Not long ago, I attended a networking event for the Asheville Blogger Society. There was a great turn out and after business was conducted we shuffled off to one of the many local watering holes for some socializing. I spent some time speaking with Jason, the author of Tribe.ly, a website dedicated to helping people find and build their tribes and change the world.
Our conversation, as it often does, turned to living in a tiny house. Reactions to the 120 square foot house range from curiosity to repulsion. Jason fell on the curious end of the spectrum and wanted to know more about how we live and, more importantly, why we live the way we do. A lot of people miss out on that piece of the puzzle by not asking the right questions. We are not trying to live the way we use to; we are fundamentally changing the way we participate in our own lives.
Jason got it. And he wrote about it:
“There is a fascinating element that I picked up on as I was talking with Laura and Matt, that I probably never would have considered as a benefit of Tiny House living until I actually tried it myself. They see their 120-square feet as a perfect excuse to live life outside of the house, so they can get to know their neighbors, invest in community and building relationships in their area. We met at a blogger society meetup, so they were clearly committed to breaking out of the 4 walls we all call our homes and intentionally investing in relationships with like-minded people.”
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In fact, he articulated this aspect of our tiny house experience better than I have managed to. Moving to the tiny house was our way to engage with life. Looking at it on paper this doesn’t seem possible. We have 15 acres in the middle of a rural area that is a 30 minute drive to the city – how can we possibly get involved in the community? We engage with our mountain by living off of its resources. We gather spring water. We walk up and down the trails every day. We cook outside and eat outside as often as we can. We are constantly coming up with new projects to improve our outdoor space. But we aren’t hermits. We engage with our immediate neighbors as regularly as any of our schedules might allow. Several times a week we leave the mountain and go into town. There is always a reason. We go have dinner, we do laundry, we go to concerts or networking events. We love meeting new people, like Jason.
I didn’t know Jason was going to be writing up an extensive post on our little life, but I am glad he did. Those of us who are part of the Tiny House Tribe have something great to contribute. Our little tribe is scattered across the world, but we do connect. We seek each other out on the internet because we want to get to know other people who also chose this path to participate in their own lives. When people who live small are being featured on CNN, we are showing everyone there are other ways to interact with our homes and our lives. There are sustainable ways. There are mortgage-free ways. There are simpler ways. As Jason says, our “small spark can change the world.” Life is not a spectator sport. You can’t sit around and wait for it to happen to you, you need to make it happen for yourself.
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How are you changing the way you connect with your life? How are you changing the world?
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Amazing post, thanks for all the links, Jason certainly was very eloquent with his descriptions, I love it and couldn’t agree more!
I was suitably impressed and more than a little humbled. I love the way he communicates what we talked about and I believe that a lot of tiny house folks think the same way.
Thank you Macy!
This was so very eloquent, and a wonderful perspective! I can think of so many reasons and I am sure that each person has the viewpoints of what has greater priority. I am listing a sample of other thoughts below.
* Why do people want to work so many hours to pay for a mortgage and interest? (Time & Money)
* Wouldn’t you enjoy a simpler life, with many of the stresses reduced or removed? (Simplify)
* Easier to handle financial rough times. (Money &Greater Peace of Mind)
* Would you like to have a smaller imprint on the environment? (Environmental & Less Stuff)
* Easier to identify and maintain what is important in your life. (Self Introspection)
I am sure there are many others; these are just a couple ideas I jotted down.
Many of your categories (Time, money, simplicity, peace of mind, environment, downsizing, self-awareness) are all things that are very meaningful to me.
I have a hard time watching people I care about just go through the motions and wait for life to happen to them. I want to fully engage. That is why I do the things I do.
Thank you so much for sharing Keith, very good stuff!
“Life is not a spectator sport. You can’t sit around and wait for it to happen to you, you need to make it happen for yourself.”
This quote alone is worth it’s weight in gold. so true.
I like the philosophy, that the smaller space forces you to live outside of your home more.
It’s too easy to become a hermit.
Thanks, Jeff, great quote!
Is living for a mythical god really living in a tiny house? Can one be so deluded that they have to spam and waste everyones time?
What if instead of living in myths they instead put that time, money into doing worthwhile things like helping other to embrace reality instead of delusions of a god because they can’t think for themselves?
How did Crist die? He was so impotant that a couple mere soldiers managed to hang him on a cross. Is that a description of a god?
Critical thinking would lead one to reality and stop such time, money, energy wasting on non existing beings that won’t show themselves even in a small home. Isn’t useless waste like this completely against what tiny home living is about?
Will You Join The Ever Growing Tiny House Tribe? Maybe. My motives aren’t all the same as other tiny house dwellers but some are probably similar. I’ve been selling my possessions slowly for two years. I want less stuff. Today a coffee table sold. That’s one less thing to carry when I eventually move.
My main desire is to have more control. A tiny house, a small RV, or even a tiny apartment will do that for me. When I get my possessions down to just what will fit into a van I’ll have the capability to be very mobile. If those possessions are inside a tiny portable house it will be just as good. Mobility opens up opportunities. More opportunities mean more control.
Owning land fixes one in a spot. A tiny house on that land only lowers costs. If that is imperative then a tiny house is ideal. If one just wants control then the size of the house doesn’t matter. One still owns the land and nobody else should be able to control what to do with it. So building bigger is an option.
Being fully in control of my dwelling is my main desire. A paid off van or RV gives me that. Owning a tiny trailer house like the Tumbleweed might give me that IF I had land on which to park it. Such a house is too big to tow everywhere.
A tiny travel trailer can give the same minimal comforts of a house or apartment. What it comes down to is, are those comforts delivered in a way that is pleasing enough for daily life? I believe that the people who would resist tiny house living are seeing the tiny houses as not delivering the daily comforts of home in a way that is pleasing to them.
Could I permanently live in a tent? Yes. Would I want to live that way? No. A tent isn’t enough for me just like some tiny homes aren’t enough for others. For me part of my desire for control involves safety. A tent just doesn’t feel secure enough.
A tiny apartment, even though rented, does give greater control because there are so few things inside it that moving quickly would be easy. In my opinion that is the main benefit of living simply and small.
I’ve read that some people feel freer when they own fewer possessions. As I let go of more and more things I do feel that temporarily, but that is because I’m selling things I don’t use regularly. Until I have only the things I need and want left, I won’t know how freeing owning less will really feel.
Using the reduction to the ridiculous, if I just owned the clothing on my back I should feel totally free, but that wouldn’t be true.
So will I join the ever growing tiny house tribe? Yes, though I don’t yet know in which form it will be.
We are in! We just moved into our self-built tiny house three days ago and although we still have a lot to finish – trim around windows, shelving…- we couldn’t be happier. We live off the grid, though solar panels and rain gutters are not yet installed – getting there, getting there.
My main reason for living tiny was finances. It is the best feeling in the world, when you are not paying rent or any mortgage by the age of 35.
Living off the grid is an amazing, new experience – I never had such a heightened awareness about resources: rain, sun, heat (gas). Our house is in the woods and while it is cozy inside (the boat heater really works!) we can watch nature, animals outside through our gliding patio doors.
Okay, to make it short: I like the environmental and technical aspect of our tiny dwelling!
Downsizing is as enjoyable as painful – all these decisions about keeping or not keeping. After packing 12 moving boxes about 6 weeks ago, I thought I had done a great job downsizing… Now while unpacking I come across things that I am not attached to anymore and could easily get rid off, but don’t want to put it into the trash… The more I gave away, sold or just threw away this summer, the more money I had – as if the material was holding a money value that was released once I got rid off it.
But I better stop now, since this is just a comment.
Thanks for reading,