Tom, Sarah, and their daughter Neesa live in a 20sqm off-grid tiny house on a property on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Instead of paying rent, they share the work of looking after the land with the owners, and both families share in the farm’s abundant produce. We were inspired by how much happier they’ve found themselves by living with less.

Tom is a medical doctor and Sarah is an illustrator but both have chosen to reduce their work to almost nothing in order to have more time to focus on living well – a lifestyle choice that is more possible for many of us than we might think. This little 6-minute film has been one of our most popular to date – perhaps because it describes a lifestyle so many of us would love to be living.

Thinking about showing one of our films at an event? Cool! Visit the Store for info about licencing.


We rely on our viewers to help us keep making short films and to continue releasing them for free.

If you enjoyed this film please consider donating an amount that feels right to you.

Find out more


  • As a doctor and a professional illustrator they have the option to live an affluent lifestyle, but they choose to live very simply – they’ve chosen to listen to what their hearts tell them will make them happy.
  • Downsizing didn’t feel straightforward and natural – but now it feels right and good.
  • A work-trade arrangement with the owners of the land means they help out in the gardens and on the farm in exchange for rent.
  • There’s no conventional security in their work-trade relationship, they feel trusting of the way they’re choosing to live.
  • Their security now comes from their networks in their local community.
Tom and Neesa


  • […] was yet again watching a Happen Films documentary called Living Simply in a Tiny Off-Grid Cabin when the chap in the doco quoted a poem called Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. I, instantaneously, […]

  • Cut Puspa Rosa says:


  • Wafaa Nafoussi Sanjak says:

    So neat and peacefully living. Where are they located?

  • […] story about Tom Nicholson has inspired me so much He made me believe that I can live in a smaller home and continue to be […]

  • >