Sunday, July 28, 2013

Livin' LARGE in a TINY Space

Last night, the soft glow of a pink Himalayan salt lamp and the humming sound of rain falling on the fiberglass roof lulled us off to dream land. One of the many little things that we both love about living in our cozy wee abode on wheels. 

When we made the choice to minimize our possessions and live small, it was a bit of a leap of faith. We wondered if we would miss any of that STUFF that we parted with in order to successfully fit into  an old motorhome. Well, the verdict is in and we haven't missed a thing. I can hardly remember what else I had just 4 short months ago. It just goes to show that many of our possessions are completely unnecessary for genuine happiness. We have the bare essentials (and, of course, a few precious tokens that remind us of loved ones). It's just enough to meet our needs in the 175 sq ft we call home. 

Top 10 Reasons to Live in a Tiny Home on Wheels:

1.  In just 15 minutes, she's as clean as a whistle!

2.  We both know exactly what we own and where to find it. 

3.  No matter where we go, we are at home. Literally. No packing required!

4.  We can brew up a fair trade organic coffee in our kitchen while filling up at a gas station. 

5.  We can pull over for a nap at any time. In our own bed. Bam!

6.  One of us can use the bathroom while the other is driving. Tricky, but possible. We've tried it. 

7.  The dash is so huge that it doubles as a greenhouse/kitchen table. 

8.  It's impossible to collect excess possessions with such little space. We would have to sleep up on the roof. Hey...we've been meaning to try that. 

9.  It makes us even more water-aware. The buzzing of her water pump is a reminder of water going down the drain. 

10.  Animals love it too. The local cats like to sit on the spare tire and stare in the bathroom window. After a rain, little birdies play in the puddles on the roof...which can be irritating when you're trying to sleep. But it's still really cute. 

And there you have it!  There are lots more reasons. I just don't want it to sound too good. Then we might end up with tons of neighbors, but you'll have to find us first. :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Living for love. Loving your life.

One of my passions is helping other people to help themselves. Maybe they're stuck in a quicksand career, in a relationship that just doesn't fit, or regularly finding themselves in a conflict with one person or another. Some folks just feel lost altogether and don't know what to do!

Well, recently, after a move to remote northern Alberta, I was feeling out of sorts. A friend gave me a book, which I enjoyed cover-to-cover, but one simple exercise stood out and it has shifted my life in a big way. I have shared my own version of this idea with a few close pals who needed a boost. I don't think there is a single person out there who's life won't change for the better from this idea:

Choose a quiet place to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen (dig in your junk drawer, you must have these somewhere! :). Make a list of everything that you LOVE. List the things that make your spirit smile, Or make you feel joyful and light-hearted, or laugh like a child again. Write down the things that make you feel like YOU!  Start with the obvious ones, then dig deeper. They can be anything from sunsets to biking, ice cream, butterflies, sports, visiting with pals, walking your dog or giving hugs. I have even been adding more things each week that I forgot that I love! (P.S. make sure you realllllly love these things and that they aren't things your partner loves or even worse, things you are obligated to do!) Some of these things may only be  achievable once or twice a year. Oh, and cover all seasons!

Ok. Once you have your list, post it somewhere that you will look at it every single morning. Now make it your priority to do at least two of these things (more would be amazing!) Every. Single. Day. I have been adding check marks next to the things that I do each day. This way I can see which ones I am doing (usually the easiest to fit in) and can see which of my loves I am still neglecting to gift to myself, and making them happen. 

In a matter of a few days, I felt more like myself again. I felt empowered, uplifted and free. Too many of us put ourselves last every day and eventually, we feel exhausted, grumpy, depleted and generally unhappy...even resentful! None of these things are beneficial to us or our loved ones. 

Make yourself your own priority. We all deserve it. I would love to hear how this idea has helped you in your daily life. After all, you're the only one who knows what you really need to be your most vibrant and wonderful self.  <3

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

(Modern) Life is but a Dream.

Do you ever get the feeling that things like iPhones, and Facebook are just another THING that keeps us humans immersed in a dream-like semi-reality?

Don't get me wrong, I too have enjoyed having hundreds of "friends" on Facebook, and that feeling of warm fuzzies when the majority of those people message me the token once-a-year on my birthday, which they rely on Facebook to notify them of.  Or how about learning of a family member's engagement (OMG! look at my huge diamond!) or pregnancy (surprise everyone! Here is our first look at baby!) via a Facebook post. What happened to a phone call and/or a simple email to those who are closest to us? Are these life events not special and sacred anymore? Seems like they are all just for show these days. 
Social media. Facebook. Television. Celebrities. All of those other online apps and groups and garbage that is flooding our minds. 

Wake up friends! IT'S. NOT. REAL!!! It's not genuine human connection. It's stealing from all of us the quality of life and those meaningful connections and memorable moments that we are ALL seeking. Our children are not learning the skills needed to communicate with each other while their noses are pointed at electronic boxes of various shapes and sizes. People are passive-aggressively putting each other down and gossiping and sharing false information and it makes my head spin!

