(Eco) Confessions.

Ever doubt your goals or what you strongly believe in, works or is actually true?

We are evolving beings and ideas we had before can change over time. Because we have accumulated more knowledge and experience or our priorities in life have simply shifted. 

I love the tiny house lifestyle: to live on a small surface area, off-grid, sustainable, debt-free. You know, these small, cute houses you see on the internet, videos on social media, all very Instagrammable. All looks just perfect and the owners are happy people, telling in front of the camera how they built the place, and how they enjoy their free life, as there’s no more mortgage to pay. You know that Everybody Loves The Sunshine kinda atmosphere. 

Broken glass

Truth is, living tiny isn’t always sunshine and reggae. A pan I don’t know where to store, so I put it just quickly on the floor while cooking dinner. A broken glass that fell of the kitchen counter, as it is actually too small to do the dishes well. Actually I need to wash up every time after I have used cups and plates. Clothes I store in big boxes under the bed. Not having a generous fridge. 

But also true, our converted shed (into a tiny home) is still in progress and not finished yet. Dorus will make cupboards in the kitchen part to store all our jars with dry food (oats, chickpeas, beans etc) and installs sockets in the walls, etc. 

Carpenters’ homes are always full with jobs to fix, but the carpenter is often too busy with other people’s homes. They say, patience is a virtue, right? Is it wrong to just want things NOW? 

Green Gorillas

It doesn’t make any difference though, as Dorus is just completely occupied by other projects at the moment, such as our Green Gorillas project.

We both put a lot of time, money and effort in this project and some weeks ago I was about to give up, as I see hardly any revenues (bookings for our Eco courses). That isn’t surprising as we are still in the midst of Covid. This virus and restrictions don’t seem to end. Of course, these times aren’t the easiest to earn money with something you believe in. 

Therefore I decided not to give up. It’s too early to draw conclusions. It both excites me (what if it truly works and we get dozens of bookings?) and worries me (what if after two years we still have too few bookings?)

@navigateontrust on Instagram

My dream

It’s funny; a girl commented to one of our posts on Instagram “you guys are living the dream”. The truth is, my ultimate dream is to write. And I must not forget about this. Writing came last these past weeks. Last, as it didn’t happen at all.

Also because at times I struggle with myself and everything I do, goes with lots of effort. Truly nothing is effortless and goes smoothly then. It’s like I have to move mountains, just to achieve some small, stupid things, such as buying a watering can for the plants. Once a month I have these struggling times with a body that hurts and moods that swing rock hard. I have come to the conclusion it’s PMS. I am very lucky I have a man who’s understanding and sweet on those bad days and makes me cups of herbal tea.

Amazon

For years I took evening primrose oil tablets each day to relieve these ailments. I haven’t took them since we moved to Mallorca. Lately Amazon is my rescue for things I can’t buy in and around this village. Not particularly ecological and supportive of the small and local businesses. But so practical — and lazy. Amazon sends it to the post office in the village and I get a notification as soon as it arrives. So evening primrose oil tablets I’m about to order. It always takes a few months before the effects are noticeable (less belly cramps, less mood swings).

Flow

Yes, I’m going to dedicate more time to write, because that really puts a smile on my face. Only as I write I feel moments of flow, these timeless moments. Aliveness it is. Pure energy. Why wasn’t I listening better?

What are your (eco) confessions? 

Con Amor,

Eva 

Photo by Luke Stackpoole/Unsplash

This Way Of Life.

We live in a tiny home on wheels.

Energy to charge our devices is generated by the sun.

All our water is harvested from the rain that falls on the roof.

We warm ourselves by the fire of a rocket stove.

We don’t eat animals.

We have bad WiFi.

It may sound drastically and extreme. Uneasy or free or rebellious. It may sound as an escape from the polarized world, a flea from the rat-race.

It is just a way of life. Not because it’s our only option, but because we believe in this way of life.

Tiny home

It has never been our intention to live in this tiny wooden home. It was supposed to be a show-model in which ecological ways of living unite: harvested rainwater to filter, wash and drink; solar panels to generate energy; a rocket stove to warm ourselves on chilly days and cook (cooking we actually haven’t done much as we use the community-kitchen, but we did bake bread!).

As more and more dedication and love had been invested in making this home, we decided to move in last April. Moreover, if you believe and say it’s possible to live this kind of life, you must do it first!

