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What You Didn’t Know About Me

You are about to learn some things you didn’t know about me plus…


1) Some funny and interesting corrections from the News-Press article I was in

2) How I’m earning a living and

3) An awesome action shot I took of somebody doing a CRAZY kiteboard jump.

There were some comments on the News-Press article that I appreciate being brought up but wanted to correct real quick.

It says that Andrea (the awesome woman that I’ve been with for the last five years) is preparing to become a yoga instructor. I guess this statement understandably led a reader to make the assumption that she is unemployed and does nothing but “prepare to be a yoga teacher” when that is very far from the truth…

The reality is she works full time as a real estate paralegal and already is a yoga instructor – she teaches 2-3 classes of yoga per week and even finds the time to build and run her own web site. She works harder than 99% of people that I know.

And as for me, thankfully, nobody (including Andrea) has had to help me financially. You will find that out for yourself later as I share some of my online business adventures.

You should know that I am very grateful to be able to do what I’m doing, but I won’t let you believe that it was EASY for me to do it. It wasn’t, it still isn’t, and it has required for me to risk a lot while making some decisions that just seemed plain stupid at the time.

But I know that the long term pay off is worth it and I owe my last 15 months of being able to build my own small business full time to…

  • Saving money while I was working full time because I knew I wanted to do this
  • Getting rid of and being happy with way less stuff since 2007 (we haven’t been perfect, but hey)
  • No more car payments since 2008 (yes we’ve been to the mechanic more than I wish, but it’s still made a huge difference… I think about going completely car-less a lot)
  • Being able to read inspiring stories and interacting with people who are making a living online

It was September of 2009 when I left my job with $7,542 in the bank. I saved $314 per paycheck for a year. I was a man on a mission. The day I left my job was scary yet exciting because I knew what I wanted to do.


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During the last year I’ve had moments where I’d become scared that I wasn’t going to make it. This led me to apply for 4 different jobs in “automatic mode” completely out of fear. But thanks to Andrea and my supportive friends and family who have reminded me, “look at how close you are, just keep going,” I have stuck with my goals.

It’s been 15 months and my savings account has shrunk significantly since September 2009. But today I am able to pay for almost all of my living expenses through my web sites’ income (no clients or freelancing included). So yeah, my savings is still shrinking – but now it’s happening MUCH slower (a joke that hurts because it’s so true, haha).

Oh and one last thing about that News-Press article – my little brother doesn’t live with us yet, but he is part of the reason that we moved into this 600 square foot apartment last week. It has a second bedroom (with its own entrance) and he needed a place to stay so that he can move over here from another city. I’m super excited about being able to have him in my life again. Andrea’s PISSED though. (Just kidding).

So, on a happier/cool-life-moment note it’s been super windy here in Florida because we’ve had cold fronts coming out of the Gulf. Anytime it gets windy like this, the kiteboarders head out to the water and I love watching. Look at this awesome shot I got of one of them yesterday, pretty sweet, AYE?

Flying with a kiteboard

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!




{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Michael Draper December 14, 2010, 8:41 pm

    If you spend a lot of time worring about what the press gets right or wrong, you’ll give yourself an ulcer. Just post a correction – some where and carry on.

  • Timaree (freebird) December 14, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Wow, some of the commenters were so quick to jump to conclusions and negative ones at that. I am sort of surprised. I know this negativity abounds in the political blogosphere but I didn’t think it was so bad anywhere else. Why is someone who works from home an unemployed bum anyhow? I am a homemaker (at 57 I’d like to retire but my husband doesn’t agree, lol) so not only do I work at home but I don’t earn cash dollars! (I save a lot by cutting my own hair and cooking and cleaning rather than eating out or having a maid – wonder if that counts for anything). Sorry to see you had to suffer such negativity.

  • ginmar December 14, 2010, 10:33 pm

    Well, they say the personal is the political. By working from home, you’re threatening some gender roles—well, for some very stupid and reactionary people. But independence is a good thing—for the individual. The more independent you are, the less beholden you are to others. Some people are going to find that envy-worthy or risible.

    You’re fine. I love the site.