I have stepped back from Facebook for a few months now, occasionally posting a link to these blog posts, but making a conscious choice to avoid scrolling mindlessly through people's complaints, ego flaunting and dramas. The result? I feel lighter. I feel happier. I don't feel left out and I would certainly hope that if a life-changing event were to occur, that my REAL friends and family would send me an email or even better yet, pick up the phone. 

This brings me to my next point which is cell phones.  I have had one version or another for over 10 years. The phone companies have usually had to arm wrestle me to get me to upgrade my ancient (folds in half with a pull-up antenna) phones to the newest versions with day-planning,  dinner-making, weather-forecasting, trend-watching, OMG!!! alerting shenanigans (of which I have one and am typing this post with, but is mostly severely underutilized). 

What has happened to our ability to think for ourselves??? At this point, if you don't carry around one of these gadgets, I don't know how you even get out of bed in the morning! 

On top of this, I (and the masses) am spending over $1,000 yearly to keep up with everyone else in the technology race. The phone companies (among many others, which I will eventually post about) are laughing at us.  I called my mobile phone provider today and said that I wanted to cancel my phone plan and pay the remaining balance on my contract. The fellow helping me was quite surprised and asked why I would possibly want to do that?!  I simply said that I am no longer interested in paying such high fees to stay in touch with the people who matter to me. So after an hour of being on hold repeatedly, I am still using my phone and was offered a "bargain!!!" I am no fool, and although I accepted the offer, I have a master plan of scrapping my phone and freeing myself from one more of the tentacles of modern society, which I truly believe is dumbing us all down and keeping us working like rats on a wheel so that we can keep up with society and be cool.  

After all, that's what life is about. Right?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Expand your world. One page at a time.

I LOVE coming across a book that feels like it was written just for me. Below, I have listed a few books that have been fun, educational and inspirational for me in my search for greater meaning in the world. I have added links just in case you are super excited to read these.  I must add, however, that I prefer to borrow books from friends or libraries or purchase them second hand. Saves a tree and keeps your home less cluttered!

Farmacology by Daphne Miller, MD
A wonderful librarian friend handed me this newly published book a few weeks ago. It's been so fun to read and has confirmed (again) that traveling from farm to farm, both learning and sharing ideas, is what calls to me. Great read!

Walk Out Walk On by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze 
This one is inspirational and reminds me of how much having a sense of community is crucial to my happiness, and to most of us, since we are a tribal species!

You Can Buy Happiness (and it's Cheap) by Tammy Strobel
Last Christmas, a friend regifted this book to us. This is an awesome, fun read that inspired us to ditch our STUFF and live small and light in a motorhome. If you are on the fence about downsizing, she might just convince you too!

Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin
Joel is a hilarious and brilliant farmer from Virginia, whom we were fortunate to see at a lecture in Calgary last spring. We bought this book that night and I laughed  so hard reading it. It's full of thoughts and ideas that made me shake my head and say "everything is wrong with modern agriculture!!!" One more confirmation that alternative methods of food production are not an option but an extremely urgent issue. You will love it!

Hope one or more of these will change your life's direction for the better like they have for us.  :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What do you get when you follow your heart?

This blog has been created to do two things:
1. Allow me to empty my brain when it's overwhelmingly full of ideas and questions. 
2. Share our adventures in sustainable and spiritual living with other souls who are in also search of a more meaningful world. 

My fiancĂ© and I (call us 30-ish, give or take a bit) are in the process of freeing ourselves from the entrapment of the far-too-widely accepted cycle of debt and overconsumption. When we met one year ago, we were both at our wits end with this seemingly hopeless vortex of exhaustion and lack of meaning in our lives.  At Christmas time (and forecasted apocalypse time) in 2012, a friend passed to us an excellent book called You Can Buy Happiness (and it's Cheap) by Tammy Strobel. It was exactly the inspiration we needed to start down a road less traveled. 

Our solution to our entrapment so far?
Step1.  We minimized (by selling and regifting) our personal possessions to the point where we have a mental inventory of exactly what we own. How many people can make that statement? 

Step 2: We then purchased a slightly squeaky and finicky (but oh-so-magical) motorhome, which houses pretty much everything short of our two (seasoned but lovely) vehicles (of which we plan to sell at least one).
We have thoroughly enjoyed these adjustments to our new way of life and we don't miss ANY of that useless stuff we once thought we needed to feel secure and happy. 

We originally intended to make "the moHo" our home for the 5 months (if we are lucky!) of the year where our toilet water won't freeze in  northern Alberta. Well, we are now more than half way through those months and we are firmly uninterested in paying rent or strapping ourselves to a mortgage for eternity, as so many elect to do. 

Step 3: We are working on acquiring the financial means to call the moHo home for as long as it takes for us to feel like we have gathered the wisdom and knowledge to pass on a recipe for sustainable living to our future generations (which will IDEALLY involve following the sun south) by the time toilet-freezing temperatures arrive, roughly late September to early October. *fingers crossed*

...and so this blog begins... 
Please follow along as we document our tales of all manner of things non-conventional and our minimalist life in a tiny home on wheels.