether that’s living in a yurt or moving overseas.”
There’s plenty of new evidence to suggest that we’d all be happier shrinking our footprint and rethinking the American dream. According to a report published earlier this year by a team from Cornell University, people generally feel happier and more fulfilled when they spend money on experiences rather than material possessions; the anticipation of the outing—canoeing a river, climbing a peak, pulling off a bucket-list expedition—bumps up the happiness factor. In 2010, researchers at the London School of Economics correlated data from more than a million people who recorded their emotional states and locations on an app called Mappiness. The takeaway: We feel happier when we’re outside (yeah, we knew that, too), especially—go figure—near water.
The Downsizing Uprising
I’ve been following the tiny house movement with some interest, and have checked out a model home on display at the Science Park Hub, but have since decided that there is no way we could possibly downsize to that extent. People need some space to themselves, at least I do, and tiny homes mean you are together all the time. But I do get the appeal, the need, and with the fact that I am not getting any younger feel the next house we live in will be much smaller than the current norm. Also, I think we have always felt that “experiences” trump material positions in out life. Something that is hard to explain, let alone share with family, who like most people see success in the light of material gains.