This is one of the mantras of the full-timer. You’ll often hear the guideline: For every item you buy, one item has to go. For very real, practical reasons living in an RV limits the amount of stuff you can have. But once you’ve let go of all the stuff you used to have, you discover there are more existential reasons for not having stuff: You don’t need it, and experiences are a lot more fun than your stuff ever was.
Now science has caught up with what we already knew. Experiences make you happier than things, and they last a lot longer. Strange but true. How can an experience stay with you longer than a material possession? Well, Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University claims that the happiness of an experience has a longer feeling life than the shelf-life of an object. It seems that we get used to our things, or adapt to them, and lose our feelings for them sooner than we forget the pleasant memories associated with our experiences.
I think there are some folks for whom this choice would be more difficult than for others: serious collectors and artists for instance, like Ross J. Ward who built Tinkertown in Sandia, New Mexico.
|Ross J. Ward in a photo from Tinkertown|
They collect and create with stuff, so I don’t have to. I can appreciate their’s, and I do. Clearly, making art, creating, is an experience of the type that brings tremendous fulfillment. And it often requires and produces more stuff. What a dilemma.
|Here’s me enjoying someone else’s stuff.|
A great question we’re often asked: “What did you do with all your stuff?” In our case, we gave away and sold everything that we couldn’t digitize or fit in our 5th wheel. (Some folks retain some stuff and keep it in storage for when they might need it in the future.) The process took us about 18 months, and was at times difficult, but once we were done, we were grateful.
Another question: “What about souvenirs of your travels?” Two things we do about that. Magnets on the fridge and photographs. Pictures really help me retai…