The journey has begun; even before I shift an inch from my current abode. Mentally, I have already swooped down upon the sunny island of St Croix, to dig and build, to grow and cook, and to seek the harmony of a small, simple, sustainable life. Already, layers of sketches cover every available surface of my Baltimore apartment; sketches of tiny house plans, of construction details, scribbled notes of natural, sustainable building techniques, diagrams of sun and wind direction, calculations of weight-per-square-foot, and ponderings of just how small of a bathroom is acceptable.
There are over two months left, before I leave this city; Baltimore, who once charmed me with her graceful, historic facades, and her understanding, weather-beaten sigh. Whom I shall miss, on the warm foggy mornings, when she bears the gentle scent of woodsmoke on her moist breath, and on those cold clear days, after a heavy snow, when she is so silent, sleeping, peaceful at last. Baltimore, whom I shall not miss when she turns to filth in the putrid summer heat, when needles lie, used, in the alley; when their users curse you down the street for refusing to support their wretched life, of addiction. Of city streets. Of city beats. Of wretched misery in a debt-ridden, down-trodden world of cement and plastic and questionably edible substances from plastic bags, plastic boxes, plastic, plastic, plastic. They never see the earth. They never see fragile plants, cautiously emerging into this world, taking root and becoming bountiful nourishment. They never see the stars, lighting up a clear night sky. Most of all, though, they never see a way out; they are trapped. Trapped in this world of corporations and below-poverty-line minimum wage, this world where to live is to be in debt.
Baltimore, then, I have to thank for inspiring me to take a different path, one not of college degrees and making millions, but of a simple way of living. Having grown up aboard sailboats, the idea of the Tiny House is not new to me; it holds no terror of downsizing my life, or of having my style cramped by the confines of four walls. Or one wall, if my plan of an oval-shaped dwelling is realized. A small space is efficient, compact, and maintains a sense of simplicity. Environmentally, it requires few materials, little energy, and has minimal effect on its surroundings. Spiritually, I believe that less is more; that a simple lifestyle, closer to nature, brings more peace, more time for contemplation, and more time and energy to simply be happy. Building a tiny house, mainly from the land and found, foraged, or free materials, will be an adventure in and of itself; hopefully a project in which I, and anyone who may be involved along the way, will learn, teach, and absorb skills and knowledge related to inexpensive, sustainable construction of very small, compact dwellings. Learning and building, working with friends and family as a community effort is always a rewarding, fulfilling experience, and is something that most first-world communities lack the opportunity of doing as a constructive enterprise. I do believe that it is time for that to change.
Here, I shall be sharing my steps along this path; from the first stages of the design process of a tiny house, to the actual construction and habitation thereof, plus life along the way. This shall, of course, include many mouth-watering photos of food, as I perfect my sourdough bread techniques in preparation for an outdoor bread oven, and as the bounty of the land overflows into my kitchen. That’s the pretty way of mentioning that I can’t resist cooking (and then photographing) amazing, beautiful dishes and meals. Food porn aside; other than being that crazy woman who lives in a tiny hut in the forest and is amusing to watch, I really do hope to provide inspiration to others who may wish to pursue a similarly minimalist lifestyle, and to help them to find a way to do so, reasonably. By which I mean, without having to become bearded, unwashed hippies smoking pot and living in a leaky-roofed commune. Well, ok, that’s just how I imagined such a lifestyle to be, back in the day.
Cheers, for now.
Thanks for stopping by! Please feel free to participate in the “comments”: share your experiences of living small, ask me a question, link to useful resources or interesting ideas, or just cheer me on!
Can’t wait to keep up with you via the blog!
Thanks! I shall still be keeping up with your archives posts from afar!
Loving each and every word, Merryn! Will be grand to accompany you! Warmest regards, Patty Childs, friend of your mother’s from Florida…
Thank you, Patty! Great to hear from you.
Good day. I started that journey in St. Croix seven years ago, moving from Atlanta, and have manifest what you are manifesting. I became Rasta dreadlocks and all (will be 52 in a few days), growing my own food, with a Rasta partner who can do anything, can fix anything, can grow food like no other (he is from St. Lucia). Living in a local hardwood cottage in the rainforest on two acres, but I would live in a tiny shanty with no electricity in order to continue this life of creation. Making my bush teas, my medicines. Living with no cell phone, no home computer (my boss provides a working one), no i-pads. Just pure Jah love. We are hippies. We smoke pot (we use this natural herb given to us by Gaia as the beautiful gift it was intended to be). We don’t watch tv. We talk, we dance, we sing. We wake up with the roosters. We bathe. We work hard. We are of service to others in every way we can be. We love the children. We spread love and health everywhere we go. As my partner and I say, “invention keeps man sitting on his butt, creation keeps man moving.” Think about that one for a minute. Think about how invention has put man on his butt instead of using his strong back and hands to do his work, and then now see the effects to our health, both physical and mental, because of living this unnatural way of life. The body always knows. The heart always knows, and will remember in the end. I wish you well on your new journey. You are on the path, and for that I am grateful. We are all waking up. And it is glorious.
Hi Pamela, thank you for getting in touch! I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only person trying to pursue such a lifestyle on St Croix. I do hope that you’ll keep an eye on my blog and share any useful insights you might have along the way; I’m sure that you’ve learned many things over your last seven years.