Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience. - Paul Coelho

I love road trips for countless reasons; this time, venturing from the forest, sitting comfortably in my TDI, taking in the open road, my memory triggers and a rush of feeling free and alive overcomes me. I smile, with little responsibility, my mind focuses on enjoying each mile of the trip. Scenery, silence, internal dialogs, jam sessions, podcasts, photo ops, and audiobooks all play a part when I'm road trippin'. The cooler sits as my passenger, filled with all the crucial snacks and drinks necessary for a comfortable ride.  On second thought, "snacks" should be included in that list I just streamed off, as they are such a vital part of my trips. It's one of my favorite parts, it's like getting snacks before going to the movies, (but you don't have to smuggle them in). 

JULY 2014 // TRIP 1 OF 3 - ASHEVILLE, NC // TUMBLEWEED TINY HOUSE WORKSHOP

I knew Asheville was a beautiful place to visit. It was the new experience of having the opportunity to be face-to-face with a few of the the more knowledgeable people in the Tiny House “loop”, instead of through a computer screen, that really had me fired up -  yup, I was ready for it. And to add to the trip, I planned to visit my Mom, which had me with mixed emotions given our rocky past; but with all the excitement, I didn’t worry about it too much.

After countless hours invested in YouTube videos, blogs and podcasts, I was beyond anxious to finally get in front of a live group of people and get a feel for the community that surrounds the Tiny House movement.  I had so many questions I wanted to ask, curious to understand if my visions for my dream house were realistic, which of course, got me thinking.


remembering college years

It took me right back to York, a time I have such fond memories of. Being singled out by my professor for all the questions I was asking, she appreciated and praised my curiosity and inquisitive instinct.  She knew I was fired up, and that felt good, because it made others start to think.  It’s a moment I think about a lot when I start something new.

I can specifically remember standing in the back of the group, on the tips of my toes, waiting in agony, for the design Professor to spew out the details to our next project.  That is pure excitement and passion; my mind was ready to analyze, fly through initial ideas, possibilities, and mentally plan for any research and development I knew I'd be doing.  I always wished I had a pencil and paper during those times to capture my minds workings.

questions, anyone?

I most always had questions. Curiosities to fully understand what the Professor wanted, or to clarify any part of the project I may not have grasped fully. And when I knew others were anxious to get out of class, I held my questions until after, so I never felt rushed.

Most respected my questions, which fed conversation. I've realized a lot of my fearless strive comes from the pure passionate energy I have for life, learning, understanding who I am and what I'm here for, and working hard to test what I can do, and I understand not everyone shares in that all the time, for whatever reason. We are all here for a reason, and finding things you are passionate about is your first indication you are on the right track.   

"you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want". - zig ziglar

We aren't expected to know everything, and having a support system allows us to grasp a hold of ourselves and reality. To breathe a little easier knowing there are people here to help us along our way .  We aren't alone on this adventure, and opening our mind and hearts to new opportunities will open doors. Letting ourselves utilize our strengths to help others is a rewarding experience, one that comes natural to most. As simple as helping an out-of-towner find their way around, situations arise constantly, sometimes they are hard to see if you aren't aware, but they are there. I challenge you to help someone today, even if it means going out of your way to do so!

GET USED TO ASKING QUESTIONS

After college, I realized how often asking questions became a recurring practice. As a graphic designer, playing "Sherlock Holmes" inevitably became a part of my job description; With new projects, indescript discussions of what people wanted, it was a struggle.  But asking questions was how I got through it. 

"Everyone grew up in a different house".

When someone tells you something that doesn't make sense to you, remember this quote, and don't hesitate to ask clarifying questions and get to the core of what they really are trying to say.

That quote says so much to me, and I find so many life situations arise that trigger me to remember this wisdom.  We all learn things differently, have different personalities, and absorb information differently. Even within our own house, sometimes. I know my brother and I are very different, and more times than not, I find it hard to believe we grew up under the same roof, but Lord knows we did.

tangent alert, tangent alert!

