Right now, my life looks a lot like this:
I travel in the Honda Element for months at a time, taking breaks at rented AirBnBs for a month or two at a time, then hitting the road again for more adventures.
When we’re “home” in our hometown, we stay in the camper for a month or two before heading out on the next trip.
I live mostly out of a backpack and a small duffel bag with my clothes in it. Everything else fits neatly under the platform in the Honda Element we converted into our very own “micro-camper”.
It feels natural now. It feels….easy. It’s just my life.
But Before I made my tiny living dream my real life, I was being HELD BACK by so many unknowns.
So many questions, concerns, and things I had to figure out.
It felt overwhelming to want a mobile, simple life so bad, but really have no clue at all how to actually make that happen.
Like how to bridge that gap between where I was (living in 1500+ square feet of clutter and chaos, stuck in one place, drowning in stuff) and where I wanted to be (free in a camper that felt like I was wearing my own custom-made space suit with everything I needed!).
Today, I’m going to tell you about the things that held me back for years while I was planning and scheming on my tiny living dream, before it became my real life.
And I’m going to tell you how I overcame those obstacles, in the hopes that if you’re experiencing these as well, you can gain some clarity and find a way to keep moving forward even when you feel so stuck.
Things that held me back from taking the leap:
1. I had no technical skills at all, and learning them felt really scary.
When I started reading about tiny houses (back when there were maybe one or two blogs about it) I had never built anything. I had never swung a hammer. I knew that I would have to learn these skills, but I had no idea how.
So I started asking friends if they could show me how to use a drill, or use a saw. I volunteered to help people build things. I showed up and put my anxiety aside about never having done this before, and just threw myself into it.
I also went to building workshops. My first one ever was Deek’s first ever tiny house workshop in his backyard.
Going to workshops is where I gained confidence, more than anything else.
Honestly - the skills aren’t the most important thing - it’s your confidence to try and learn new things.
At the Virtual Tiny House Workshop, we’re going to show you what tools you need and how things are put together.
We’re going to show you how to choose materials, and all of the building basics you need to know to feel CONFIDENT in doing it yourself.
2. I didn’t understand how everything worked, and I could not find any decent resources that were specific enough to my needs, what I wanted to do, and all those things that are unique to tiny, mobile dwellings.
When I started building the COMET project, there were not very many blogs about this. There was ONE old book from the 60s about mobile dwellings that I would pour over to study how people made moving homes.
Off-grid and sustainable campers were just not a thing 6 years ago.
What helped me through that was finding people to talk to who were trying to do similar things as well.
You could tell a little “movement” was springing up back then, and I had to seek these people out and talk to some older people who had lived like how I wanted to live in the 60s and 70s.
I needed to know how SYSTEMS worked - which just seemed SO mysterious to me back then. Like how water pipes connected, how electricity worked, how solar panels worked.
I needed to know this stuff so I could design my own systems for my tiny home. So I took classes about these topics, and ended up getting a degree in the field (Sustainable Design/Build with a focus on off-grid systems and tiny house design).
At the Design/Build/Downsize (the virtual tiny house workshop you can do from home) this weekend, we are going to break down every single system for you step by step - taking all the mystery out of this - so you can clearly and simply understand how plumbing, electrical, PV, and off-grid systems work in your tiny home.
We have tons of diagrams and examples to show you, and we promise to answer all of your questions on this topic that holds back to many people.
3. I didn’t have money to spend.
Here’s the big one. For a lot of us I think. I didn’t have too much money to pay for workshops (I often did trades to be able to go) and I certainly didn’t have a lot of money to spend on my camper renovation and build.
One of the big reasons Dan and I wanted to put this Virtual Tiny House Workshop together was because we knew that our in-person workshops had an accessibility issue and a barrier to entry. Because of the cost of travel and lodging, in-person workshops can be really expensive to attend. And in-person workshops have more overhead to put on, which is why they cost more.
We are able to offer Design/Build/Downsize at a super affordable price because we don't have that same overhead, and we know this makes it accessible to a lot more people!
When I was building my tiny home on wheels, I figured out how to use salvage materials, and learned the best places to find quality building materials for free and cheap.
I got sponsors for my project, which wasn’t easy, but allowed me to trade my skills for the building materials and appliances that I really needed but couldn’t afford with cash.
And most importantly, I asked for help from my community and I never gave up. I was crafty. I was determined. I hustled.
If you have any questions about how I got my entire tiny house sponsored, how I found those free and cheap but high quality building materials, and how I ask my community for help without annoying people - we’re going to be covering all of that in the Virtual Tiny House Workshop.
There will be live discussions and Q & A’s with Dan and I each day, so you’ll have a chance to pick our brains about all things tiny houses.
4. I had no one to ask questions or talk to about my plan and my ideas, because those people just didn’t exist around me. Meaning I was stuck in a negative feedback loop.
This was the biggest one. I had nobody to give me feedback on my ideas, or to ask “will this even work?” so I was stuck for months debating over tiny decisions.
I was being held back by the fact that I had no one to ask simple questions - someone who had been there and done that.
I could have saved months or even YEARS of time that I spent figuring stuff out the hard way, trying to glean info that I could apply to my unique situation from articles and books that didn’t really help.
We don’t want you to waste months of years on stuff that doesn’t work, we don’t want you to make all of the rookie mistakes we’ve both made, and we don’t want you to have to do everything yourself when you can just ask us about it, and we can show you exactly what we did.
Saying no to fear and roadblocks and YES to the life I wanted
Now, 5 years later, I have a degree in sustainable design/build, with a certificate in tiny house construction. I have built tiny houses from scratch. I have bolted houses on to trailers with my own two hands.
I’ve renovated 2 vintage campers, completely overhauling them down to the frames. I’ve used every power tool you can think of (and some I guarantee you’ve never even heard of) extensively, and I have the scars to prove it!
I’ve designed more small spaces than I can count, I’ve installed PV systems on my own, I’ve wired up a tiny house and done plumbing and greywater too.
I’ve always known that I wanted to be someone who helped other people get past these these obstacles. I love teaching - it’s what I like to think I’m good at - and I love sharing my own experiences in order to help others have an easier time transitioning to a tiny lifestyle.
I don’t want you to feel held back like I did.
I want you to feel like you can DO THIS! Like everything just clicks, and you have the confidence to make day dreams into your real life, and start taking action on your ideas and plans.
Dan and I are pouring our brains and hearts into this, and we want to share everything.
We want to show you what to do so you don’t feel stuck or lost or overwhelmed by your ideas.
We want you to give all of the tools, the knowledge, the confidence you need to make tiny living your real life.
We’re starting on Saturday August 22nd, so you need to sign up by Friday at midnight to save your spot!