  • Shipping Container Homes December 14, 2010, 10:58 pm

    Hey buddy,

    Whilst I am mindful that some of those comments might hurt, the truth is when you choose to put yourself in the public space as you have with agreeing to an interview and even running a small site like this – you have to be open to the good and the bad “reviews” it comes with the territory.

    It makes you reflect on the real lives of politicians and celebrities that have to put up with this day in and day out just to pursue their dreams.

    Shake it off and move forward or go low profile at the end of the day the choice is really yours.

  • kitty December 14, 2010, 11:02 pm

    It is hard to read negative comments, specially the ones that just jump to conclusions or criticize your choices. I myself struggle with letting things roll off my back, but as someone just told me, you can’t make everyone happy!
    Some people are just envious that they don’t have the fortitude to venture out of the rat race.
    You obviously planned ahead and know what you want, great example for anyone considering to be self-employed.

  • Gloria December 15, 2010, 12:05 am

    Aw, Alex, I feel so badly for you! If it makes you feel any better, something like this would happen to me too! Geez, all you did was give an article, you were probably proud to be in the paper (as well you should) and then those IDIOTS write all of those comments. What jerks. Thye TOTALLY missed the point of the article. Well, the only thing that I would suggest is going BACK to your article and leaving a COMMENT yourself! Say it’s you, and say that people misinterpreted the vein of the article and you want to explain that you had a job/saved your money/girlfriend still works to save/wanted to simplify. This way, at least any NEW commenters will read YOUR comment and see what you were trying to portray in the article. OR, on the the other hand, the hell with ALL the people who took it wrong and forget about them. 🙂
    Either way, I DID understand what you meant in the article and I agree. Some people live beyond their means and live so ostentaciously, it’s ridiculous. I live in a tiny house and I read somewhere: “You can have as much love in a small house as you can in a big house.” Hey, don’t let those people get to you, OK?
    Best regards,
    Gloria
    P.S. You really should get an xbox again for SOME enjoyment. My son wouldn’t be able to live without his. LOL!

  • Davidrc December 15, 2010, 7:45 am

    As in the recent posting in Yahoo of another Tiny house article, when you hit a wide audience base you can expect a lot of negativity. The worst of the comments on your story were high praise compared to the other. Most people have no idea how much area 600 sq ft really is, the 3 bd 1 ba house I grew up in in Dallas was only about 800 sq ft(probably less) of actual conditioned space, It had an attached 1 car garage. I used to sell a lot of 14×32 and 16×40 storage buildings with extra windows and
    insulated steel residential entry doors for people to live in full time, they did the finish work themselves (no one in their right mind wanted to pay what my employers would charge for just basic work).

    I’ve been following your Blogs and e-mailing back and forth with you for the better part of a year now, so I knew the broad strokes of your story already. It was nice to see some of the finer details from the article and from this posting. Based on some fairly hardcore events affecting me this past decade, I can read an article such as this News-Press thing, cold, with no prior knowledge and come to completely different conclusions than those leapt to by a few idiots. There are always smug and complacent idiots, absolute in their certainties in what must be (read as ‘Smug’). Reach those who can be reached and don’t worry about the rest, there’s no saving them. ( Come to think of it, most people who had not allowed ossification to set into their brains would have come to the correct conclusions)

    Anyway, looking forward to your next posting. Maybe someday that photo you mentioned might turn up too, I’d liked to have seen it.

  • Adam Janowski December 15, 2010, 7:46 am

    Alex,

    Enjoyed the article. Congrats on your new adventures!

    I also downsized from a home in Naples to a condo in Bonita Springs. I want to go further and eventually settle in Asheville, NC. Last summer I found out about cohousing. There is a community in Asheville. Would love to end up in something like that.

    I also like the idea of building a Katrina cottage or something done by Ross Chapin out of Washington. I love his Coho cottage!

    Again, congrats on a neat article!

    Adam

  • Davidrc December 15, 2010, 7:48 am

    Aah, now it turns up. Figures.

  • Andrea Andrea December 15, 2010, 9:28 am

    Thank you everyone for your support! Alex & I will continue on our awesome life journey 🙂

    Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

  • Alex December 15, 2010, 11:16 am

    Wow, thank you so much Gloria, David, Timaree, Ginmar, and Adam for the love and support in your comments, it means A LOT.

