Stories about Software


DaedTech Digest: How Do You Manage without a House Full of Stuff?

On last week’s digest post, I walked it back to first principles.  What even is slow travel?  This week, I’ll continue with this theme, answering a basic and sort of existential question that people often ask us.

How do you live without your stuff?

The normal human condition involves a somewhat linear procession.  At some point you leave the nest, getting your own place.  You then fill that place with stuff, but you also prosper, eventually earning enough money to rent or buy a bigger place.  At this point, you take all of your stuff, put it into your bigger and now-seemingly-empty place, and kind of repeat the process.  Buy a bigger place, fill it with stuff.  Once you have too much stuff, buy a bigger place.  Rinse, repeat.

The human condition.

I understand this condition because I have lived it.  I started adult life living in a tiny studio apartment in Chicago with my girlfriend at the time.  Outgrowing it as I prospered, I found myself in a 2 bedroom apartment.  Then a 3 bedroom townhouse.  I won’t bore you any further — you get the idea.

But now, I live without all of that accumulated stuff.  That is, I don’t just live without it when we slow travel — I just live without it, period.

Spartan Zen

I didn’t just happen by this outlook like some kind of monk.  Circa 2013, I was doing what most people do — buying bigger properties to house my burgeoning stuff so that I could acquire more stuff and need more property.  But then, work sent me on the road. A lot.

I lived for weeks in a hotel, and it was a novelty.  I lived for months in a hotel, and it became a weird new lifestyle.  And then I lived for years in a hotel, and came to learn that I didn’t need too much more than some computers and a couple of weeks of clothes.

As my stuff languished for years, unused and not-missed, I came to realize I didn’t really need it.  And I eventually came not to miss it, even abstractly.  I donated literal Jeep-load after Jeep-load to charity, and that was that.

So when you ask me how I deal without my stuff while vagabonding, I don’t have the most satisfying of answers.  I don’t, exactly.  I got used to a certain way of living through years of travel, and didn’t think much more of it.

When we hit the road now, I take my work computers/equipment, a couple of weeks worth of clothing, and a few odds and ends.  And that applies whether we’re traveling for 6 days or 6 months.

So, how do I mange without a house full of stuff?  The same way any of us did at age 19 — by understanding that I don’t need it.


  • I’ve been reading another fantasy series, entitled Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow) series.  I’m a book and a half in and can’t recommend it enough.
  • Finally tiring of the calendar dance, I’ve enlisted a service.  If you work a corporate job, you can’t relate, but if you’re a free agent and nobody can see your calendar, just as you can’t see theirs, you understand the calendar dance.  “I’m open Wednesday from 2 – 5 Central time and Thursday from 9 to 11:30 and then from 3:30 to 4:30…” only to hear back a similar, confusing list.  Calendly lets you just send out a link that wraps your schedule and say, “here, pick a time.”  And it’s glorious.
  • Going to give Siteground, who now hosts 4 websites of mine, another nod.  I purchased the site makemeaprogrammer (stay tuned for more info), and the time between picking the domain name, purchasing, and having a fully resolving, nice-looking default WordPress installation was seriously about 15 minutes.  Wow.  And that includes making it an SSL site and forcing non-SSL requests to redirect.  Seriously.  All that in 15 minutes.

The Digest

Hats off to the Hit Subscribe authors crew.  They’ve taken on so many posts that I’m no longer writing several per week.  (If you’d like to join them, apply to be an author.)

However, if you’d like to hear from me beyond this blog, there’s still recourse.  I’ve been doing a lot of podcasts over the last 6 months.

As always, have a good weekend!

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David Falkner
5 years ago

Being able to satisfy oneself purely with software-related hobbies is a huge advantage. Wife and I have been on the road for four months now, one giant suitcase apiece, one laptop apiece, and one backup laptop just in case. And you know what? I brought about 3x more clothes than I need. So I could be getting by far more easily with much less. I also brought few raspberry pis in case the tinkering urge strikes. Brought a small point-and-shoot camera, which goes nicely with ample sightseeing to fill one’s time which might otherwise have been spent just buying *stuff.*.… Read more »

Erik Dietrich
Erik Dietrich
5 years ago
Reply to  David Falkner

I’ve had the same experience with clothes. I always seem to pack more than I need, though with each trip/venture I over pack progressively less and less.