Building our tiny house was a journey of self-discovery. I learned that quitting wasn’t failure. I learned that what I had been missing in my life was a connection to the community and this new, simpler way of living afforded me the opportunity to achieve it. No matter what happens in the future, I will never forget the lessons I learned about myself in those years.
Yes, years. Our tiny home took three years to build with a variety of mitigating circumstances. We were living and working in Atlanta and traveling three hours to western North Carolina about twice a month to build on weekends. The project was slow and deliberate. As we had never built anything before, we took the time between trips to learn the skills we needed for the next steps.
Finally, in 2012, we were ready to move into the tiny house full time. To do this, I had to face one of my biggest fears: quitting my job. Just because it was something I wanted to do, something I had to do, didn’t make it easier. On top of quitting, I was about to jump without a safety net into a career as a writer.
Our first few nights were a blur as we acclimated to the smaller space, but over several weeks, we quickly fell into an easy routine. Writing was punctuated by simple chores that made living in our off-grid house possible. I filled the water filter and emptied the gray water into our artificial wetland. I traded a commute for daily chores, and I felt free. There was no panic. I wasn’t overwhelmed anymore. This was what I had been missing.
Now, four years later, the tiny house has paid greater dividends than we could have imagined. We find ourselves steeped in our local community and engaged with our life and our surroundings.
Over the course of this journey, we've learned it was never about the house. It was about making decisions to live our lives more deliberately, and that is something everyone can benefit from whether they build a tiny house or not.