6 years of testing to find the perfect home

We spent 2,250 consecutive days living in 388 different houses, apartments, hotels and campsites in our own country and around the world.  Who does this?  We are happy to say it was a wonderful travel opportunity. It was also a trial run of sorts for testing what is it about a house that makes our hearts sing. Here’s what we’ll keep in mind for that next home.

Small is OK

We quickly adjusted to our varied small living spaces: how to share, where to place each suitcase, when to allow the other undisturbed time.  For us, staying in affordable small spaces was the price we paid for nonstop traveling, and it was worth it.

The AirBnB cottage where we stayed in Hobart, Tasmania was an inspiration in use of space. It was a very small space with everything we needed.

In our 2nd year of traveling, we found ourselves in a lovely 2-bedroom apartment in Madeira with a view of the harbor.  So much room for just the 2 of us!  We felt a bit adrift with so much space.  It was then we learned how well we had adjusted to living with less room.  So, here’s our lesson learned: small IS just fine for us.

Use intentionality in furnishing

Our trip began in a very over-the-top furnished bedroom in a Savannah, Georgia AirBnB.  The side tables were overflowing with decorative items.  Pillows were everywhere.  Where would our suitcases or clothes fit in the room?  In the end, we had to move a few chairs to open our suitcases.  While the room was lovely in its own way, it just didn’t work to live in.

This provided a helpful lesson: understand what we need and let the design flow from that.

Better to have a well laid out kitchen than a large one

During our travels over 6 years, we’ve prepared meals in the tiniest of kitchens to ones that were very large.

The open-air kitchenette and dining table at the AirBnB cottage in Kuranda, Queensland, Australia were on the deck looking out to the forest.

No matter the size, some were very well laid out and other kitchens were a nightmare to use.

The trend for kitchens these days seems to be the bigger, the better.  We don’t agree.  We don’t need to have one of every kitchen gadget, more serving dishes than could ever be used in serving one meal, and if we have stuff not used in years (an angel food cake pan comes to mind), we don’t need to take valuable space to hold on to them.  The space to store all of these rarely used items is costly.  The basics in a kitchen are just fine with us.

Our priorities are an efficient layout and modest storage for what is truly needed.

The simple kitchen in our AirBnB apartment in Florence, Italy opened up to the living room.  The transition worked well due to the wonderful ceramic tiles and old wooden cabinets that tied the two rooms together.

Who needs a desk?

In our pre-travel lives, we both had our own, very large desk with file cabinets underneath.  Before we started the trip, we scanned all the contents of the file cabinets and recycled the paper once the documents were on our computers or in the Cloud.  It wasn’t long after we started the trip that we adjusted to using our MacBook Air laptops on our laps.  (Is that how they got their name?)  After a year or so, we came to realize we didn’t need desks or file cabinets anymore.

Composing blog posts (without desks) as we depart from Barcelona on a repositioning cruise, taking two weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean for the US.

Creativity counts

We were inspired over and over again by clever homeowners who created useful objects from recycled stuff.

Light fixture in a Flagstaff, Arizona AirBnB.

Minimize possessions + maximize closets

We lived out of suitcases for 6 years, so it’s safe to say we mastered minimizing our possessions.  After travel ended, we envisioned a small, simple bedroom – with no desks and no chests of drawers.

One of the smallest and most beautifully decorated rooms we stayed in on our travels was at Riad Matham in Marrakesh.  This was the simplest of bedrooms.

We planned to have all of our clothes in a regular bedroom closet – which requires a minimal wardrobe and careful planning.

Enough is enough

We know what we need for everyday living.  We’ll add a few non-essentials for ease of living, comfort, or beauty.  Then stop.  Enough is enough now and in the future.


July 2020

To be continued ….with a preview of our new cottage, “Theory is one thing, but will it work?”


About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Italy - Other, Life after travel, Morocco, New Zealand, Portugal - Europe, US - Arizona and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 6 years of testing to find the perfect home

  1. plaidcamper says:

    Agreed – small, simple and less! No (less) stress…

  2. icelandpenny says:

    I laughed & laughed & kept ticking your list. BTW, I’m catching up with posts and writing this comment with my MacBook Air on my lap, which is also where I write my own posts (& everything else). Less is indeed enough. And very, very liberating.

  3. Oh, you are so right about the first Airbnb. Some we’ve stayed in seem to be a storage area for all the junk and travel souvenirs the owners have collected, and there’s no room to put our stuff. The best holiday homes have the bare minimum in the way of decorations. We tend to put everything on one shelf and just replace it before we leave.

  4. leggypeggy says:

    Great post. I’m in the process of getting rid of stuff.

    • Good for you! Editing our possession should be an ongoing process. Staying in our homes now during the pandemic provides the perfect time to consider what we have, what we need, what needs to depart. Enjoy!

  5. Beth and Joe – it looks gorgeous. And with a hint of a community in the background, which you’ve been really smart in keeping in mind. Eager for the ‘more’ to come… Susan

  6. Carol Hubbard says:

    Great article, Beth and Joe! We’re moving to Columbia, Tennessee, so this is quite timely. 😊

    • Hope you have a successful + happy move!

      • We did, Beth and Joe— although moving (and trying to settle in) during the pandemic has been surreal. However, now that Ken’s landed a work-from-home (!) engineering job (mine has been work-from-home for years), next summer we’re going to do a radical downsizing and “divestment,” buy an Airstream (and a truck to pull it), sell our house, and embark on a life as digital nomads until Ken retires in 2026. (That way, we’ll see a lot more of our widely scattered kids/grandkids, too.) Then we’ll either stay in the Airstream until Ken’s 70 and I’m 78 (whereupon we very much hope to be able to head to Kendal-Crosslands like you) or spend 5 more years living overseas and saving money. We’re excited about our upcoming adventures, no matter where they are (or aren’t). In the meantime, I love reading your blog.

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