All I had was some money for a plane ticket and four months to arrange the rest of my trip: a rental car, food and shelter. I had to take some serious risks (I only recently started my own business with an un-steady income) ánd I’m about to start with the build of my own Tiny Home. And I went. Following my heart.
Besides my article, in this issue, you will also find an interview with Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, an article about how to work with solar panels, an item on off-grid shower systems, and info about a Tiny Home Kit. And of course, a lot of Tiny Houses! 73 Pages!
You can purchase the entire magazine for $4,99, by using a credit card or PayPal. The Magazine is a PDF file, also available for iOs and Android. During the check-out process, you will see the e-mail address of Kent Griswold. That’s the owner and founder of Tiny House Magazine.
March 2015 ~ Somewhere, somehow, an announcement shows up on Facebook: A Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colorado. August 7, 8 and 9. Register NOW! It’s free! I pause… Several things go through my mind. It’s free. It’s in the U.S. It’s about Tiny Houses. It’s nuts! I can feel a smile on my face and a mischievous jumpy little kid in my system who’s telling me: “What the heck, just GO! Why not?”
The somewhat more adult version of me enters the scene and is listening to this exciting, jumping little kid.
“So you want to go?”
“YES! YES! YES!”
“Do you have the resources to go?”
“Uhm… I do have some money for a plane ticket.”
“Do you have an income for the next couple of months so you’re able to save some more?”
“I hope so.”
“You know what? I’ll register myself. We can do that and let’s see what else we can pull off to make it happen.”
Both the kid and the adult team up.
Well, that was the easy part. In order for me to go, I actually had to take some serious risks. I had just started my own business, had no steady income, and I’m only at the start of my own Tiny House build. With the money that I’d spend, I could probably buy a trailer! After my trip, it’s likely I’ll be broke. That’s quite a lot to take in actually. Yet still, I wanted to go. So I went. This is my personal story, with the why, the how and the what.
Okay, I’m registered. America, huh? Do you want to go to just this event? That would be a shame. Make the trip a month! You can finally meet those friends you’ve known for so long through the internet and rent a car so you’re able to get the USA road trip off your bucket list. In addition, see more Tiny Homes and meet their owners while traveling. Good idea.
This was still just the dreamy state of mind. Limitless thoughts. Due to some experiences I had in my life earlier, I know that limitless dreaming is not wishful thinking at all. You would be stunned by what you’re actually able to do if you just do it. It’s not my circumstances that are holding me back from doing things, even if it does seem to be like that. It’s my own head packed with convictions, negativity and impossibilities. Luckily, I downsized some of those monkeys already (It’s even better than downsizing your stuff! I can tell you that!).
With just the money for a plane ticket in my pocket, I had to turn this wish list into a to do list. Things I had to arrange? A credit card. Money for food. Money for a roof over my head. Money for a rental car for at least three weeks, and money to make sure my bills such as rent and insurances are paid at home during my absence. I had four months to get all of this accomplished and get to the States!
I got to a point where it all seemed to be a little bit too much for me. A strong thought entered my mind: What are you thinking? Going on this trip, alone? Spending all your money and you wish to start building your Tiny House too? As soon as it entered, I knew it would happen. I said to myself: “Frieda, you wish to create a different life. You wish to have more space and possibilities to do the things you like. It’s the one reason why you want to have your own Tiny Home. Yes?” I looked at my life and knew that I already made some major changes because of that. I do not have the financial burden from a big home anymore. I know how to trust my gut feeling too. Why not trust that even more? It served me well so far. Most importantly, why wait for my Tiny Home to be here in order for me to do the things I want to do? I’m passed the postponing phase. If I wish to do it now? Just go for it! Take that risk. Life! So down the rabbit hole I went. On July 22, after some very welcome coincidences that provided me with the money I needed, I stepped onto the plane! America, here I come!