Change

This eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle I have started to appreciate. I gave it some time, because it’s quite a change. I shower when the sun appears over the hills, so the water will be warm. When we have bad weather, we light the rocket stove that warms up the house and the water so we still have warm showers. We need to anticipate and see what the weather does. Two or more days of heavy clouded weather coming? We shouldn’t use the electrical water boiler as there will be hardly or no sun to charge the batteries. And washing our clothes in the wash machine then needs to wait too.

Conscious

This way of life makes me more conscious and appreciative. In the Netherlands it’s so normal to always have a warm shower or bath available and the water from the taps seems an endless stream. Here we have warm showers too, but things need to happen first to achieve this. When it rains for example I feel gratitude for the rain as it fills up the water tanks beneath the floor. The sound of raindrops is a grateful sound. I never thought this way.

Therefore it’s with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to our sweet home nine months later. We don’t take it with us. It will be a show model here in the ecological centre, just as it was planned.
The plan is to live in a new “eco gypsy wagon” in a couple of years. First other tiny homes will be built for our friends in our new community on Mallorca.

My slow life in this green Ibizan valley has turned me into a more flexible and conscious human. And I am thankful for this.

To be continued on Mallorca!

Con Amor,

Eva

Less is More. Why tiny house life is the future.

I love watching these videos on youtube: Living Big In A Tiny House. The tiny homes are amazing and it’s fun to hear the stories behind them. It has been a while now, but some months ago we spent our sunday nights watching these inspiring videos and stories for hours in a row. I guess it has been the stepping stone I needed to really move to our own tiny home.

Wild West Wagon

Both the creativity in constructing and the tiny house philosophy appealed to us and Dorus started building one three years ago: a completely sustainable tiny house in the shape of a “Wild West Wagon” at Casita Verde, an ecological centre on Ibiza.

It’s a 15 m2 showcase of an alternative life: small and sustainable with an attached terrace of another 15 m2, so in total a living space of 30 m2. With energy generated by the sun, water harvested from the rain and heating by the super efficient fire of a rocket stove on winter days.

Dorus constructed this tiny home nearly completely of pallets and other up- and re-cycled materials. It’s the first sustainable and ecological off grid tiny home on wheels on Ibiza and an extraordinary way of reducing our ecological footprint.

The “Wild West Wagon” meant more to us than just a showcase of alternative living so we decided to give up our beach studio and moved to live this “tiny home life” in the countryside. It already has changed my life. We’re testing this off grid tiny home since last April and thanks to the sunny climate on Ibiza, which generates more than enough energy, we don’t feel we compromise on comfort.

But we are learning. When there wasn’t any sun for five days in a row last Easter, which is rather exceptional on Ibiza, and we’d still plugged in a thirsty fridge, we were out of electricity on the second, heavily clouded day. On such days it isn’t a good idea either to use the electrical water boiler to make a cup of tea every couple of hours. Instead we lit the rocket stove to warm up the house and to make a cup of tea at once while staring out the window to the low fog hovering over the green hills.

Our tiny home has made me so much more aware of my freedom and surroundings – the free energy we enjoy and also the rain water we use for washing clothes, showers and drinking water. Dreaming away or making plans while having long showers belong to the past now. It gives so much satisfaction and joy to know that Dorus’ hands constructed every inch of this tiny home and that sunlight runs our devices, without damaging the environment and without costs.

I realize living off-grid is easier here, on a sunlit island, than in a colder, rainy climate with strict regulations. If you’re only with the two of you it isn’t such a big deal; for families it’s likely more challenging.

A new way of living

In prosperous times it’s hard to imagine that Western families of ten used to live in a 2-bedroom house or apartment. With the economic growth of the past decades not only GDP per capita has grown, also houses have become bigger in size. We were able to buy bigger houses as economic growth increased and banks began to stimulate consumers — us — to make debts.

I once read that Dutch households are world champions in mortgage debts. No where in the world are mortgage lenders as generous as in the Netherlands resulting in civilians becoming slaves to the banks. Isn’t that dramatic?

Despite the push for more and bigger — and as a protest against it — a new way of living has emerged: in a “tiny home”. We, in the wealthy West, have started discovering we don’t need big amounts of stuff in our lives and wish to live a life free from the need to constantly consume. We know, more stuff doesn’t make us happy. A new wave of “living simply” has been born along the lines of David Thoreau’s “Walden” as an alternative to “bigger is better”.

