Simplicity Wins

I hate paying bills.

For a long time I hated paying bills because I never had the money to pay them on time. But even after I could afford it I hated it. Bill paying is a certain kind of abstract process that doesn’t sit right in my brain. It’s bureaucratic and the downsides are conceptually disconnected from the upsides.

So one year I just stopped paying my bills. I lived in a regular house, but I did not have electricity or natural gas. I had running water, but it was not hot water.

I used oil lamps for light, a camp stove for cooking, a hand operated washing machine for clothes, a propane heater to heat one single room in the winter, a propane water heater to take quick showers. Buying a can of propane, and then using it, and then buying another has a flow that I can wrap my head around. (Those are affiliate links to the exact products I used – I recommend them all!)

I value simplicity, even if it makes things a little more expensive or a little more inconvenient.

This same balance of values came up for me recently around what to go camping in. I bought a nice, big, comfortable camper and did some really fancy camping in it. It was awesome to be out in the woods while sleeping on a real bed and having a microwave!

But then the camper turned out to have a leak. Complicated-ness came crashing down on me. Fixing the leak would have involved pulling out, replacing, repairing, and whatnot. Preventing future leaks from happening would require yearly maintenance of parts and systems that I don’t really understand. And honestly… the whole camper was a great big ball of stuff I didn’t understand.

So simplicity is winning for me once again. I sold the camper and got a canvas tent instead. (Affiliate link for a similar tent, but not the exact same one.) Yes, it’s more trouble to put up than parking a camper and plugging it in. Yes, it’s not quite as comfortable. But… it’s a big piece of canvas and one pole. I can repair small things that go wrong with it. And even big things that might go wrong won’t be as expensive to fix as a small thing on the camper.

Additional Reading: Canvas Bell Tent Options

This post was a lot of words to say, “Electricity is magic, and I don’t like it,” but that does kind of sum it up. I have a strong preference for systems that are simple and obvious. My first big camping trip of 2016 is one week out, and I’m about to find out if my new tent is just the right kind of simplicity for me.Canvas Bell Tent