photography, travel

Adjusting To The Tiny Lifestyle

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Over the course of the last year, we have paired down everything we own to a small storage unit and whatever we can fit in our 200 sq. ft. travel trailer. It was a difficult process. But a very freeing, therapeutic one as well.

I will admit, the first cull didn’t get rid of nearly enough. It wasn’t until we actually got the trailer and our lease was ending in a months time that the real work began. Garage sale after good will run after craigslist after giving stuff away to family and friends, and here we are.

We’ve been full-time nomads for only a week now, so check back in a few months and I’m sure my sentiments will contain more marrow, but so far, we love this new tiny lifestyle.


Now, let me be clear, I think the term “tiny” is simply a trend. And actually quite inaccurate. Because once you downsize all of the clutter and the “stuff”, your life becomes anything but small. I feel like we’ve super-sized our lives. Our backyard has expanded to as far as we can drive, we are outside hiking every day, seeing landscapes most of us have reserved only for the bucket list. It is not a problem free lifestyle, but it is definitely the lifestyle for us.

Even if you can’t pack it all in and hit the road for good, its a great exercise to simply go through a closet at a time, hold your stuff in your hand and ask yourself whether this thing brings you joy, fulfillment, or if you have looked at it or used it in the last year. If your answer is “no” to 2 out of 3 of those questions, then sell it, donate it, or throw it away. Cherish the memory you have attached to it, honor it, and then let it go. A friend of mine read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo recently and relayed this concept. It is so simple, and yet so freeing when put in to practice.


Letting go is one of the most natural, yet difficult truths of life for us humans. We have to let our loved ones go whether we deal with it properly or not. It is unavoidable. Maybe thats why some of us (I’m a true packrat at heart) have such a hard time letting things go. We feel like we have a little bit more control over those memories if we can just hold on.

Another realization I’ve had just in the first week; I am going to have to work much harder to maintain the relationships I hold dear. I have begun to make a list of friends and family that I deeply desire with whom to uphold regular contact. I’m not a phone person, so this will not be easy. But contrary to popular belief, we did not choose this lifestyle because it is easy. We chose it because it is hard, and it’s dirty, and it is soul-nourishment rewarding to us.


So here we are… location independent Americans, learning to live with less, but living for much more. Promising not to become the “old hermits” of the woods, but in fact to be more bold and intentional in our relationships. Cheers to all the miles, adventure, sunsets, sunrises, and friends we hope to meet along the way.

— andrew

Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! Help support our journey by checking out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. We will be visiting all 59 National Parks over the course of the next 2-4 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE

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Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
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2 thoughts on “Adjusting To The Tiny Lifestyle

    • Haha! I just might start using a few of those. We met a guy from Philly a few days prior that used that term, location independent, and it annoyed me immediately when I heard it. Then over the course of a few days, it grew on me. And then I coined location independent American. Has a ring to it, doesn’t it 😜

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