December 29, 2016
As soon as this idea came into me, it felt as though I was born with it. Every part of it came as a resounding "yes" in my body. It was logical and it was practical, yet it aligned with my spirit with a dream world like magic. I felt rooted in it, I felt intuition in it. I suppose that is why it didn't sound far fetched or impossible to me when I spoke out loud that I planned to buy a school bus to convert into a bio fueled tiny house and apothecary. One that I could travel with on a plant guided journey, furthering my education in medicinal plants and ecological restoration while continuing my work with my wild crafted apothecary.
Never mind I didn't know whole lot about mechanics or carpentry. Never mind I would be traveling solo. Never mind I knew this journey would change and transform me. Try as I might to muster the fear I thought I should feel, it didn't come. What echoed back again and again was that resounding "yes."
And as I began to speak it more and more into life, those around me reacted as one might expect. Some ignored me, some applauded me, and some just simply didn't understand it.
Was there a certificate of some kind involved? No. Was this a way to make more money? No. But regardless, those closest to me knew to listen to what I said because as a mentor once told me, "I don't play," meaning if I said it, then I meant it. And the more questions people asked, they found I was already thinking about them. I could no longer look at a school bus in the same way. How many times a day did they pass me? It seemed countless now and when they crossed my path I would be mentally gutting the inside, configuring a composting toilet, adding solar panels, planning storage, visualizing where the battery packs would go and so forth.
I attended tiny house gatherings and soon enough people were stepping forward and offering their advice and expertise on different areas of the project. Some people with experienced skill sets offered to help me with the work, excited to be a part of it. The bones of this thing was coming together but two crucial parts were missing, the funding and the bus itself.
After spending weeks prowling the Internet and want ads, gauging prices and conditions, I decided to ask for exactly what I wanted and see what fate had in store. I posted an ad on Craigslist with my request down to the type of bus, price range, condition, and exactly why I wanted it. I even added that I didn't have the money for it but was looking for someone to work with me while I raised the funds. I wasn't holding back anything, I just put it all out there. I submitted the post and closed my eyes.
I visualized an International bus sitting upon a large green fresh cut lawn with blue skies above. The image came so readily, I allowed it to sit there for a bit before opening my eyes. One hour later, I received a response complete with images of the exact bus I had pictured, sitting upon a bright green fresh cut lawn with blue skies. A man explained that he had a bus he wanted to sell but thought to go online minutes after I posted to see if anyone was looking for one and found me.
I went to visit and test drive this bus. Not only was it everything I had described and was in terrific shape, but this man believed in my cause and agreed to hold it while I got the funding. I got another encouraging nudge forward.
My next step was to start a fundraiser. Little did I know that this is where I would hit my first bump in the road. As soon as I began to organize and ask the general public for money, I felt overwhelmed with the prospect of it. Asking for this kind of direct help was so challenging because I brought all my own personal baggage into it. I grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet. A family that worked themselves to exhaustion to pay the bills and here I was asking for folks hard earned money to fuel my dream.
All the negative and self doubting thoughts crept into my mind. A decade ago I left a conventional life to pursue one more rooted in the earth. I worked hard on various organic farms and I worked using wild plants as food and medicine. I started my own apothecary and served my local community through farmers markets. My way of living was modest to say the least, but it suited me well and gave me the highest fulfillment. I was proud of myself for living such a fruitful life full of whole food, community, and earth centered skills on very little money.
But here this money came up full circle and so did all of my issues with it; my parents struggles, our country's struggles, and even the world's struggles. I felt crippled with all this weight I'd put on myself until after seeking advice, I found what I needed to hear. I was told that this was an energetic exchange. People would want to give to see something they believe in succeed. To deny this of someone is to deny them the gift of giving, one of the greatest gifts there is.
The more I thought of this the more it felt like the encouragement of hundreds of people, supporting an earth centered mission, supporting the learning of ancient wisdom, supporting the skills needed to heal this planet and it's lands. Supporting me. So now, for every five dollars I receive, I well up in happiness and pride and even more determination to see this through because that person believes I can.
Here I am. I want to transform this tiny space into my first owned home, my only home, one that leaves a light footprint and is easy to manage, to continue learning from the land, it animals, it's plants, it's people. To live in a bio-fueled tiny house with solar electricity and a filtered rainwater catch system that is heated with wood.
I will map out a two-year journey focused on ecological and sustainable knowledge and skills to travel to and continue learning from other herbalists, land stewards, visionaries, and wildlife protectors. I will delve in deeper, gaining more perspective, experience, knowledge and skills. I feel all knowledge gained is meant to be handed down which is why I teach even as I learn. After all, we will all always be teaching as we are learning, such is the beauty of life.
What I intend to do with all these experiences is yet to be decided, I have many inclinations, but I know I want to write the whole journey down, lessons and all, to publish a travelogue at it's end. To anyone who has ever dreamed up something bigger than themselves, bigger than they even know, I want you to know you are capable. Do not fear what you don't know, you will learn it and you will find it on the way. And people will always hold space for you to do so, all you need is to ask and believe in it.
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My name is Alan—founder at Dream Big Live Tiny Co! A few years ago, I quit my consulting job to pursue a life full of adventure. After traveling around the world for a year, I sold most of my stuff and moved into an 160-sqft tiny house. Now I spend most of my time showcasing incredible people living with less in pursuit of more freedom, as well as incredible tiny houses around the world!
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