Tiny House Tiny Footprint 2 Years Later

When I first started my interview series 2 years ago, my friends Kathleen and Greg were my first subjects. And I thought it was about time for an update from them.

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What has changed since you first started living small? 

So much has changed in the last year for us! About a year ago we bought a house on some land so that we could move our camper to a new location. We now rent out our house on Airbnb and live in the camper in the backyard. This allows us to pay our mortgage while also living small whenever we’d like. I quit my office job a few months ago to freelance full time.

This was a difficult decision for me because I was used to a stable paycheck and a job close to our tiny home, but I wanted to spend more time telling the stories of tiny dwellers and promoting a lifestyle outdoors, closer to nature. To go along with those things, I hosted my first van gathering in late August in Colorado! More than 60 people came and brought their adventure mobiles. People shared their talents by playing music around the campfire, leading yoga sessions, preparing food and showing people their rigs. It was a wonderful weekend and I left inspired, feeling confident that this was a wonderful group of people that I wanted to spend more time with.

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How has freelancing full time working out for you? 

No one can prepare you to freelance full time no matter how hard they might try. I tell people that I’m working much more now that I’m freelancing, but I’m also doing what I want to do. I have time to make breakfast (something I never did before) and sleep in a little later, but in turn, I might be working later into the night and often on weekends. When you start freelancing, you have to work harder to make connections and find clients that you want to work with. After a while (or so people say), it gets easy and you have more stable work to rely on. Fingers crossed!

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I heard you wrote a book, tell us more about it!

It’s been a childhood dream to write a book and I finally did! I had the idea about a year ago + started brainstorming what kind of book I wanted to write and who my audience would be. I decided that I wanted to write something that could be read by adults as well as children. I wanted to inspire those who were thinking about living small to read about my experiences (not all of which were easy + wonderful as Instagram may make it seem). And I wanted a child to pick it up and learn that they don’t need to grow up and buy the big house. They can easily be happy with less + a life of freedom and adventure.

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How has living tiny changed you?

I have learned (and am still learning) that life is not about following what others do or what society thinks you should do. Life is about doing things for yourself + having deep conversations with yourself about what feels right + what makes you happy. How we are brought up greatly influences who we turn out to be + our thought process. But it’s okay to live differently thank your family or your friends. It’s okay to choose your own path. People may judge you or question your motives, but staying true to yourself is all that matters.
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What are the best and worst parts of living tiny?

This answer definitely changes depending on the season 🙂

Living small gives you a freedom that is hard to describe. Knowing you don’t need as much allows you to focus on what’s truly important. When you don’t have as many things keeping you inside, you end up spending more time outdoors. Living small is a lot like camping. You can hear and see things much clearer because your windows are bigger and your walls are smaller.
In the winter, I miss having a hot shower whenever I need it. We don’t use our shower in the camper in the wintertime because our hose isn’t properly insulated. So instead, we shower at the gym. It’s not a huge inconvenience and you get used to it, but it’s something you can easily take for granted.
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What are people’s main misconceptions about living small?

I’ve noticed there are a few misconceptions about living this way. A lot of people think it’s a dreamy experience because they see the photos of feet dangling out the back of a van or going on amazing adventures. And while a lot of that is true, living small is certainly not easy. Finding a place to park for free can be hard when you don’t know where you’re going. Doing laundry or washing dishes becomes a whole different experience. There’s also not a lot of space to spread out and do things like yoga or have people over for dinner. But the trade off is that you learn to be creative and find solutions to these challenges, which make them more fun in the end.

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Have you made any updates to the camper?

We have upgraded a few of our items. We got a nicer coffee maker and a warmer blanket for our bed. But mostly, we haven’t done too much to it. We like that it’s minimalist and we don’t want to spend too much money on it because we like to spend our money on experiences.

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Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d love if you went and checked out our Kickstarter! Even if you can’t help fund the project, please share it with your friends or others on your blog. I realize not all of you may live small, but his book helps spread the message about tiny living and helps support this amazing community of people. It will help walk you through my thought process from going from a big space to a tiny one as well as how my perspective shifted from spending time inside to more time outdoors.

I am so incredibly proud of my friends and all that they are doing to bring more awareness to living small. It is possible! And I love her honesty about what it is really like. Check out their blog, and Instagram to follow their inspirational journey.