Wow, ok, I guess one thing you should get to know about me is that I like to go off on tangents.  I'd like to think most of my rants serve a purpose and are a benefit more than a boredom, but who knows. Work with me and try to understand that’s the way I work. You never know where my mind will wander, but I always find my way back to the path.  Now, back to the Tiny House Workshop.


LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

I arrived early, and the woman checking everyone in could tell this wasn’t my first rodeo.  Others were frantic with questions and confusions, so she graciously handed me my packets and refocused her attention on the first timers. Setting up my little station with a notebook, pen, highlighter, flags and a few pen colors in case I needed to point something out to remember later, I was set, and the people around me took notice.  

"With organization comes empowerment" - Lynda Peterson

Yea, I’m that girl.  The one who is organized, ok, overly organized, fully prepared to get as much out of an opportunity as possible. Plus, I love being organized, look, I can’t say it enough.  The feeling it brings me, and most importantly, brings over me, is one of bliss, calmness, and  of having a grasp on myself and what I’m working towards at the moment. It's a habit I'm proud to have, and have no fear it will get me far in life. I encourage everyone to practice organization.

tumbleweed 2-day tiny house workshop

As introductions began, I was amazed by the spectrum of individuals who attended; The conference room held everyone from retired and nearing retired couples, baby boomers who are anxiously ready to get out of the rat race, and a handful of Gen. X & Y’s who wanted to avoid having to set foot in it.  

Despite our generational gaps, it was clear we all shared a mindset of living more with less.  A common understanding that we don’t need a lot to live happily and that life should be made up of experiences, not things.  Getting caught up in the “rat race” was something we all wanted to either get out of or avoid altogether.

Art was our main instructor, who created his Tiny House with SIP (structurally insulated panels), a technique I'm going to use to build, instead of typical 2x4 construction.

want to learn more?

There are plenty of learning opportunities, for more about Art and the Tumbleweed company, click hereGuillaume from "Tiny House, Giant Journey" and a few other special guests also made an appearance and shared some great stories. Laura and Matt from "Life in 120 Square Feet" also stopped by to talk to us, and to hear their process and techniques were valuable. 

With all the time and research I already put in, what I learned and took away wasn’t anything too revolutionary; my main goal was to make connections and make myself known in the Tiny House community.  Putting my name, face, and energy in the mix was key for me, since it's a pretty small still.  I’m grateful for the new connections and conversations created and to be taking away some great reference material to add to my already growing collection of research and development.

early adopter

One observations I found very interesting was the amount of people who attended the seminar that were still in the concept stage, very few that were ready to build or in the process of building.  It was evident we are still in the “early adopters” phase of this movement.  People love the idea, and want to learn how they can make it happen for themselves.  Being a designer, self-motivated and prepared to start the process of this grand milestone of creating my own space, I was well on my way, but still a long ways off.  I was already well into the design phase and had experimented with making a scale model at the house.  And for me, I knew I had the two week Design/Build class at Yestermorrow the following month, so making sure I was prepared was a top priority.  


Greenville, South Carolina

As I had mentioned earlier, I also took the opportunity to spend a couple days with my mom, who lives just south of Asheville, and not too far out of my way.  We explored her town and spent some quality time together.  We had our challenging moments, but we also had comforting ones, those that a mother/daughter should experience.  All-in-all, it was a nice visit. A baby step to finding a common ground, we have had our ups and downs since my parents divorced when I was in college. We have been trying to mend a broken relationship ever since.

 Gotcha'

Gotcha'

hidden mice adventure

Exploring Greenville together, my mom informed me there were brass mice all over the town.  That's all I needed to hear before my feelers were out, and I was on the search for the “hidden mice” that scattered the streets. I was beginning to lose hope as our walk was ending, but I finally found one, and was so excited, I couldn’t help getting a picture like a tourist of my find. 

liberty bridge

So much history, and on such a beautiful day, my mom was thrilled to have me around to show off her new town. We were ending our day with a "grinder" hoagie, which cannot be found on the west coast.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find the store that sold them, and I was out of luck. For a foodie, it's a sad time.


NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

On my way back home, I made a stop in Norfolk to visit a friend I met back in San Diego. Quality time with a familiar friend, pool parties, bbq’s, and an O.A.R concert, it was just what the doctor ordered after leaving all my friends in San Diego for a life of seclusion in central PA.

 Norfolk, VA // 4th of July 

Norfolk, VA // 4th of July 

richmond, virginia

It was also an excuse to visit my cousin in Richmond, Elliot. I love connecting and learning about my family, and having them know me just the same. And after such a long time apart, it’s a beautiful experience to see someone for who they are after having personal conversations with them.  It fascinates me more than I have the ability to comprehend. I am so grateful to have had taken the time to meet up with him while I was passing through, it created a bond that keeps us strong and connected more than I ever thought was possible.


Dan & Mandy "#dandy" Wedding // Cancun, Mexico

A bit off topic, but a worthy mention given the timing of this was shortly after my Asheville trip.  Growing up, I was fortunate to have two best friends that lived within earshot of each other.  Of the three, Mandy was the first to marry, and Jenn and I couldn’t have been more excited to make the trip and be a part of her bridal party.

A trip down memory lane...

So many fond memories growing up with both of these ladies. We all were in the same school system, and Mandy’s house was my “home away from home”.  A place I felt a freedom to play recklessly and be spoiled by her wonderful families array of colorful conversations, mouth watering recipes, sheet forts and singing parties till all hours.  

I appreciated this because my house was never the place to be; knowing their house was always open to me was a blessing. And for one week, each summer, Jenn and I would make the trip to Long Beach Island, NJ to stay at her parent’s beach house they always rented. I feel so grateful to have so many happy recollections from those years. I could spend an entire post telling stories of those summers.

 Mandy, Jenn and I // Long Beach Island, NJ

Mandy, Jenn and I // Long Beach Island, NJ

But those lazy summer days were long gone; Time flew, we graduated, found our place and full-time jobs, and the adult responsibilities started pouring in.  I found my place in San Diego, Mandy finally made it to Florida after the years of talking about it, and I convinced Jenn to follow me to SD after she was looking for a change of pace from Philadelphia.

 Dan & Mandy // Cancun, Mexico

Dan & Mandy // Cancun, Mexico

FIRST COMES LOVE

Jenn and I always knew Mandy would be the first to marry.  She never had a problem finding men to swoon over her, and I can recall hearing about the ups and downs of her relationships through the years, living vicariously through them. After hearing the news of her engagement and decision to do a destination wedding, it hit us -  we are growing up, and fast!

then comes marriage //

CANCUN, MEXICO

july 11, 2014

The wedding was fantastic, and it was great to reunite with Mandy, Dan, and all her family and friends, plenty of which we knew from growing up together. The fact that we could all get together for her big day in Cancun was spectacular, and the memories we take from those days in paradise will last a lifetime.

Cancun was a first for me, and rooming with Jenn would be a highlight. It’s in those moments, we inevitably find ourselves as kids again; in our own world, no sense of time, speaking our own language, laughing uncontrollably, an energy so powerful it requires some sensitivity when around others.

20140711_181329.jpg

Growing up with Jenn, our relationship developed mainly through sports.  Leagues, tournaments, daily practices for whatever season we were in, be it soccer, basketball, softball or track and field, our bond grew infinitely, and to find that person in a lifetime is a true gift.  

Like a soul mate, it’s a person who knows and understands you better than your know yourself sometimes, and that person you can tell anything to, with no hesitation of judgement.

BACK TO THE FOREST

With so many trips so close together, it's amazing how much I missed and found myself soaking up the forest and simple life before heading out again on my next adventure. I'm starting to realize how much of both an introvert and extrovert I am.  I love and appreciate the magic both bring.

oh, the anticipation!

The pinnacle trip to Vermont was just around the corner, and there was so much anticipation, preparations to be made for two weeks away, and I thrived on having everything I could to make the experience as memorable as possible.

My next post about Yestermorrow is one you will not want to miss, I promise you.