Why We Renounced Materialism, Moved Into a Travel Trailer, and Began a Homesteading Journey

Reader Contribution by Kirk Winter
article image

In 45 days, we finally get started on our brand new home. It’s been a long winter living in a 17-foot camper in 40 below zero. I haven’t met anyone yet outside of YouTube or the self-sufficiency movement that doesn’t think we’re crazy. Whatever. Four years ago, we were so in debt:  Super-high mortgage, two brand new cars — but for what? To look good driving through Tim Horton’s while I bought my daily chemical coffee before work?

Maybe I made the choices I did to impress some stranger? Maybe it just made me feel better than everyone else? The motives surrounding materialism are complex, but it certainly slows a person down in life when you’re an average stiff like me. Our materialism — which may or may not be our “fault” in the beginning defiantly was our fault in the end.

Transition from Materialism to Increasing Self-Sufficiency

“Waking up” had definably changed who we are, both inside and what we project to strangers now. Although our transition out of materialism was scary at first, we are increasingly grateful we became “hip” to the real world and its traps that support the goals and desires of Big Business.

I took my new Ford back to the dealer and bought a $500 truck as a first step. That was an extra 900 bucks a month we had extra. Then my wife’s new car: We traded that for a year’s worth of food storage. It was paid for, so no real savings there — just two years’ worth of freeze-dried survival food. (Now my wife drives an old Jeep.)

The second thing we did was GET OUT OF THE CITY. Our home was 3,900 square feet of urban overpricing.After that $400,000 debt was gone, wow! We had money again.

The third thing we did?  We began buying used clothing. Did you know that, depending on where you live, you can buy brand new designer jeans (or nearly so) at a thrift shop for 10 bucks? Hundred-dollar jeans for 10 bucks! I bought many pairs.

Develop an ‘Only What You Need’ Mentality

Anti-materialism is our new motto. Buy only what you need, and there’s always extra for someone else. Now, when we buy our groceries, we buy a small donation bag for $10 to give to our local food bank. That makes me feel good. Helping others is always been my forte — but now we finally can afford to.  

This was not the whole story, though. Now we had two old cars and nowhere to live. We did own a travel trailer that we used for camping (which we had bought on credit the year prior to waking up). We never sold the camper when we knew that we were going to liquidate our entire material lives.

We drove away from the city, our new home in tow. Neither of us had a job to go to or a place to park the camper or any place to call home. We were alone, scared, and unsure of what to do next.

Then we found 46.

Stay tuned to see how our homesteading journey progresses.

Kirk Winterhomesteads near Bancroft, Ontario, with his wife, Amanda. They enjoy life 100-percent off the grid and live in a trailer while they build a new self-powered home. They are doing this as they earn the money and are committed to not getting a mortgage check out their progress as they document their entire journey on their YouTube Channel,46 Degrees North Off-Grid.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.