Lake Twenty Two Hike

You guys summer in Washington is amazing. Like beyond my wildest dreams. Prettier than I could have imagined. It’s one thing to see pictures of beautiful places and a whole other thing to actually be there in person. And you know pictures can never fully do justice.

A few months ago we did this hike with our friends and we were only able to see up to the snow line because of all the fog. We had no idea we were missing SO much of the mountains. This time we went it was sunny and so clear.

One of our good friends Ryan from Chicago, came to visit us in early June (his first time in Seattle!) and we took him on this hike.

Here we are in front of the lake. And while this picture is nice, it really bothers me that people take pictures of our feet and the rock in front of us and not the majestic mountains behind us.

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It’s just so pretty. The greenery, the clear water, the sunshine, the snow all in June! Just everything.

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Greenland or Washington? 🙂

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Can you tell how happy we were? IMG_6715.JPG

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And this is just one of the many, many gorgeous hikes in Washington.We are fully taking advantage of living here and loving every minute.

Summer in Seattle 2016

I wasn’t sure how my blogging would change once we moved to Seattle last fall. (Can’t believe it’s almost been a year already!) But I basically went exploring and stopped blogging completely. But once you see what I’ve been up to, hopefully you’ll understand. I thought it’d be easiest if I just did a recap of my summer and go from there. This has been one of the busiest and best summers of my life. So much beautiful scenery and so many visitors.

June

On my Getting Out More Often post I mentioned that I had signed up for a yoga class at the Chihuly Glass Museum and it was so pretty. It was my first time to the museum and I can’t wait to go back.

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In early June one of our best friends from Chicago, Ryan came to town and we went on a gorgeous hike called Lake Twenty Two.

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I went to California two weekends in a row to visit my family and old roommates. IMG_6795.JPG

Gretchen, one of my good friends from home, who now lives in Seattle too, we went to my first Mariners game. And yes of course I wore my Chicago Cubs shirt! 😉

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July

We spent July 4th on a boat in South Lake Union with some of our best friends. We are beyond lucky to have so many good friends here.

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Kathleen and Greg drove through Seattle on a road trip and we all went to dinner together. It’s been years since we have all been in the same city.

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We went camping on Second Beach on the Western coast of Washington with our friends Kate and Hayes.

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We went to the lavender fields in Sequim, which smelled so good.

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Took Gretchen and Kristina camping for their first time ever at the beautiful Diablo Lake. Yes the water really is that color!

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August

My mom and sister came to visit for a few days and we did some sight seeing.

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Dave and I flew home to Chicago to surprise one of my best friends,  Melissa for her birthday. Vi and I spent the day being tourists in our own city and it was so much fun!

We hung out on the Chicago River near the Marina towers and it was a beautiful Chicago summer day. These are my people and I love them. Melissa and Vi are my 2 best friends and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that we were all together.

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One weekend we’re in the Chicago and the next weekend we were camping at Rainier National Park. Isn’t life grand?

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Another thing on my bucket list for the summer was to go to a Sounder game. It was my first professional soccer game and it was great! So much energy and so many enthusiastic fans.

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One of my favorite weekends of the entire summer was getting a cabin near Mount Baker. We played games, laughed so hard we cried, hiked, saw huge mountains and a beautiful lake with a side of pizza and bacon.

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September

This past Labor Day weekend we went to the East Coast in Maryland for our friends’ wedding. We used to live in Washington DC and Los Angeles at the same time as them.

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Dave and I drove down to DC for a few hours and visited our old apartment, and walked part of the National Mall. Can you tell how happy I was? 🙂 DC was the first place we moved outside of Chicago and it holds a lot of wonderful memories for us.

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Our life is full of friends, family, adventures, and travels and we couldn’t be happier and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

I want to try and start blogging again but my track record the last few months hasn’t really been too promising, so I won’t get ahead of myself. I’ll just do what I can.

Cable Line Hike

So once again I’ve fallen off on my blogging schedule. Between moving to Seattle last fall, house hunting, being in a new job (that doesn’t allow me to blog at work-oh the horror!;)) I’ve really struggled to keep a steady blogging schedule. I miss the community, comments and reading other people’s blogs. I keep telling myself that one of these days I will get it together but I don’t know when that day will come. Hah! For now I’m just going to do the best I can and hope that you’ll all bear with me.

