Heading South for the Winter – or Why We Left the Tiny House
After ALL that, we did it, we headed south for the winter. We packed up what little we owned and left the “Tiny Mansion” – and moved to Salida.
After all the blood, sweat and tears. After the two plus years of finding our way home. After the build, the TV show and the spectacular return. We went “full circle” – and then we left again.
If you watched our adventure on television, you might think the return “home” was a straight line — a true heroes journey of emerging victorious after defeat. However anyone who knows us (or was behind the scenes) is aware that the line was much more erratic than straight. We not only decided to rebuild after being indecisive for so long, we decided to do it on national television and agreed to try out Tiny House living on top of that.
The road was bumpy and rocky along the way. For close to two years, we had no peace or clarity about moving back. We continued to visit our land and to enjoy the quiet and the views, yet so often we left ash covered and sunburned and heartbroken about what was lost.
In January of 2014, we were done with all the waiting. Little did we know what was waiting for us. As I shared on my 5/8/14 blog, a catalyst appeared in the form of A&E’s Tiny House Nation and we jumped into action.
Looking back, we are certain that had we not committed to the TV show, we would still be second guessing and putting off making the decision.
It seemed like the perfect Cinderella story; we rose from the ashes and returned to our land. Yet we were working with TV deadlines, and as general contractors, our learning curve was steep. It was not an easy build. Contractors had to work on top of each other often with cameras rolling. With any build there are breakdowns, however the tight timeline led to multiple emergencies per day. The weather seemed to work against us bringing snow, hail, massive lightning and thunderstorm, even a lightning caused fire in the area.
We failed inspections, sprung leaks, made major errors, had fire-related erosion issues and more. On rougher days, we questioned our sanity and our desire to return. Our sleep was off, waking in the middle of the night sure we had forgotten something crucial. We were on edge and in new territory. Then we would return to the land, and see the shell of a house sprouting up, breathe deeply, and remember why.
On June 13th, we wrapped with filming and officially began our new life in our “Tiny Mansion”. Still the problems continued. Leaks, leaks and more leaks. Plumbing issues, appliances malfunctioning, a fancy heating system that couldn’t keep up with the cold of early fall. Then, the clincher: after eight years of perfect internet service, Skybeam dropped us from their coverage area. With satellite not an option for David’s work; tired, cold, discouraged (and heart-broken) we screamed UNCLE!!!
South to Salida we went. Salida, a picturesque mountain town surrounded by 14-thousand foot peaks, the Arkansas river flowing through, established in the late 1800’s, a population of 5500 – need I go on?
We loved it. We loved riding our bikes around town and always running into someone we knew. We loved the restaurants, the scenery, the remodeled Victorian houses and the tree lined streets – and oh how we LOVED the people. We loved small town living.
And still we wondered, were we giving up too easy? For a while, I tortured myself. I doubted our choices, and cried WHY? I cocooned into our new life in a new town and soothed my soul by slowly letting go.
Now three months later, I sit in a very different setting then that mountainside oasis, in a small circa 1900 house surrounded by other houses with tiny yards in a town that I have come to adore. I call Salida home yet I know can always return to our mountainside oasis that waits patiently as the weather rolls in and the ravens fly by.