Tiny home movement

The tiny home movement started as a social and architectural movement in the United States to propagate living in small and tiny houses — a tiny house is mostly 15 m2 between 50 m2—.

Other countries, such as Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Spain and The Netherlands have followed and the interest for tiny houses has grown tremendously. More and more of us have the desire to live differently and living in a tiny home could be it! The tiny house movement can be seen as part of a movement away from money and property-slavery to a more simple and connected way of living.

More than living simply

The reasons to choose for a tiny house are various: from being (financially) independent and free to become less attached to consume and realizing there’s more to life than working to pay the bills. It creates space to engage in (other) meaningful things. Tiny homes are often located on land surrounded by nature. Therefore tiny home owners tend to be more engaged in their surroundings.

Tiny homes are also solutions for disaster relief and housing crises. For example in West Virginia, USA, after heavy floods destroyed thousands of houses in June 2017, tiny houses were built to re-home the residents. In Malden, one of the places in the Netherlands where people deal with a lack in housing, tiny houses were built to start solving the housing crises and especially to help young people to live in an affordable home. Building tiny homes can bring solutions to societal problems and therefore it’s much more than just living simply.

New perspectives on life

Reading about tiny houses and their owners I have discovered it’s also more than only living in a small space. In these times of massive and often destructive consumption it evokes questions as, how many things do I need to live comfortably? Do I really need a mortgage and two cars? What makes me happy? How can I live more environmentally friendly and lead a more sustainable life? It questions the traditional life of big houses, mortgages and the obligation to work to pay for all of this.

In short, living in a tiny house isn’t only more financially sustainable than a traditional home as we don’t have mortgages anymore, but it also brings new perspectives on life. A tiny house provides the opportunity to answer the desire to downsize and be more ecologically and economically conscious. To me, it’s a way to simplify life in a chaotic world where we all have to do and we all have to be so much.

Time becomes a new best friend: time to do projects we desire, time to be together with the people we love and time to be more connected with nature.

Google shows 934 million articles and videos related to “tiny house”. Tiny homes are “hot”! Often cleverly constructed with green living principles and incredible creativity, off grid tiny houses illustrate sustainable living at its best.

One of my favorites of the “Living Big in a Tiny House” series is the story of Frenchy and her gypsy caravan:

This week’s blogpost is an adjusted version of my published article on Elephant Journal (Grassroots section):

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2019/05/less-is-more-why-tiny-house-life-is-the-future/

Con Amor,

Eva

Welcome Tiny House Life!

We made it! We are here, in our tiny house “Wild West Wagon” built by Dorus!

I totally underestimated this process of moving house..the stuff..to decide to keep things or not. It was more work than I expected it to be. The good thing was that I felt completely ready to start this new adventure with our tiny house once it was time to shut the door behind us. We left a soulless place waiting for new life.

These past days I unpacked our things and surprisingly found a place for almost everything. The kitchen isn’t completely ready yet and Dorus is going to make a bar and a desk which will furnish the terrace part, which serves as an extension of the tiny house. And there are some other details to work on, such as decorations.

Fever

At the moment I’m alone during daytime as Dorus and the crew here are building a tiny house for a friend and his family up north. It’s a cool new project and they’re such a great team together. Today I wanted to join them, but last night I was all of a sudden struck by a fever. The body apparently needs to get rid off some stuff too.

New tricks

This gives me time alone to reflect a bit. I know this experience will test me. Not this tiny house, which already feels so good and I can feel the love and positivity which reside between these pallets. The fundament feels strong and full of goodness. I am grateful to experience this new chapter. Also this team of people is a treasure. The environment is gorgeous, amidst of nature. We are surrounded by life, the bees, butterflies and robin birds, carob and lemon trees, rosemary fields and so on. All this is almost too good to be true. It feels comfortable like there isn’t any cloud covering the sky. But nothing is perfect. I know well where the difficulties are and it will test my patience, calm and boundaries. And sometimes this cloudy part feels uncomfortable. For sure these clouds are here to teach me some new tricks.

The cats, Liefje & Luna, love their new home too! Jieppiee!

Con Amor,

Eva

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