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A few weeks back on Saturday March 19th, we went on a morning hike with some friends, the Cable Line Hike on Tiger Mountain. I believe it’s 2,000 feet of elevation, mostly straight up, with no switchbacks. It’s a workout to say the least. I’m definitely not in marathon running shape anymore these days, but I took more breaks than I thought I would. It’s a real leg burner.

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You can kind of tell in this picture how steep it was at times.

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Here we are at the top of the hike. There wasn’t much of a view, but it was nice to have gotten through the hard part. Our friend Hayes, surprised us all and brought us each a donut that we had at the top. Was it a little counter intuitive?  Yea maybe, but was it delicious? Yes! If he told us earlier in the hike we probably would have gone up  lot faster 😉 But what a (literally) sweet and thoughtful gesture. Hey, whatever it takes to finish a hike right? IMG_5216[1].JPG

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Dave and I have been trying to do Saturday morning hikes. It may not always be easy to get out of bed, but we are always so happy that that we force ourselves to do these hikes (there are SO many here in Washington) and get out and get some exercise. It’s especially awesome when I get my 10,000 steps in before noon, makes me feel so accomplished!

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

Back in November a friend from back home came to visit and we spent some time in Seattle and Sequim where his parents now live. It was fun to get to see other parts of the state so soon after moving in October. We drove to Olympic National Park at Hurricane Ridge and walked around and played in the snow. IMG_3387.JPG

Love this picture of the windows and the majestic mountains. IMG_3388IMG_3389IMG_3400

We just had on our gym shoes so we didn’t walk far in the snow but it was nice to get out and stretch our feet a little. IMG_3403

Our friends got married in Olympic National Park in the fall, and it was fun to see it in the winter. Now that we live in the state we look forward to spending more time here and at the other national park in the state: Rainier! Washington state is pretty great ya’ll 😉

Cross Country Skiing to Maroon Bells

Back in January 2015 we drove home to Chicago from California for the holidays. On our way back out West, we stopped in Colorado and visited one of our favorites places, Maroon Bells in Aspen. It had been years since we last visited for the first time, back in 2012 or 2013 on one of our road trips.

So we were really excited to go back and visit in a different season. We asked around how we could get in to see the mountains and they said either through snowmobile (which was not cheap to rent) or cross country skiing. We are both snowboarders so this was our first time cross country skiing. It was a great workout and took quite a while for us to get to the mountain. We started early in the morning and finished by mid afternoon. IMG_5418

It was gorgeous and sunny out and we couldn’t ask for better weather. IMG_5416

We brought snacks and had little picnics when we got hungry. The mountain didn’t seem that far but it was a couple of miles. We kept saying, “we’re almost there, we’re almost there.”

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It was absolutely beautiful to see the mountain covered with snow. I love how harsh the lines on the mountain are.

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The last time we were here it was cloudy and drizzling and we could barely see the mountain.

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Had to get in our jumping pic. IMG_5467

We decided to walk down to get closer to the mountain and had to trudge through some pretty deep snow. IMG_5483IMG_5494-2IMG_5495-2

Oh Maroon Bells, we love you. IMG_5485

Vancouver for the day

So back in December I got my passport renewed and I wanted to go Vancouver just for the day. It was a last minute trip so we didn’t spend the night or have any major plans. I just wanted to use my newly minted passport.

It’s about a 3 hour drive from Seattle to Vancouver. Back when we lived in Illinois, 3 hours would take us to Indiana, Iowa, etc. Nothing against those states (I grew up in the Midwest and it will always be home) but they’re certainly not as exciting as Vancouver.

After crossing the border we drove to Stanley Park and walked around. It was a cloudy and misting a little but people were still out and about. It was a pretty view of the skyline. I can only imagine how busy it would be in the spring and summer.

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In Washington and Vancouver I see a bunch of totem poles so we did some reading up on them.

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Afterwards we drove to Granville Island and checked out their Public Market. Gotta see what Pike’s Place is up against. 😉

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Before we left Vancouver, we ate a seafood restaurant which was in walking distance of the market. It was a short slice of Vancouver and I can’t wait to go back when it’s nicer out. Actually for our anniversary I bought us tickets to see the Chicago Blackhawks play against the Vancouver Canucks later this month so hopefully we will get to see more then. It’ll just be a quick weekend trip but we can’t wait.