The key to managing stress could well be a minimalist lifestyle, outdoor columnist Bill Howard opines. Contributed photo
By Bill Howard
Special to the Times
Many of you have probably seen the meme displaying a tiny cottage in the woods in which it challenges the question: “Would you live here for six months with no television and no internet for one million dollars?” Nearly everyone I am friends with answers emphatically with a yes. Many answer with a yes and don’t expect the money.
Personally, I would love to live in a small cottage out in the middle of nowhere. I cannot begin to count the number of designs I have put on paper trying to have just enough room for a bed, a couch, a small dining area, a bathroom and a kitchenette. I have even gone to the trouble of calculating the costs of materials to build such a simple structure. Unfortunately, due to building codes, many of the designs and the simplicity of the dwelling just would not be allowed for a permanent home.
I have always been one to hold on to things. I always tell myself it comes from my grandparents as they tended to hold on to everything as well. My wife reinforces the thought by informing me ever so often that it is, in fact, true that I hold on to too many things.
Based on that alone, it would seem strange that I like the thought of living in something not much bigger than many living rooms. However, when I am on the road — which happens to be very often — I manage to stay in an area the size of the back of a full-size pickup. That is, because it is the back of a full-size pickup. My food, my stove and my bedding are all there and I live there perfectly well.
The simplicity of it all is one of the draws. Maybe it comes from the stress of everyday life. With a tiny home and little else, there is nothing else there to add to that stress.
It also provides a sense of adventure. I have been on hunts where there seemed to be everything you would ever want. Pool tables, large baths and nearly gourmet food. All would make you think it would be perfect. In fact, many African hunts are as much of a five-star resort as they are world-class hunts.
Yet my favorite hunts have been where it was almost a minimalist-type environment.
My father and I stayed for 10 days in a camper in Arizona. Our kitchen consisted of a campfire in a stone circle. The dining area was composed of large logs as seats located in a circle around the campfire. And it was perfect.
In Georgia, I hunted alligator. Since the best time to hunt alligator is at night, daytime was used to catch up on sleep. Therefore, my days were spent in a 12-foot trailer. provided shelter from the heat, quiet from the outside, and a place to keep the few things I had with me. And it was perfect.
While bowhunting bear in the mountains of North Carolina, I had little more than my hunting gear, a tent and a small day bag where I kept food and water. Even the food was basic. And if it wasn’t for a skunk that wanted to ruin the hunting trip, it would have been perfect.
That is what draws people to the tiny house craze. The simplicity. Living only on the basics. The adventure it holds.
Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter and outdoorsman. He teaches hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) in North Carolina. He is a member of North Carolina Bowhunters Association and Pope & Young, and is an official measurer for both.