Working long hours to live or die?

The pre-planning application form was filled in and sent last week and so now I just wait to see what they will say about my tiny house/semi off-grid home plans. At least the land is still for sale. I’ve seen my daughter off at the airport on her inter-railing adventure around Europe and thought about how I always wanted to travel but never really did. I’m hoping that tiny house living will allow that. I’ve read and enjoyed ‘Walden’ by Henry Thoreau, twice now and one of my favourite quotes from this very quotable book is:

‘This spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it, reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up the garret at once.’

I’ve been so fed up of working the 5 day week and only just recharging my batteries over the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it weekend that I’ve relinquished my management role and have gone down from full time to 4 days. I couldn’t wait until retirement to have a life! Since last Christmas I’ve suffered with a persistent headache which was constant for five months and is now intermittent. It made me realise that the stress of work was taking over my life and I can happily report that it’s been freeing to have my first three day weekend. Decluttering my house also seems to be decluttering my mind. There is still much more to do with the decluttering though, it is something I have to keep re-visiting.

I’ve been cycling lots over the summer and will share a few pictures from the past week’s adventures. As I looked at the lovely landscapes, I found myself frequently thinking that I could put a tiny house here or there. Despite being a crowded island, there is still a lot of land here that is owned by just a few and most of us are concentrated into small developed areas. In many cases, overdeveloped areas. And while I’m not advocating a complete relaxation of planning laws, the countryside in some areas could really be improved with less of the intensive agriculture that is ruining the soil. More trees, the natural climax vegetation of this island would be an improvement and by allowing people who want to, to grow their own food on the land and to live on it too. As it is, land is too expensive and there’s a struggle to get ‘permission.’

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I want to be free!

My exciting tiny house journey begins here. And it’s a bit daunting. The only people I’ve told are my daughter and you. Oh and the people at the planning department (although the man I spoke to went silent when I mentioned tiny houses – he’d never heard of them!) I already have my heavily mortgaged house up for sale, with two viewings so far and I’m dreaming of a mortgage free life, with less working hours and more time to be creative. The next step is to find and buy land (I think I might have found land! More about this soon…) and choose a design for the tiny house. There are so many amazing designs out there. One of the things I really find attractive about tiny houses is that design is so important. There’s a certain perfection needed with innovative use of space and aesthetics being especially important.

There is a lot to do. I have many possessions which I’ve started to sort through and I really am enjoying the freeing feeling of losing some of this stuff. At the same time I know it’s going to be hard to part with some things; the heavy pine desk that I’m sitting at now, being one example.

I've lived here for three years, intitially with my daughter and a partner. But the relationship ended and my daughter is due to go to University soon, so I don't need such a big house or the expense of it.

I’ve lived here for three years, initially with my daughter and partner. The relationship ended and my daughter is due to go to University soon, so I don’t need such a big house when I don’t use half the space.

It’s amazing what I have accumulated over the years since I bought my first house back in 2002. When I was in my twenties I used to say that I wanted to live out of a suitcase. I may not achieve that, but with a tiny house I hope to live much more lightly and kindly on this planet.

I would also love to hear from others who are on this journey or starting out. In the US there’s a vibrant tiny house community and it seems feasible that tiny houses could become popular here in the UK too. Especially if problems with acquiring land can be overcome.