Inspiration and Facing Fear

I’ll start by saying that the property I’ve been agonizing over this last few days may not work out after all because there appears to be an issue with water quality. And meanwhile, another opportunity has presented itself that I’m pretty excited about. But  I’ll wait with the details until we know better if this will work out.

What I wanted to talk about today was fear. Fear of doing something Different than what is expected of us. While we are looking at properties with houses on them, we are also looking at bare land. The latter is a bit of a scary prospect as there is so much that needs to be done to turn a plot of earth into a place you can live. Or is there? Perhaps my definition of what is livable and necessary is a bit skewed.

For example, there have been listings we’ve looked at where putting a “real house” on it would be out of our budget at the moment. We’ve talked about alternatives to a house as a shorter-term solution. We’ve studied Yurts and Quonsets, cruised Craigslist for old RV’s and trailers, considered mobile homes, manufactured homes, and prefabricated homes…and thanks to my newest fave blog (read on for that) I’ve discovered the BarnDominium! Some of these options are a bit unconventional. And there have been times when I’ve lain awake at night, some small part of me freaking out at the thought of living in a Yurt or a couple of trailers. I mean really – don’t we need drywall, baseboards, and tile? Aren’t I supposed to cook on a conventional stovetop and have a mudroom? I’m almost 42 – aren’t I supposed to have a “real” house? Will my children be deprived and require years of therapy? My mother would/will think me absolutely nuts, but then she won’t ever go camping until trees come with electrical outlets. Not exactly adventurous.

But then there is Inspiration. And it comes in the form of real people, real families, following their dreams and doing the unexpected, the unconventional.

My friend E has a family with 3 small children. They sold their house, bought an old RV, and spent a year touring North America. They then bought a piece of land on the other side of the country (where his family all live and where real estate is much cheaper) and recently bought a Real Yurt (as in, with painted supports and doors that look right out of a beautiful Nepalese village). They will be living in that for a while until they build their straw-bale house. Now if they can survive living in an RV for a year with 3 young kids I’m sure they will handle the Yurt. They also have to clear their land as it is all currently forested. They are not afraid!

Then there’s another friend I have (more of an internet pen pal) who has 2 little kids. She and her partner bought their dream piece of land on one of the Gulf Islands and spent the last year living in a trailer with a small shed attached to it (I think) while they saved up to build their small house, which they did largely by themselves.

And finally, today, I found inspiration in the form of the No Name Farm blog. This afternoon I read the entire thing and I’m hooked. What an inspiration!

Ultimately I remind myself of two things: 1) doing what we are expected to do, simply because it’s what we are expected to do, is not how I want to look back on my life. And 2) what’s the worst that can happen? We hate it, sell it all and buy a condo in the West End? At least we’ll have tried. The kids are young, we are young (hey, 40 is the new 30!) and I don’t think I could live with myself if I just sat around and read about everybody else who is living out their dream (or making a noteworthy attempt to get there) while I sat in my conventional house on a small piece of land listening to loud traffic.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Ha, we’re not done yet! If you can manage talking to some old hippies, you’ll feel right at home. We’ve met many here. We now have a painting on a bare stud in the house of a Mom hanging out of her wee trailer with three kids and three dogs running around, from a friend here, who had painted it of her neighbour in the 70’s. Both were living rough while building. We consider ourselves living luxuriously compared to some stories! I’ve met endless stories of folks doing this so I bite my tongue about complaining because I get a lot of ‘we did that’!

    Good luck with which ever way you go.


  2. It is far better to follow your own dreams than live in a world dictated by others’ expectations. What has been “normal” in this country is what has contributed to the problems we face now with climate change, dwindling non-renewable resources, etc. The more people willing to do it differently, and share the experience with others, the more it becomes the new normal.

    We lived in a 25′ RV (with 2 dogs) for 2 1/2 years on a property with no running water or utilities. We did fine, even though we did not succeed in building our own home there as we hoped. Lack of money was our biggest problem, followed by lack of time as a real job was required to get money, and then we finally gave up when administrative hurdles to do what we wanted with graywater/composting toilet looked almost insurmountable. (In many ways, I wish we’d stuck it out but, on the other hand, we’d be stuck in a location less than desirable now.)

    Once you get past the fear, what does your gut tell you to do?


  3. Stay true to what your hearts are dreaming. Keep focusing on what you really want to do in your lives and you may be surprised at what comes your way.
    It is great that you are reading widely about alternative ways to do things, I know how inspiring it can be to know what others have done and that anything is possible.
    Don’t worry too much about the negative remarks, change scares people, esp our families. You are doing just fine…


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