    But as Michael said up top, it’s not worth sweating over it. I mainly wanted to clear things up and move on. So I’m working on other things now.

    Thank you all so much again.

    – Alex

    P.S. Container Man – your site is looking nice 🙂

  • Alex December 15, 2010, 11:23 am

    Adam! I know you. Remember that TANDBERG… Lol

  • Grady Jones December 15, 2010, 11:49 am

    Great post and I thought the article was inspiring.

  • Linda T. December 15, 2010, 12:14 pm

    I can’t believe how bitter the comments were to your news article. I was drawn to your website as I was updating my 1971 Compact Jr. camper and appreciated your ideas on small living.

    I live in a 1000 sq. ft. 1920s bungalow in the Houston (TX) Heights. I didn’t really know I was “living small.” I enjoy the space I have, which includes a wonderful garage almost the size of my house and a great yard. The trend in the neighborhood is to turn what I have into two 2000 sq ft townhomes with no yard. I guess people don’t want the hassle of outdoor work.

    But when people come to my house they see I have a haven of plants and water features just one lot away from a major city thoroughfare. It is about living smaller and appreciating the outdoors for me.

    Read “Your Mondy or Your Life.” A great guide to living within your means and finding what’s important in YOUR life.

  • Alex December 15, 2010, 2:27 pm

    Thank you Grady and Linda. You have a rare Compact Jr, how cool!! Your 1920’s bungalow must be beautiful.

    I’m with you on enjoying the outdoors more. And a big house just tempts us (and those who live with us) to become a hermit and continue accumulating stuff that just ends up binding us.

    I love my small apartment and being able to walk around the city and enjoy all it offers, including people.

    I hope you’ll show us your Compact Jr and your bungalow some day. And I’ll look for that guide, too.

  • Claudia December 28, 2010, 3:33 am

    I’m sorry to hear that people have been giving you grief. I suspect they’re just projecting their own insecurities and prejudices onto you, which is a damn shame.

    Many thanks for this website; I always look forward to seeing a new post. I find reading about tiny homes, and the lifestyle living in one entails, very inspiring. In the past year, I’ve gotten rid of about half my possessions and I’m aiming to get rid of half of the rest. It helps greatly to hear of how others are simplifying their lives, so I really appreciate how candidly you’ve shared your own experiences.

  • Alex December 28, 2010, 6:40 am

    Thank you so much Claudia

    Nice of you to leave your note and I’d love to hear more about your story of simplifying.

  • Claudia December 28, 2010, 9:36 pm

    My story is pretty simple, actually. (Which is appropriate, lol.)

    Earlier this year, I quit my well-paying, but oh so toxic job. I didn’t have any debts or dependents, so I thought what the hell. This was the perfect use for my rainy day fund.

    So, I’ve been living off my savings but soon I too will start looking for alternative ways to making a living. One that doesn’t involve spending most of my waking hours in buildings where the windows don’t open, doing work that doesn’t inspire me at all.

    I’ve embraced a mostly vegan diet, and now cook most of my food from scratch. That saves a HUGE amount of money. I only spend about $100 on groceries a month, whereas I used to spend more than that on restaurant meals and takeway in a week. I’ve also stopped buying most toiletries (I use a baking soda paste to wash my hair instead of shampoo, and an apple cider vinegar rinse instead of conditioner), making such things as deodorant and soap.

    Interestingly, it hasn’t been all that much effort to make these changes. Whatever job I take next — and I am going to look for work in the new year — I’m definitely not going to work more than 40 hours a week. I’d rather live cheaply (getting rid of so much stuff means I’ll be able to live comfortably in a tiny home) and have free time, than going back to trading most of my life energy for money to support a lifestyle that wasn’t even making me happy.

  • Alex December 29, 2010, 8:48 am

    Thanks for sharing some of your story Claudia.

    I wish you luck with finding your new job or small business.

    Your food savings are pretty impressive. And going vegan is super healthy.

    Hope to see you around more often! -Alex

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