Growing up, I never heard the terms sustainability, tiny home, or off-grid living. I simply knew I loved the forest my parents lived in and that my grandmother sometimes grew my food and medicine. Little did I know I would be making decisions based on these experiences for the rest of my life.
Fast forward to 23 and I am a woman attempting to follow her journey off the grid in a 1972 Winnebago Brave after many a failed attempt at conforming to the corporate structure that is the American workforce. As a woman beginning to define her own thoughts of success, not fitting into this existing structure has felt crushing at many points. Especially since we only got invited to the corporate party a short time ago. It has taken me much time and contemplation to realize that success defined by another’s standards is not success at all so I better define my own.
Now, I have always been fiercely independent but tiny home living is a whole new animal. It truly takes a community to make sustainability work because going at it your own can be quite daunting and defeats the purpose entirely. My best suggestion is to talk to people. You would be amazed how quick people are to speak on self-reliance and even more quickly willing to help a badass wild woman with a project. My community includes a close relative for showers and morning coffee dates and a family of strong women and men with open minds and loving hearts.
Downsizing was surprisingly welcomed after seeing my mother struggle with the effects of hoarding my entire life. I have never had a parkable garage. Ever.
Through it all though, the toughest obstacle of my journey is water. Serendipity came to mind with the recent pipeline events affecting my tribe and the world. Water is truly the most precious resource to every single being and I continue to gain the utmost respect for its power and fragility. Simply realizing how much water it takes to brush your teeth is a commanding lesson and a testament to how abusive we have become with this resource. A little goes a long way. I do not have running water in my Winnebago. Hauling reusable gallon jugs after switching from bottles recently is how I am able to cook, clean, and do anything else water is needed for. I will continue to haul water until I can find a more sustainable source to connect to my plumbing.
For those considering tiny home living or simply becoming more sustainable, I advise looking to nature. It uses what it needs and nothing more. It is giving without holding back. These are important lessons to be learned in the age of instant gratification and throw away goods. Fulfillment has nothing to do with anything or anyone but yourself and this will ripple throughout your life.