Friday, April 18, 2014


St. Helena, CA

If you've been with us since 2008, you know in graphic detail how hard we worked to get off the grid. For months -- years even -- we struggled to dispose of and redistribute a houseful of belongings. It was a painstaking process that I wrote about extensively in my old blog.

And now, after four years of living off the grid on our 38' sailboat, we have once again taken up residence on land, but I find that many things have changed. Well, not many things. Just me, really. I've changed. My understanding of 'need' and 'want' have shifted. I now know the difference between 'necessity' and 'luxury'. Things I used to think of as necessities, like hot water? Water is a necessity, but hot water, that's a luxury. Things I used to think I needed, like a closet full of linens? What I 'need' is one set of sheets, two bath towels and a hand towel. There's a washer and dryer here, yet another incredible luxury, not a necessity.

We moved into our empty, 512-square-foot cottage with what fit in our VW Jetta: an IKEA rug, two unassembled barstools, sheets, towels, four suitcases, some dishes from Pier 1 and some cleaning stuff from Target.

It's kinda echo-y in here, but the rug helps. We ordered a bed, and it was delivered soon after our arrival. A bed. Aaaah. Total luxury.

It might appear that I am leading a spartan life, but the reality is quite the opposite. This tiny cottage is filled with luxuries, and I am filled with gratitude for my few things, a gratitude that I didn't have when I lived in a house three times this large with ten times as much stuff. Less has come to mean more.

We have made a commitment to staying small, staying out of the escalation game and staying in the gratitude game.

I wish I thought this would be easy, but I'll write about it here, so we can all learn together.

Today, I am so, so grateful for a bed and two chairs.

MORE ABOUT: wine country | downsizing | living small


  1. ah ha! Call Dana when you're ready for stew on a boat !
    BTW, it was Fish (Cod) Chowda tonight. Yummy!

  2. I love it! Period. I love small living spaces and if I ever end up on land again, this would suit me just fine.

  3. I love it. After 7 years of living aboard and cruising, when we returned to land it was to a 750 sq. ft. cabin on a small lake. Similar thoughts of "it's got tons of luxuries!" Including not tearing the sofa apart any time I cook a meal . . .

    1. Hi Carolyn! Cruising recalibrated my idea of luxury, and I have to say, I LOVE the new definition. ;-)