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40 Days On The Road – 2 Amazing Things We’ve Learned Living Without A House!

Oh, what an incredible feeling to trade possessions for experiences!

If you had asked us 10 years ago what it would be like to live for 40 days without a traditional “house” – we wouldn’t have had an answer.

And, if at the same time, you asked if we could survive in a 100 square foot rolling home, we probably would have laughed.

living without a house
I wouldn’t trade this day in the Rockies for a single possession. It was simply breathtaking to see the scenery & wildlife, and breathe in the unbelievably fresh air.

But after 40 days on the road, living life in our little teardrop camper while rolling across America has been one of the most incredible, freeing, and life-changing experiences either of us has ever known.

We have learned quite a bit on our first forty days on the road. Both about living without a house, and living without a lot of “extra things” we are used to having. See : Our Daily Travels On The Road

Stopping to have lunch along a rolling stream in Wyoming was an experience we will never forget.

We get a lot of questions asking how we are adjusting to life without a conventional home. So we thought we would share 2 of the most important things we’ve learned so far.

One thing is for sure, Mary and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world.

Trading Possessions For Experiences – 2 Things We’ve Learned Living Without A Traditional Home

#1 You Don’t Need What You Think You Need. Less Really Is More.

If there is one question we are asked most often, it is how in the world did we pack for this trip. And that is the beauty of it – we barely did!

The fact is, when you go camping for a week, or head on a vacation for 10 days, you try to think of everything you need. And you try to cram it all in to take it along.

Just miles outside of Cody, Wyoming, this was our view as we headed for a day trip to Yellowstone National Park. Certainly worth packing light to have the opportunity to see sights like this.

But when you will be gone for an entire year, you simply don’t have the room to pack for it all.

So how did we pack? We packed for about one week of clothing, and 3 days of food. And then, added a few extra pieces of clothing each for special weather conditions. It all fit in just two small tubs, one for each of us.

There is not a lot of room in the back of the truck and camper for a lot of “extra” things.

I will admit that as we were getting ready to leave on the first day, we were both worried about how much space was still available in the truck and camper. OK, actually, a lot worried.

Had we messed up? Did we forget too many special things we might need? Did we perhaps over or under think this?

The truth is – we actually still packed too much!

The Food…

We go to the grocery for fresh supplies every few days. And we both love it. It keeps everything fresh, and local to the area. It also allows us to try new foods constantly.

And contrary to popular belief, not buying in bulk or large quantities does not have to be expensive.

Being on the road means cooking your food in all kinds of new and exciting ways.

In fact, we spend less now on groceries than every before. When you eat “small” – you simply don’t waste. You learn to use up everything you have.

We just don’t have the space to store much. So we eat and use up what we have for several meals, and then move on to something new. From a variety standpoint, it has been wonderful!


We actually learned a lot about downsizing moving into our 1054 square foot home a few years back. ( See : The 365 / De-Cluttering Experiment)

When space is limited, you become incredibly resourceful as to what you need.

And on the road, we have quickly learned that two knives can replace the entire knife set we have at home.This may sound incredible, but you really can cut a block of cheese without a cheese knife.

trading possessions for experiences
Our view one morning from the front door of our “new” home. It is an experience that never gets old opening that door up to see a new view.

Same goes for small appliances and gadgets. Honestly, it is absolutely freeing to only have a few things you can use. For example, our coffee maker to make coffee, and hot water for tea and other things too.

And Mary had taken the use of an Instant Pot to a new level. I am pretty sure she could make a new car in that thing at this point if she needed to!

All joking as aside, the point is, you learn to use what you have. And it gives you all the time in the world to go see and do whatever you want.


From a clothing standpoint, it has been way easier than we thought.

Pikes Peak
We might have the same sweatshirts on in a few pics – but it is all worth it when you get to go to the top of Pike’s Peak!

We do laundry once a week, every Sunday evening. And we are then ready for another week.

Honestly, we are always in a new area, so I am always wearing a new t-shirt or sweatshirt to the person I meet this Monday, and the next!

#2 Trading Possessions For Experiences

This probably should be #1 on the list. It is, after all, the whole purpose of this trip – experiences.

trading possessions for experiences
Standing just a few feet away from a Bison in the middle of Yellowstone National Park is an experience that we will never forget

We have grown so much to appreciate seeing and enjoying so many new sights and sounds.

The Rocky Mountains in all of their glory. Or seeing a Grizzly bear for the first time in Yellowstone. And then there was watching the fly over of fighter jets at the Air Force Academy.

All way more incredible than buying a new sweatshirt. Or owning some new gadget or possession for that matter.

trading possessions for experiences
The views all throughout Colorado were stunning. And with the leaves turning, it was over the top beauty!

But even more, there are the amazing people we get to meet all along this journey. I can’t begin to tell you how many incredible folks we have met in the first 40 days alone!

There is the entire group of coffee gang members we befriended in North Pointe, Nebraska. The cowboys at a local rodeo in South Dakota. Or the Fluffy Fields Winery family who share our passion of all things growing.

And the list could go on and on, in town after town.

In fact, just last week, one of our family members let us know we received a post card from the city of Faith – thanking us for our stay in their incredible little community.

meeting people
Meeting new people and making new friends all along the way. Like Sydney and Andrew from Mountain Sun Brewery in Boulder, Colorado. What a great place and great story. See: A Day In Boulder

Talk about trading possessions or a conventional home for experiences! It has been incredible to say the least

So here is to the next 245 days on the road – may they continue to be filled with the joy of meeting new people and seeing new places. And to living for more experiences, and certainly not more possessions.

Here is to living your dreams, whatever they may be! Jim and Mary.

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