Here are four practical ways to take your experiments in simple living a little further:
1. Try Transuming. Take a break from your role as consumer and join the new group of “transumers” who prefer borrowing or renting items rather than buying them. This applies to vacation homes, road bikes, even high-end handbags.
2. Barter. I once swapped the preparation of an artist’s résumé for one of his original drawings. With barter, no money changes hands, and you feel as if you’ve gone to market and come home again — with your wallet intact.
3. Couch Surf. Instead of paying for a hotel room next time you’re traveling, reserve the couch (or spare bedroom) at someone’s home. The CouchSurfing network (www.couchsurfing.org) offers safe and convenient lodging in nearly 62,000 different cities around the world. Couch surfers enjoy more memorable experiences with the places they visit and also become part of a global community.
4. Break your car habit. Going car-free or sharing a vehicle can enhance your life. People who’ve tried it report reduced stress and surprising savings. If you need a car only occasionally, consider car-sharing services like Hourcar (www.hourcar.org) or Zipcar (www.zipcar.com).
Wanda Urbanska is a sustainability activist and author of The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life (Krause, 2010). She is the host and producer of the television series Simple Living with Wanda Urbanska, which airs on select PBS stations nationwide. Visit her Web site at www.simplelivingtv.net.