Tiny Living 01: Natasha
Please welcome Natasha to the stage as our first Tiny Living
feature for a new Rock Meets Soil weekly series. Honestly you guys, half
the reason I find and share these stories with you is for the inspiration that I also get
from them to continue living the life that I see for myself. The things you guys have to say about
how and why you do what you do are what keep me motivated to follow my heart,
knowing that I'm not the only one crazy enough to quit my job and take off
with no plan or money. That's half the fun of it, right?
If you live in any sort of tiny home, whether on wheels or not, and want
to be featured in the Tiny Living series, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can supply a prompt of questions or you can write something up in
your own words. Let's share your story with the world!
tiny living 01: natasha // @sportygramps
Who are you and where do you come from?
My name is Natasha Peters.
I am a musician and traveler from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Where are you at right now,
and what influenced you to try out life in a vehicle?
I am currently in Austin, Texas. When I was 16 I made the last minute decision to fly to Germany to visit a friend over Christmas break. The plans weren’t well made; I spent days at foreign airports and even an entire night at a freezing train station somewhere in the Czech Republic. We took the last train to the end of the line and were stranded till the first train the next morning. I even got detained at a Canadian airport for trying to bring back novelty liqueur for my dear old mum! After that I was hooked, determined to become a seasoned traveler. That’s when I first got the travel bug. I wanted to see it all and meet all the people living in it! The next year, after finishing my first year of college, I decided to try my hand at the Eurotrash backpacker lifestyle; I spent six months in six countries working and communing with the people.
How long have you been living this way?
I quit my two jobs and left home in August, 2017.
Vehicle year, make and model. Does your vehicle have a name?
2013 Subaru Outback. I call my car Sunny; it is a gender-less being though.
I refer to it as both a male and female at times so Sunny’s a good neutral. When I decorated my car
I realized that I chose lots of strong sun symbols unintentionally, but strikingly fitting.
Any funny/crazy stories to share?
I went to visit a friend of a friend in a place I had never been. Arcosanti, Arizona is a very interesting place, a micro-city, it only houses 85 full-time locals. But it is also home to some incredibly interesting architectural phenomena. It is the brain child and experimental prototype of architect Paulo Solari. A community of iron workers, and potters produce bells full time; bell sales are 65% of there overall income! So I met up with my friend of a friend connection, and was told there was to be a party that night. Well the party ended up being more a campfire hang out. I met probably five or six people before we devised a plan to infiltrate the underground tunnels of Arcosanti to a place that they affectionately called ‘The Batcave’. At the end of a series of low-ceilinged tunnels, I found out why it was called that as we descended into a room that had an iron gate and the bat symbol on it. This room was very cave-like in essence, unfinished and stacked to the ceiling with old boxes and music equipment from the 70's. With a few bottles of wine we spent a good chunk of time going through some of the boxes, filtering out anything that might be interesting and bringing it to the free thrift store that they house on the grounds called ‘Ferguson's’ (why it’s called that, I do not know). We enthusiastically played dress up in Ferguson's and sung Christmas carols at the top of our lungs in one of the amphitheaters. We again ascended in a fit of laughter to the main housing area. It was then that I realized that these were some of my people.
What are some difficulties of living so small?
And favorite aspects of this lifestyle?
I really love to cook, and in my small living situation I have chosen to be without any sort of stove or cooking system. This does not mean that I eat out. It's difficult for me but also something really great happens: whenever I find myself in the home of some gracious host, I feel inspired and enthusiastic about having a kitchen to cook in and from there good, love-filled meals for a good and love-full host. One of my favorite things about going without is the implicit joy that comes from being with again. The perspective that can only come from the seeing of the bigger picture.
What is something that you've learned about yourself
since you've been living in your vehicle?
I think that one idea that I’ve really clung to since starting the trip is the idea of being enough. I am tough enough. I am pragmatic enough. I am skilled enough, etc…
Any tips, tricks or hacks that make life easier living so small?
I like to take advantage of new student passes at places like yoga studios, Pilates studios, etc. They’re usually super affordable and more than just having a place to shower; it offers a nice sense of community that is hard to come by living on the road in that you’re going to come back, see the same people, chat with the same teachers. You might just make a lifelong friend.
Advice to someone looking to make a similar choice?
Just do it, and do it now. Not after you finish school, not after you have a steady source of income. For some reason people seem to think that money will make it easier for them to do something like this. I believe the opposite: money is the responsibilities that keep you where you are. I use money only as a means of survival, which is what it is. Money buys things that keep you alive and comfortable. The rest is all mental, honestly a false sense of security. How much safer are you really in your house that locks than I am in my car that locks?
An incident on a particularly aggressive dirt road in Jemez Springs, NM left me fitting the bill of four new tires, so my finances are a bit out of sorts at the moment. I’ve got $136 in my account, but I’ve got a job interview today and it doesn’t really seem so bad because that same dirt road led me to an incredible hot spring atop a waterfall, which I had all to myself for one blissful morning. I’ll be in Austin for three weeks more, then to New Orleans for 2018 Mardi Gras, From there I depart from my faithful car-home to fly to Costa Rica to live for six months with nothing but a backpack.
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