In 2019, my husband and I planned to move on from our brick house in the city of Denver, CO. We searched for a quaint little apartment in the historic and cultured areas of the city, hoping to acquaint ourselves better with city life and find a community we so desired. I wanted to live more simply after taking on a 2 bedroom house with a basement we rented out on Airbnb. I was feeling like there were endless tasks to be done. Sometimes it seemed I could barely leave the house, trying to prepare the space for new guests on almost a nightly basis and making myself available to our travelers. It was exhausting, but I told myself that the large backyard and the proximity to all our favorite bars, restaurants and the like made it worth the while.
But when we decided to leave that home, we had no choice but to downsize, as Denver's rental rates were swiftly making their way up the ladder. We had left California because of the relentless cost of living, and Colorado seemingly was following in its footsteps. So naturally we toured 300-400 square foot apartments, and made our way to more desirable and trendy neighborhoods to balance out the payout. The further we got on our journey of establishing a new lease, the more we questioned what was leading us to these decisions. Our reasoning felt cloudy and uncertain. It felt as though we were trying to develop happiness but had no idea if we were going to reap the rewards. It was a shot in the dark so to speak.
The more we discussed and questioned our way of living, the clearer it became that we wanted something a bit more unconventional.
If we were going to commit ourselves to a small space with our three pets, we wanted to focus our energy on building a sustainable life. One we weren't continually trying to run away from.
We wanted more time outside in nature. After all, thats the largest living space we could utilize. We wanted less bills, less responsibility, less waste and more freedom. And so the notion of tiny house living came to the forefront of our search.
It was a huge undertaking to reimagine our current life and how it could exist and flourish in such an alternative dwelling. We had no idea how it would work and where we would start, but we put our notice in at our current home and gave ourselves a mere thirty days to figure it out. That's how I've always seemed to operate when making grand scale choices in my life. For my husband, it was a bit of a stretch. But little by little, things began to come together. The process began to show itself and the path appeared one brick and a time.
In a months time, we found a family who would welcome us onto their land amidst the Rockies as we started to piece together the puzzle of building our own home. Buying seemed out of our budget, and building gave us the opportunity to make it exactly how we imagined it. We needed a temporary dwelling in order to save money while building, so we purchased a 1988 Hallmark Camper on first sight. With two weeks to rip out everything that was seemingly useless to us, and instill a small amount of comforts to the space, we were moved in and on our way out of that large house in the city.
We ordered a trailer to serve as our foundation, got to work leveling the soil on which to break ground, and began sourcing our materials and design features. It was the first time we had felt in control of what we were creating. In control of our time. Although it was a relentless process pairing down our things, the more we had to transport to the mountains, the more I saw that I wanted to let go. I was no stranger to moving, to uprooting myself. The first 20 years of my life had been focused on traveling and being malleable amidst training as a ballerina and I prided myself on being more nomadic than stationary as a young adult. But this was different. The things really felt as though they were holding me back. Encapsulating my time, my energy, my focus.
As the air began to chill, the wildflowers and grass began to die, and the first signs of winter began to approach, we knew we had to decide what to do. Whether we pushed through the build at an unmanageable pace to tough out the storms that we knew would come or to pick up and leave for warmer territory while leaving our home behind. It was a difficult choice to make, but we knew we weren't ready for what was to come. Our old camper trailer became a solace for us as we had the ability to take off with our home in tow and head west in search of warmer weather. It was such a gift to have this option. My husband and I began to see our lives, our worlds, in a different light as we quickly became accustomed to life on the road. In all honesty, we fell in love with the idea of complete and utter adaptability. The sense that we could stay as long as we wanted or flee at a moments notice. The worldwide pandemic began while we were living in this way, and it proved to be even more of a gift as we lived without the fear of being evicted from our home and had the chance to travel freely.
Although we ultimately returned to our home in progress as the frost melted and we completed our build and moved in, the notion of traveling light never left us. It brought to light the ease and necessity of being adaptable, being able to redirect course and reestablish home as essential. We are but mere travelers on this earth and the more we cling to what is not ours, the more we collect and stow away for security, the more we loose sight of our own true calling. The innate desire, or rather the need to be flexible. To welcome change as the building blocks of our character. To allow the winds to guide us gently (and sometimes not so gently) towards our own authentic path. Because we don't always know what we want. I'd even go as far as saying most of us never truly figure it out or do only after wasting away enough of our lives tirelessly searching for it. But traveling light gives us the ability to flow freely towards our true north. To course correct as needed and to not be jarred when doing so. It's a mindset that I can never unlearn and couldn't imagine overlooking.
Traveling light has enabled my life to take shape however it shall please.
And even as we begin to settle in a new place once again, our minds and our hearts move with much more ease towards the things that hold true value. Our space has become a sanctuary as opposed to a burden. Our time has become more present. Our needs have become less. And so I encourage anyone in a place of curiosity to take a leap in some small way towards lightening your load on this journey. Your spirit will thank you for it.