BEHIND THE SCREEN WITH INTERNET PEOPLE: TINY HOUSE TINY FOOTPRINT FOUNDER KATHLEEN
We could not have been more excited when Kathleen, curator of Tiny House Tiny Footprint, agreed to share her story with us folks. We wanted to know what life is like living out of a camper, traveling around in a van, manifesting big dreams and connecting with other likeminded rebels.
Read on to find out where they got their start, what they're up to at the moment and how they met their van, Right Lane Rhino!
Can you share some background on Tiny House, Tiny Footprint and what sparked the idea?
The tiny house part of our name started two years ago. My boyfriend, Greg, and I were living in an apartment in the city, but our lease was starting to come to an end. Greg had lived in a van in New Zealand a few years back so he started talking about that idea. When we realized that our version of 'home' could change, that opened up a lot of possibilities. We started researching vans and other tiny spaces. We were still working full-time jobs so the van idea didn't work so well for us. We wanted it to be a size that could accommodate everyday life and a long-term home. But we also knew we didn't need as much space as an average house. We found a camper (140 sq. ft.) on Craigslist and for the past two years, we have lived in it with our dog Blaize. It is our dream home.
The tiny footprint part of our name came with owning a tiny house but also with our philosophy of permaculture and the spiritual practice of connecting with nature. In our camper, we live (for the most part) off the grid. We have a composting toilet and limit our use of water, propane and electricity. When you live small, you are much more conscious of what you own and how you use it. You are also more aware of your surroundings. You hear more through your thin walls. You see more out of wider windows. A connection to nature is much greater when you're spending more of your time outdoors. We like to go backpacking for several days to fully experience this even more.
Tell us about your book!
I have spent the last six months working on a hardcover book that chronicles my life living in a camper trailer. It's called Roll with Kathleen, Greg & Blaize in a Camper Trailer. All of my blog posts start with "roll with" because we all live mobile. But on my blog, I haven't gone into much detail about our personal journey. I wanted to give something back to this amazing community. This book will give people an insider look at what I went through, the struggles but also the amazing moments. It's also an illustrated book, so children can get curious about this lifestyle and shift their perspective of what defines their future home. Support our project so we can continue to share amazing stories in our community.
How did you cultivate such a wholehearted community?
This community has helped shape the person I am today. Without their support, it would be more of a challenge to live this way. They have inspired us and because of this, we wanted to give back to this community. I started sharing stories of tiny dwellers on my blog more than a year ago as a way to answer questions about this lifestyle and inspire others to try it out. Little did I know that I would feel a bond with every person I interview. It's been amazing to have this network of like-minded people. There's an energy in all of us to change the world and leave it a better place. I am looking forward to more gatherings and meet ups. I always walk away energized.
What role has technology played in shaping and sustaining Tiny House, Tiny Footprint?
It still amazes me that an app like Instagram can be a powerful connector. All of us tiny dwellers like to be on the road, but Instagram has provided us a cyber highway now. It's easy to see where people are in their travels and meet up with them if they're nearby. I use Instagram as a way to tell my story as well as other people. I want my followers to see a photo or my words and feel something. If my storytelling can make a difference to one person of if it can send some positive energy to someone haven't a bad day, then it's doing exactly what it's meant to do.
Ok we have to ask - what's life like living in a tiny house?
Once I got through my internal battles with society's expectations and my own reservations, it became a beautiful journey. It feels like camping everyday. It feels good to know that I don't need more than what's in this space. When you have less, you have more room to focus on what truly matters. Home quickly becomes relative. Home can be a tent under the stars or the back of a car. Home can be whatever we need it to be as long as it has a place to rest our heads. It's a freeing feeling knowing all of this. Less is more.
Can you tell us a little more about your van?
Oh yes! The van. The first year we lived in the camper, we lived in a family's backyard. When we left their land, they gave us (as a gift) their van. They told us it needed some work, but we wanted to save it from the junk van.
We call her Right Lane Rhino. She's a 1987 Toyota van with a lot of character. We like to take frontage roads as to not overwhelm her. We like traveling with her and plan in the future to use her as our full-time adventure mobile. We have some work to do to build out our van, but after that, we will leave our camper for longer periods of time and live on the road.