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