I woke up really early this morning, thinking about all the people who I met at the 2016 Tiny House Jamboree, and how we all have this thing in common with each other. Every one of us. We all like tiny houses, want tiny houses, are building tiny houses, live in tiny houses, or something something tiny houses…
I’ve known Macy Miller for some time now (almost two years already?), and finally got to meet her and her family recently for a dinner before going to the Jam, and last summer, I had met Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard of Tiny House Giant Journey, so already knew some faces in person before going to the Jam. But at the Jam, I met oh so many people who I knew from chatting with online, and who I had been looking forward to meeting for so long.
There’s a fun little thing that happens though in the tiny house world. You get interested in tiny houses, in downsizing, in minimalism, in sustainability, in living authentically, or saving money, or whatever reason you choose to get interested in tiny houses for, but the fact remains that however many things you remove from your life in order to do so, all the stuff that won’t fit, the things you don’t use, don’t love, it’s still an actual thing that connects you to other tiny house fans. That thing may be super tiny and afford you to let go of all the other things you find you don’t need in your life, but it is still a thing, and a lot of us identify each other with it.
Macy and I only became friends because of a shared love for tiny houses. All my friends from the Tiny House People group only became friends of mine because of a shared love of tiny houses. I’m a huge fan, like you are, of the houses, and the houses are beautiful, and the people who own them have a bit of a celebrity status now because of their homes. Macy Miller? I introduced her to someone as the woman who owns the most famous tiny house. (I know she hates that) But it worked! I was right, the person knew immediately who she was, because of her house. Ariel McGlothlin from Fy Nyth (who I finally got to meet even though we’re both in the same state, it’s a BIG state!) did a nice write up of the people she met and commented “Why I can remember details about someone’s house plans and life goals and draw a complete blank on their name, I don’t know.” And it’s so true!
Moose Henderson who I didn’t get to meet, is known for his tiny “Moosevilla.” Sean David Burke is known as the guy building the shipping container home. Jewel Pearson is the black woman in the tiny house. (So much so that several black women there were mistaken for her!) Kim Kasl (who somehow I didn’t get to meet) is the woman with the family in the tiny house. Michelle Bredeson Boyle is the woman with the tiny house with licence plates in it. Ariel as mentioned is the Fy Nyth person, everyone is known by what house they have, or even by what role they play in the tiny house world. In this community, you identify the people with the house. I can tell you what various people are planning who haven’t even begun to build yet. I can tell you blog sites of people who are currently building, or who have finished building, and I only know of them because of their house. Look at the builders who don’t even have a tiny house of their own, yet their names are synonymous with tiny houses. Hell, the entire industry building panel at the Jam, I think only one person on it even lives in a tiny, yet they’re all advocating for tiny houses. Jay Shafer and Zack Giffen had celebrity status at the Jam, and simply because of tiny houses.
So the houses join us.
The houses bring us together.
But you are not your houses.
There’s a line in Chuck Palahniuk’s book Fight Club that really has always resonated with me. More so in Brad Pitt’s excellent rendition in the movie, (one case of the movie actually outdoing the book I believe) that has helped me onto my tiny house journey. “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis.” I like to believe that we all undergo a similar transformation in our own journey to living tiny, in that we choose to put just living forward as the important part of our lives, and not our stuff. Not our houses. But being in the community makes it really hard to see beyond the homes, when the homes are what it’s all about.
So I want to tell you that you are not your stuff. You are not your tiny houses, and you are not your celebrity status. I didn’t go to the Jam to see the houses, I can see them far better on Deek’s youtube channel in his awesome videos than I can in person, cause in person, I had to stand in line and hustle through them. I didn’t go to watch the speakers, though I did see a few of them, and they were really great! I didn’t go for the workshops. None of that is what the Jam is about anyway, or what it’s meant to be about from talking to Darin Zaruba who is the Godfather of the whole thing. The Jam is a meetup, the Jam is a rally, the Jam is all about fun and camaraderie. The rest is just icing on the cake.
I came for the people. You are not your houses, not to me. I wrote in Jewel Pearson’s Turning Tiny book something that goes for all of you equally. “I love you as much as people love your house.”
So I’d like to say, that I’m honoured to have met those who I have met, and to know otherwise those who I have yet to meet. House or no house, you guys are amazing. House or no house, I’m glad I know you. House or no house, I’m really happy to have been able to meet who I did at the Jam. In this post, are some of my fave pics of the people I met, wish I had more, don’t know how I missed some of you. (Jewel if you have a pic of us I’d love a copy!) The rest of you? Looking forward to the future, when I can say I’ve met you too. House or no house.