Saturday, December 29, 2012

A look back and a look forward...

2012 may have been the biggest year of my life. So much happened that even in previous years where I could say a lot happened they pale to 2012 in comparison.

January and February started out kind of slow. This was mostly because we were already planning some big changes and wanted to enjoy the winter before we had to get down to work. But in January I started writing for my first regular blogging client. I still write for them. We spent February working on some indoor stuff in the tiny house getting it ready to live in.

March had some excitement when we spoke at the Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop held in Asheville. We were able to meet Pepper Clark and really enjoyed the experience. We also slept in the tiny house for the first time ever in March. It is crazy to think that we hadn't before.

In April, I gave my notice for my job and we let everyone know that we would be moving in to the tiny house in May. When I look back at it I think about what a big scary decision it felt like. In truth I couldn't have done anything else. My life had been standing still for quite a while and taking that leap was extremely important. I am very pleased and proud by how it has turned out so far.

May was a month of huge news. We packed up the Element and Matt's car with all of our belongings. Piglet and I drove the three and a half hour trip from Asheville to the tiny house for the last time. We were home. May also brought my first guest post with Tiny House Talk. This has turned into a regular thing and I love working with Alex.

In June we put the Location Independence concept to the test by traveling for two weeks. We went to Michigan to spend a week with family and then met some friends at a camping festival in Illinois. June was also the month where Piglet learned how to climb the ladder.

July was both hot and rainy this year. But it finally stopped raining long enough for us to get our solar power system set up. 

In August we hosted our first gathering since moving into the tiny house. We used our new outdoor kitchen set up to smoke a pork butt. Matt and his friends played music all night on our new deck/stage, the Folk N' Ale.

In September, I started my second Tiny House Blogging gig with Steven at Tiny House Listings.  We also got our geek on at Dragon*Con in Atlanta. It was a busy month with all of that but we also found time to finish the trim on the exterior siding of the house and build our gray water reclamation system. Oh, and I had a great time doing the Tiny r(E)volution podcast with Andrew Odom.

In October we started winding things down in anticipation for our two month trip to Michigan for the holidays. This was going to be another test of the location independent lifestyle. It worked out marvelously, by the way. We also made arrangements for a place to stay in the winter once we returned to Asheville. This was a bit of a controversy but we decided that we wanted to take some time away from the tiny house and live in the city for the winter.

In November, we made it to Detroit for the first half of our holiday trip. I also did an interview with the Huffington Post. That experience taught me an important lesson about the internet. I was hurt and upset by many of the comments. And when I expressed that these upset me the internet was no additional comfort, telling me I needed to grow a thicker skin. It took me a little while to process and understand those feelings but I think the experience has made me more comfortable sharing my story.

December was full of holiday cheer and family time. We enjoyed it very much, but by the end of the month we were completely ready to go back to Asheville. We left yesterday, in fact, and drove home. We're at our 700 square foot city house where we will set up shop for the next couple of months. I can't wait to get back up to the tiny house. While we're out of it for the winter, and before the green things start to grow in the spring, we have some little projects to do.

The big lesson from all of 2012 for me was Engagement.  By downsizing our lives and eliminating distractions and stresses we were able to engage in our lives and our community. I want more of that.

Which brings me to the next half of this already lengthy post. The plans for 2013! 

I'll try to keep this brief. These aren't resolutions per se, but rather things that we intend to do this year.

  1. Rain Catchment. This would have been done sooner if we hadn't discovered the spring on our land. 
  2. Beer Making. This is something I missed in the tiny house. The tiny house isn't really set up for brewing and it would take up much of the usable space to do it so I put it off. I plan to brew some beer this winter while we're in the bigger house. I can't wait. I already have a recipe for Chocolate Milk Stout to start with.
  3. More Traveling. We plan to do quite a bit of traveling again this year. It is also a big part of our chosen lifestyle and the tiny house makes it possible.
  4. Tiny House Workshop in Wilmington NC. I am pleased to say that Matt and I have been invited to speak at this workshop hosted by Deek of Relax Shacks and Steven of Tiny House Listings! 
  5. Get involved. I really want to be involved in the Asheville community this year. I want to work with the Blogger Society to get some activities up and running. We also just discovered that we are less than a block away from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville and that would be a great place to meet new people. 
  6. Publish "120 Ideas for Tiny Living." I plan to have the book available by March 29th, which is my birthday. I know I will be doing an eBook but I may also offer a print option. I'm working on editing and organizing it now. Then I need to figure out what photos I still need to take. 
I'm sure there will be more things that I will think of as time goes by. I may even pop back into this post and add them as they come up. 

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

8 comments:

  1. Finish my first ebook, finish my house, build an outdoor kitchen.... then who knows :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I loved your interview on the Huff post but was blown away by some of those negative comments...who on earth do these people think they are? I suppose its human nature to criticize what you don't understand or fear...but that was excessive. I hope you guys let it roll off you like water off the ducks back.

    For what its worth I love you blog and admire every decision you've made, particularly the low tech plumbing solutions. We spend ridiculous amounts of energy pumping water to heights of three and six feet in the name of convienience in this country. I am making a version of your pump sprayer shower and using it this summer. I'll put it outside in the sun to heat the water, in Phoenix in summer there is no good reason to use a water heater when the outside IS a water heater. And an oven, and a clothes dryer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dr.Dave. I wish I had as much grace as you described about the HuffPo comments. I learned a lesson, though, and from now on I don't intend to loose my cool.

      Delete
  3. I've been following you since the beginning and I say, just think of negative people as the unhappy folk that they are and leave it at that. Some people are so miserable that they want everyone else to be just as miserable so they write hurtful things to accomplish this goal.

    Keep up the good work you are doing and I will continue to watch your progress in life...well, as long as I can, not being very young myself. God bless y'all and your endeavors. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. With all the wonder that blogging and the internet provide for us...there is the down side of negative comments from strangers. I understand how hurtful it can be and it is really hard for me because I just could not behave in that manner...if you don't have anything nice to say than say nothing at all is my motto. We downsized over three years ago from 3,800 sq.ft. to 687 sq.ft. and we are still getting rid of stuff! You simply do not realize the emotions that you have attached to your things until you go to get rid of them! It does get easier as time goes on and you realize what is important in your life...like your loved ones ;} We also have two grown sons and now grandbabies and everyone is scattered all over the states. So...we simply travel to see them and stay in hotels...most of which are larger than our "Love Shack". We have found that it was much cheaper and less stressful to travel to hotels, than to pay a mortgage and maintain such a large home. Best of luck to you both in your wonderful "tiny" adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are a huge inspiration. I keep working and saving my money, not quite enjoying life the way I should, hoping that I will get there sooner than later. I visit your blog from time to time and it really kick starts my motivation for becoming more and more frugal so that I can save more money! I really hope to live the tiny adventurous life within the next 2 years.

    ReplyDelete

Your comment will appear after moderation! Thanks for visiting!