Fifty-four hours later I arrived. Both Texas and my friends gave me a very warm welcome! We discussed Tiny Homes, watched the documentary TINY, talked about Tiny Houses even more and off I went to the rental car to start my bucket list road trip. My oh my, how I love these roads! I cried, laughed, and even screamed in the car. If you want to, you can read about my travels on my blog.
On August 6 I arrived at the Jamboree campsite. The Jamboree and high spirits that have gotten so much attention was already alive and kicking! During a spontaneous conversation-in-the-round at the campsite, we literally got goose bumps by just talking to each other! For a lot of people this event was an important moment in time to start their own projects. Whether it’s buying or building. The same for me. So good and so inspiring to be amongst those people! Clearly, I’m not alone.
The next day the actual Jamboree kicked off. You may already know by now but an unexpected 40,000 people showed up over the weekend! One big Tiny House Family. What a blast, buzz and great energy that was! Day One was the somewhat slow day with around 9,000 people entering the gates. Good for me because I was able to see and experience several different Tiny House designs. In the Netherlands, it’s a fairly new concept and therefore there are not a lot of examples to learn from. Going from one Tiny Home to the other provided me with the knowledge I needed! It made me realize things like: I don’t want the kitchen to be in that area, in that configuration or that design is not my thing. I also thought — Wow! I love that siding! The tours were priceless!
However, what surprised me the most was during Day One. Even though I spent a lot of time checking out the designs, it made me realize that this Jamboree and the movement is not about the houses. It’s all about the people! It was so good to be surrounded by those who get it! They get me. I get them. Yes, we’re still very different folks. That’s okay. In my opinion, building or living in your own Tiny Home is pioneering and pioneering can be lonesome from time to time. Put all these pioneers together and you have a blast! Can you imagine the thrill? That and the joint joy and love for Tiny Living, was what bonded us all: speakers, enthusiast, builders, vendors, organization, visitors. As Andrew Morrison from hOMe pointed out nicely, the venue was clean by the end of the weekend. With 40,000 people, that could have been a total different story and that meant a lot to me. We do seem to be a very responsible, active, warm and enthusiast group of funny people and I’m proud to be a part of that! You can imagine that Day Two and Day Three were packed with chats, meetings, talks, laughter, sharing, and getting to know even more people!
(If you wish to read more about my experiences at the Jamboree, check out the blog. Both English ánd Dutch.)
With my heart wide open and filled with some good Tiny House Love, Monday arrived. The withdrawal symptoms kicked in but I still had two weeks before I would leave the U.S. What to do after such a high?
Beforehand I figured that it would be a good idea to see if I’m able to spend some time with Tiny House people and their homes on my way back. I met a builder at the Jamboree and he was on my route. After spending some time together, he welcomed me into his home. I got a unique chance to stay in an actual Tiny House for several days. This turned out to be quite important for my project. I mean, we probably all agree that Tiny Houses are very cute, but do I actually like to stay in them? For real? Yes! I love it!
It provided me with even more knowledge and got me the solid foundation for my final design. In a both emotional and practical sense. I feel I’m now confident enough to at least make some good interior, exterior and trailer size decisions. I’m very grateful for that!
After a few days I left the builder’s Tiny Home and treated myself to some more gorgeous roads and sceneries. I returned my rental car and ended my trip where I started it: at my friends’ house. There I stumbled into a very active man who got the Tiny House fever big time, while I was gone on some Tiny House hunting myself. Beware, it’s very contagious!
I left the States on August 23 and I’m now back home for several days. I can honestly say that I have no regrets at all. It was such a good idea to go, all the way from the Netherlands, to the USA. I’m no longer alone in my Tiny journey. I have the knowledge, inspiration and courage to start the actual build. I got to play with both risks and trust even more and got the better from it! I do not know exactly how to go from here, but against all odds I pulled off this trip. I will take it step-by-step, in the here and now. Let’s see where it will take me. I’m glad I listened to the jumpy little kid inside, with the adult by her side, and didn’t wait until I had my Tiny Home to do stuff like this. Personally, I feel that’s what Tiny Living is all about, and that’s actually not tiny at all. To me, it’s grand!