My accumulation of things over the past 58 years causes me to prefer acquiring experiences as gifts on occasions, such as birthdays and Christmases, instead of more stuff.

So, as my birthday approached last weekend, I decided to fly from a conference in San Francisco to Seattle to visit close friends.

I wanted to experience nature, take walks and visit an island, so my friend, who is a project management consultant, author and teacher, scheduled my entire weekend down to the minute. We managed to do all that was on the list plus some. The weather was in the upper 70s and sunny.

We put in 12 miles of walking through green meadows, a 5-acre dog park (with their two dogs) and along Puget Sound at Point Defiance.

Dexter and Cyndi simplified their lives last year, renting out their Auburn, Washington, home and moving into their RV into an RV park east of Seattle. In so doing, they downsized, giving away much of their stuff.

Dex told me he used to buy large quantities of food to fill their pantry and he always felt that he did good buying two on sale vs. one not on sale. But now they buy only one. No space.

They buy and read books on their iPads. Their bathroom contains one bar of soap, one bottle of shampoo, one bottle of conditioner that they share.

Also, their plans to become mobile and work while they travel the U.S. means they can pull only 16,000 pounds in their fifth wheel. So everything they buy requires careful consideration.

The result is that they live a much simpler life. Dex said all that stuff they used to have in the house and garage was burdensome. He feels so much freer without it, and their hobbies are more about experiences.

Becky Clark, Editor