Treasures

Living on our land and in our housetruck was essentially free because we’d paid for it as we built it, not using credit. It was free but it also wasn’t finished.

Getting home, securing minimum wage jobs and having no money was hard.

We had to reconfigure our ideas about consuming and learn to thrive with very little money. Living on our land and in our housetruck was essentially free because we’d paid for it as we built it, not using credit. It was free but it also wasn’t finished. We had no running water, plumbing or electricity. Our home was 33 feet long and 8 feet wide, heated with 2 propane powered built in heaters, and very cozy. We all slept on a queen sized foam pad, like a pile of kittens, but Andy had supplies and plans to build Brendan and Alana each their own bunk bed.

Living this way slowed down every aspect of life and although at first this seemed like a hindrance, it became the first treasure.

Every morning, one at a time, we’d take turns using the outhouse. Usually Andy or I were up first and often had to shovel a path, through newly fallen snow, to the little house in the trees. We’d brush our teeth, using water in a cup, and afterwards dispose of it by throwing it into the forest. Our kids became masters at not spilling food as they sat cross legged on the carpeted floor, balancing plates of pancakes or oatmeal, without a table.

 Rushing was not possible.

Without any money to spend and therefore no places to go, classes to pay for, or appointments to make, we were left with an abundance of time. We learned to enjoy ourselves, being together, without the constraints of modern life.

After breakfast, perhaps we’d all read for awhile and then we’d often go outside to explore or play. The kids made forts and snow houses and all of us walked the forest trails every day sometimes startling a deer, elk, coyote or porcupine.

That first winter we didn’t ski because we had no money for lift tickets, but we did go sledding down the big hill near our home. Andy ran an evening kids program at a lodge in Taos Ski Valley and Brendan and Alana often joined him there for campfires, star watching and stories with the tourist kids.

Andy got those bunk beds built because he had plenty of time to do it.

One evening I returned home from massage work and found my family sitting in the dark because it had been cloudy and our solar panels were out of charge. Andy didn’t know we had candles, but I did, and we lit them. We sang songs together in the flickering glow and felt the peace and grace of a life that having no money had helped to create.

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