How Living Simply Inspires Gratitude

From There to Here, Values Based Living


When I was younger I correlated lack of possession with identity. If there was something that I did not own that others did, I felt resentment, jealousy, and desire. Even if I was able to buy that *thing* that was so special, the happiness would inevitable fade, and I would find myself back at square one with desire and resentment.

Throughout the early years of our marriage, I desired a house with the force of a thousand suns. I spent more mental energy on this imaginary house than my actual priorities and values. It sounds rather pathetic typing that out, but what else can the hours that we collectively spend surfing Pinterest and Apartment Therapy mean? Owning a house was a never ending one-way street of diminished satisfaction. We had the house, but we didn’t have the furniture. Or the decor. Or whatever I convinced myself would make our home complete.

But I realized, in time, that the house, the things, the constant wishing for more, would never ever make me happy. My unhappiness, rather, stemmed from living a life that made consumption the ultimate goal. You can never consume enough to fill that hole.

Now we own very little, we live with my parents in their beautiful home, and Kirk and I are working non-stop between our actual jobs and the ones we are trying to create–and we couldn’t be happier. We chose family and experiences over stuff, and I am realizing how little I actually need to be content with my life.

I am grateful for the little things, the tiny objects and interactions that were beneath my gaze in the past.

Grateful for the magic of buying healthy food for my family whenever I need to.

Grateful for the job that allows me to stay home with our daughters and play with them every single day.

Grateful to see the changing face of nature out the window and for the camper that allows us to travel cheaply whenever we want.

And beyond grateful for the help from family in raising our daughters.

So if I could encourage you in one specific way today, it is to think about what truly makes you happy. Moments, people, experiences–these are what matter over the course of a lifetime.

Not houses, not clothes, not cars.

If those things are holding you back from living a life you are passionate about, let them go.

If those things are sowing seeds of resentment, jealousy, and desire, let them go.

Once you do, you’ll find, as I did, that true happiness was right in front of you all along. For free.

If you find yourself agreeing with this, I want you to do two things. First, send this to a friend who would enjoy this message and secondly, join my new Instagram group which launches on Black Friday: Cohesive Home, a community for (aspiring) minimalist families. See you there!

Review: 2013 Casita Freedom Deluxe

Distant Lands, From There to Here, Our Explorations


Last weekend we drove 8+ hours to Superior, WI and bought our first travel trailer, a 2013 Casita Freedom Deluxe from Superior Campers. It was a trade-in, and the dealer owner said he has not had a Casita on the lot in the 41 years they’ve been opened. We truly lucked out to have found it there.

And here’s the crazy thing: we bought it sight unseen, and it actually worked out. It was not only the first Casita we had ever been in, but also the first small fiberglass camper.  So far we are absolutely in love with it, but like those first few weeks of dating someone, we’re still in the honeymoon stage.

But I thought I would go ahead and share our initial opinions in case someone else is considering one.

The pros:

We love that it is a compact, lightweight trailer that we can pull with our 4Runner.

It has every amenity that we wanted in a camper: sleeping space for 4 (after we make one modification), small kitchen and bathroom, and AC with a heat strip. Ours also has solar panels and custom black paint on the front.

The design is very intentional, and we could tell immediately that the quality is superior to many stick built trailers that we’ve toured.


The cabinets and doors are wood, the interior is fiberglass with marine-grade carpeted and insulated walls, and the overall construction is incredibly solid as well as fairly soundproof.

Our 2013 has LED lights throughout, pull down sheer and black out shades, and a surprisingly large amount of storage for a 17′ trailer. It also has brand new dinette cushions, as the former owners had their set-up as a permanent bed.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this, all 4 of us were able to sleep on the over-sized queen dinette bed. However, it will feel incredibly roomy once the girls have their own bed.

The cons:

It’s small. The aisle between the little kitchen and the captain’s chairs (which will be replaced with a pullout bed or bunks, still deciding) is fairly narrow and two people really cannot pass by one another.

Kirk and I could both stand up in the unit, but someone over 6′ could not.

The bathroom is also small and is a wetbath (which could be a cleaning positive), however it’s definitely not somewhere you would want to spend much time in.

Overall thoughts:

We are really impressed with Casita, and it reminds us a lot of Airstream quality and design–but on a smaller, lightweight scale.


It tows nicely with our V6 Toyota 4Runner, and we didn’t feel too overwhelmed getting set up at camp. We still need to learn all the systems and get our feet wet (although hopefully not physically though) with dumping black/gray-water. But we’ll get it down eventually.

I think Casitas are great for couples, which is probably why they’re so popular with retirees. With a little ingenuity, I think we can make this a great camper for our family, and I think other small families could definitely enjoy camping in a Casita as well.