For the past couple of years, off-grid living and tiny house living has been so appealing to me. I see it as a powerful stance against our consumerist and materialistic society by taking the power in our hands and choosing to align ourselves with lifestyles that align with our morals and values. Sure, it seems to be a huge “counter-culture” movement or “alternative living,” but I see much deeper value in the movement than that… Our experience off-grid in a yurt during the winter really allowed me to dive into the beauty of what it’s truly like to live simply.
One of my close friends Emilie and I decided to take a road trip out to Idaho to revisit her Grandmother, Momo. Momo moved out to Idaho about 10 years ago when she decided she wanted to live a life that was simple, wholesome, joyful, and connected to Nature. After seeing her son living in a yurt in Idaho, she wanted to manifest the same situation into her life. I will say that after spending these few days with her, I have only heard about how incredibly enjoyable her life is and she basks in every second of it.
Upon arriving, Emilie and I were walking through the snow where we remembered her driveway being before the snow devoured it. Although it was dark, we knew it was her driveway when we saw this tiny circular tent with a clear dome on top positioned half way down the mountain. It was completely surrounded by snow and the golden hygge lights in the window showed us our warm and cozy home was waiting for us.We giddily stumbled down the goat path, knee-deep in snow until we made it around her yurt, as Momo greeted us with a flashlight and a warm laugh.
The Floridians left the 10 degrees weather and stepped into the warmest and coziest homes. 156 square-feet round, the wood-burning stove sat at the opposite end of the door, creating the most comfortable space. As I looked at her walls, I noticed that every single item had a place and purpose. Yes, she lived minimally, but she had everything she needed and wanted.
Her collection of books ranged from novels to reference books of herbalism, country living, and woodstove cooking. Family photos were positioned on bookshelves that she made from leftover wood of the crate her yurt was delivered in. In the kitchen area, cast iron pans of all different sizes hung along the lattice of her walls, each jar was labeled with dried goods and herbs, and only the amount of plates, cups, mugs, forks, and spoons that was necessary. Next to the wood-burning stove was an open crate of cut wood to keep her stove burning throughout the day and night. She had a nice table with two chairs that sat next to the window of sparkling white snow and evergreen trees. Her small and cozy couch turned into a bed whenever she wanted to go to sleep, but during the day left a great amount of space. She knew where everything was and everything had a purpose… and I absolutely loved that!
Throughout this time in the winter, she lived off of food she’s stocked up on such as dried foods that she dried out in the fall, rice, soups, homemade woodstove breads, and the most delicious over-night oats. As her driveway and RV was completely snowed in, she spent every day living in the yurt. Her days were filled with reading, a lot of hiking, book club meet ups, skiing with friends, sewing, cooking, taking courses, collecting water from the creek, watching her friends bees, and spending time with family.
Now let’s speak logistics. I’m sure reading this, many people are thinking about the monetary aspect of that. “Sure, all of this sounds amazing, but how could I actually afford this way of living?”
Her yurt cost her $6,000 total and took her two days to put up with the help of some friends and family. Her wood-burning stove was a steal from a friend that was looking to buy a new one, ended up running her $600. Her berkey water filter that she uses to filter her water from the creek ran around $200-$300. Her Sun-Mar composting toilet was around $2,000. The rest of her invested went into her outhouse for her composting toilet, her wood platform for her yurt, and her land. All together everything cost her about $15,000…total! Compare this to investments to modern day houses… I find it absolutely mind-blowing. Although I view this lifestyle as a luxury, Momo’s lifestyle is actually beneath the level of poverty in our country. It truly shows how we view wealth in America.
By investing in her land and yurt, Momo was able to live a life that she wanted to live. It was simple, provided her with the joys of life, and didn’t create any obligations to others. She was able to live a life where she saw each season distinctively change and live closer to the land. She rises with the sun and describes each morning as magical. Each day she has time in her life to dive into different topics and areas that interested her. She was able to create authentic and healthy relationships with her neighbors around her. Surrounding her yurt was forested areas, so she was able to live amongst wildlife such as elk, deer, mountain lion, and bears, in which sometimes she would cross paths with. She could hear the creek running by her yurt every second of the day. In the winter before the snow is plowed, she skis to her mailbox to receive her mail.
She had the time to live her life the way that she truly felt she wanted to live it and that’s what inspired me the most.
This experience ran deep for me… For the past years, I’ve been contemplating on what type of life I want to live and that I want to live as lightly and connected to Earth as possible. I know that many others reading this are feeling this way too. The lives and lifestyles that typical Americans live are very disconnected from Earth. Spending our lives mainly indoors in our houses and jobs, seeking entertainment that revolves around being indoors, eating food that’s been shipped from across the country, flushing our “waste”down toilets with potable water, and burning fossil fuels every second we are using our electricity… Not only are these lifestyles disconnected from Earth, but disconnected from one another. This experience of living off grid in the yurt showed me how incredibly possible it is! We have the ability right at our fingertips, we just have to seek out others who are making the movement move, be creative, and believe. This may be going against the grain, but together, we can.
I hope we can all contemplate on if our lifestyle is serving us and the greater good. Are we living lives that are aligned with our morals and values? Are we held back by fear and our limiting beliefs? Do we actually believe in ourselves and our ability to manifest our reality? If our answer is no to any of these questions, then how can we change our lives to be more aligned with our highest selves? How can we live a life that we feel empowered to live? Always remember, we’re in this together. Let’s all support our missions and visions collectively for a more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
With so much love and blessings,