Time to… Design Tiny

Ever since I was a child, I always thought that I would design and build my own house. Well, the time has come. Unexpected changes in our circumstances have meant that Mary-Ann and I are without a home, without fixed-employment, and not really tied to any location. Reluctant to settle into a 9-to-5 / rental existence, and keen to look for new horizons, we are contemplating experimenting with a semi-nomadic lifestyle. We know though that having a small place of our own would be desirable.

With very little capital, low mortgage-worthiness, and no land, our options are severely constrained. But this has not stopped us dreaming and researching. We have never been very materialistic and are attracted by simple, small and soulful designs, and this has led us to the world of tiny houses. Could we design and build our own on a shoestring? As we are between two chapters of our lives, we do not yet know where our search for community and meaningful occupation will take us. What is clear is that our future is unpredictable and will require flexibility.

A tiny house on wheels is what we need. With no mortgage or rent, it would allow us to be more mobile, join like-minded people and open up opportunities. Such a home would offer us more freedom. Living simply would free us to pursue our life passions and focus on what matters most for ‘planet and people’. Living in a tiny home requires less energy, limits the accumulation of materialistic items and brings awareness to responsible environmental sourcing. All in all, it lowers one’s ecological footprint.

Designing and building our own tiny home would be an opportunity to promote more modest and environmentally responsible lifestyles. Barely ten-years-old, the tiny house movement is still in its infancy, and it would seem that it is not as developed in Europe as it is in the United States. Given that I have a background in architecture and sustainability, we could create a low-impact ecological design worth sharing. In fact, we are seriously considering documenting the design and building process to communicate the lessons we learn and benefit others who are ready to take the plunge.

The time for designing our tiny house is now. Even though we do not know what our next move is going to be, nothing is stopping us from getting more familiar with the world of tiny houses and take the tiny step of starting.

Photo by Daniel McCullough

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Mind The Gap

The gap we should all mind is the gap that’s in the mind. We can imagine intricate things, use beautiful words, commit to ambitious goals and have mighty plans to transform the world, but what really matters is who we are at the core and what we actually end up doing. Our behaviors and actions say so much more than the ideals we project and cling to so dearly.

In the material world, in the field of design for example, imagining a potential solution that does not exist, is beneficial. But this ability of our mind to dream up something that does not exist is often misused in other area of our lives. It is especially problematic in the psychological realm and in relationships. There is nothing wrong with our faculty to picture an alternative reality, the problem is that we often get it confused with the actual and the factual.

Planning, goal setting, promising, pretending, plays an important role in shaping our existence, but it is also the source of much friction. Ideation intrinsically creates conflict; A conflict between reality and the imaginary. By constantly wanting to be and do something else from what we do and how we show up in the world, we instill a chronic dissatisfaction. We end up being neither here nor there. The danger is that we may spend so much of our time in the virtual that we stop understanding what is in front of us – the real.

This series of posts are part of Incrementally – a 366 day writing challenge.

Photo by Suad Kamardeen

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