When first embarking upon this Tiny adventure we promised each other that we would say “Yes!” to any opportunity that came along to help educate about tiny living and lifestyles. And there have been plenty of opportunities in this realm! In fact, when asked what has surprised us the most about living tiny, our response would have to be the media coverage and level of overall interest. On a weekly, sometimes daily, basis we notice cars slowing down on the road towards the bottom of our driveway, and often enough people pluck up the courage to drive right up and introduce themselves (including a wonderful woman all the way from Windsor, Ontario!). Some are curious and just want to see and get a feel for Tiny, others are more serious inquirers.
Whether it’s being featured on CTV or CBC television, CBC radio (most recently on Maritime Noon), on BuzzFeed, in Spring Home & Garden magazine, andplaces we keep hearing about on the web, we find ourselves startled over and over again. Being asked about our tiny house by strangers, acquaintances, and friends we meet in the grocery store, doctor’s office, gas station, and just about any other public venue has become the norm. We are truly astounded by the level of interest! The conversations often start out in the same way: “Oh, you’re the tiny house people we saw on the TV (in the newspaper, on the radio)”, and then they go in wildly different directions! We are most often initially appreciated (thank you all!), and then we might be asked about anything from the dimensions of the house, or if we are on wheels or not, to if we are still getting along with one another or how long we think we can live in such a small space. And then there are the questions about the doggie elevator, of course. Most have watched tiny home shows on television – which we have not! Some are justinterested, while others have dreams and/or plans to live tiny someday.
As we are both educators at heart, we love all these opportunities. Living tiny offers us a platform to raise all kinds of systemic issues; issues that are often not talked about simply because they make us feel uncomfortable. The tiny house movement is just one way of many to raise and discuss issues of class, individualism, consumption patterns, zoning regulations, North American lifestyle expectations, and so on. No, the movement will not resolve any of these larger concerns, but it provides opportunities to engage with them and to learn to sit with the discomfort they might bring up.
As Maya Angelou once wrote, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” We aren’t living Tiny because we feel it’s the ultimate solution to the current housing crisis or climate change or high interest mortgages or equitable living opportunities. We are living Tiny because we care about social change, our relationships, and living more simply (as we define it). We are using the privilege we do have to show an alternative to some of the prevailing underlying values and assumptions of our culture: a preference for the accumulation of things, individualistic in contrast to community ideals, needs versus wants – to name just a few of the ideas we are exploring through our life choices. Tiny living can be just one piece of a complex social and economic puzzle.
So be forewarned, if you choose to live tiny (in a public kind of way) be prepared to welcome strangers to your door and into your hearts.
Nicky Duenkel & Judy Pratt – LiveTiny Canada Contributors
Check out their blog here!
Photo: BBC via Thinkstock