Lindsay Weaver has been an intern with Amani for the past six months. She also lives in a tiny house with her husband Jeremy, who runs a tiny house building business. Recently they were featured on an episode of Tiny House Nation. Lindsay contributes a lot of her desire to go tiny to her experiences while living in Tanzania. Here is her story.....
When I was 14, my father surprised the whole family by telling us that we were going to be traveling to East Africa that summer. I had no idea what to expect other than what I had read in books or seen on tv. What would it be like? What kinds of animals would I see, and would I like the food? For three weeks my family traveled all around Kenya and parts of Northern Tanzania. We bonded with new friends, and took home sights, sounds, and smells that we would never forget. I wrote in my journal that "I vowed to return to these places again one day".
It would be 15 years before I would return. And this time I would be coming back with my husband and staying for four months. My husband Jeremy and I were in a Masters program that had a required field rotation in Tanzania. We couldn't have been more excited. Jeremy was itching to return as well because he had lived in Zambia for a year as a student missionary and traveled to many other countries on the continent.
A little village that sat on the edge of the Ngorogoro crater called Endabash became our new home. We lived with a local family in a little 8x8 room. About 15 people ranging from 18months to 70 years old lived in this house. It was perfect. More and more we realized we needed less and less. We ate the same thing at every meal, wore the same thing every day until it was dirty (or smelly), and were surrounded by people who cared about us and we cared about them. Our every need was met and then some.
When we returned to the States, we wanted to make sure that we could carry over this lifestyle of living with less to experience more. Some friends of ours had built a tiny house, were thriving in it and the lifestyle that comes with living in one. We loved how this movement had taken off and many times had played around with the idea of "going tiny" ourselves. But now we were going to commit to it. Jeremy and his friend Travis took it a step further and decided to start a business building tiny homes called Wind River Tiny Homes. Little did we know what would transpire from stepping out in faith, trusting Gods direction, and going tiny.
Wind River received an email from a production company in New York that produces a show called Tiny House Nation. They had seen one of Wind River's previous builds and were curious if they had any upcoming builds they would like to be featured on one of their episodes. They replied back with a yes, and Jeremy mentioned that he had just purchased the trailer for our own tiny house. After a few Skype interviews with my husband and I and the production company, we signed the papers and down came the film crew to Chattanooga. We weren't planning on having a completed house until possibly a year later. We were going to be building it our selves in our spare time, bit by bit. Now we were going to have a completed house, inside and out, in one week! (Here's the link to our episode: Nomad's Nest)
When going tiny you haven't much space, so you need to make every inch of it count. Your house should function how you would use it the most. Jeremy and I wanted to be able to cook, relax, and reflect when at home. We wanted our house to be filled with all of our favorite items from our travels, primarily our things from Africa. The interior designers of the show captured these requests perfectly. They created a couch that 1. would fit my 6'6'' husband and 2. filled it with pillows made out of our Masai fabrics. It was our dream home. All 276 square feet of it.
When asked how we like living in a tiny house we say with hardy smiles that we adore it. Our time together is more intentional. I have fewer clothes which forces me to be more creative with my outfits. Our bills are smaller which means our adventures can be bigger. We have a whole new approach to life that we feel is more simple, yet more responsible. We compost our food scraps, and we have a grey water system so we are careful what cleaning products and soaps we buy. We have also found that the tiny house community is of a kindred spirit. They tend to be people who are genuine, inspirational and value relationship over possessions.
Many ask us what it's like living in a tiny house. The most common questions we get are...
Q: Do you bump into each other and get into each other's way a lot?
A: Nope. The layout of our house was designed with a wide kitchen space and the bedroom separate from the bathroom which is separate from the Kitchen.
Q: Your husband is really tall, how in the world can he fit in a tiny house?
A: Our ceilings are 13ft. high. He may be tall but not that tall, mercy.
Q: Are you planning on having kids in that house?
A: Yes, at least one before we decide on going slightly bigger.
Not everyone can go as tiny as we did. But most can go smaller than what they currently have. The idea is to put the focus on whats most important to you in life and to weed out what's not. Where do you store your treasures? Matthew 16:19-21 says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Stay tuned to big things happening with all things tiny coming for Wind River Tiny Homes!
P.S. I want to give a big shout out to Amani photographer Molly Gardner for coming to our home and taking pictures of Amani's amazing items. There truly is something for everyone at Amani, I fell in love with their skirts!