Hello Friends, it’s me again!
If we haven’t been introduced, my name is Alaska, although some people just call me The Tiny House Concierge. When I’m not helping you go tiny, I’m having adventures, conducting experiments, and reporting back to you here on the Tiny House Expedition Blog.
Sometimes, I’m doing something goofy like asking a family of regular-sizers to downsize by 90% and move into my tiny home. Today, however, I have something a tad more serious on my mind: I’ve been thinking about what it means to have enough.
Once upon a time, in my pre-tiny life, I lived in complete despair. As a kid, I had dreamed of a life spent living. I’d envisioned spending my days with family and friends, often outside, and doing what I loved- having adventures and writing. But that’s not the life that manifested as an adult.
By the time I was thirty-one, I worked a full-time job, was crazy stressed out, and was spending 56% of my take-home pay on my half of the rent.
I knew I wanted something different for myself, but escaping the cycle of working to pay for a roof, I didn’t own felt impossible. I wanted a beautiful life, but I was also fairly certain that a beautiful life would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty million dollars.
Of course, this was a vague reference. But I mean, I wanted to ski and scuba dive. I wanted to live overseas for stretches at a time, be with my family, and live in a way that supported my community and didn’t have me drowning in plastic. Surely, that life would require a ton of time and money, right? And as the situation stood, all my time was spent earning money that was immediately swallowed up by my housing.
Friends, this cycle of working, lamenting, and crying continued for several years until, one day, the desperation reached critical mass. This mess would be the rest of my life if something didn’t change.
I don’t know what other people do when they snap, but I pulled up the calculator on my phone. You see, on that particular day, I realized the irony of my situation. I was devastated not to have enough money to live out my dreams; meanwhile, I had no idea how much would actually be enough.
So I decided to do some math.
I picked one thing on my bucket list: to live in Bali for three months. Then, I calculated how much it would cost my fiance and me to put our stuff in storage, buy round-trip tickets to Ubud, rent an apartment, and eat in restaurants. A lot. Well, guess what, Friends?
It was cheaper for us to go on vacation for three months than to continue working and keep up our lives in California.
This realization spurred me to do a massive deep dive into my life. That week, I started tracking how I spent time, energy, and money; I got a real estate license, studied real estate investment, and the principles behind how people retire early.
I came to understand two things from this work:
1) If housing was my biggest expense, it was my greatest opportunity to free myself.
2) ‘Enough’ costs far less and is way simpler than I could have ever imagined.
It turns out that I didn’t want to go on expensive vacations as much as I wanted unstructured time. I didn’t want to escape a job as much as I wanted to have meaningful work. There was caviar in my cluttered idea of a beautiful life, but I don’t even like caviar. What I truly want is coffee, and Costco just put out an excellent espresso blend.
Friends, without a doubt, I am now living my dream life. I don’t want to oversimplify what it took to get here or the privileges that assisted me along the way, but I will also tell you that this beautiful life cost nowhere near thirty million dollars.
Ultimately, a tiny house and working for myself changed everything. Enough is possible, but we need to define it, do math, and pursue it efficiently.
Don’t give up.
Alaska is a writer, realtor, and tiny homeowner living in the great state of Colorado. She is the founder of The Tiny House Concierge, a company that offers consultation and copywriting services for people looking to rethink their housing and rewrite their lives. In addition to her website, she can be found on Instagram and YouTube.