For those of you who like to cleanse, smudge, or anything of that matter; you will know exactly what I mean when I say, I just feel like a need to smudge my whole life, cleansing all the energies in and around me. We have a major update to announce.. Though we are almost finished with the tiny house, we have decided to change our path of focus! We will be selling the tiny home as is and leaving the country on an open-ended international journey! The goal and purpose is very similar to our motives behind the tiny home build, basically we want to learn more sustainable practices, live more freely, enjoy more time together, and see all that we can! We will be WWOOFing as we travel, for those of you who have never heard of WWOOF, it stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, check out their website by clicking here. In short, we will be hopping from farm to farm, as well as hopping from country to country. Most European countries only require you to obtain a visa if you’re stay will exceed 3 months, our plan is to stay in each country just short of 3 months in an effort to avoid the hassle of applying for visas. Hopefully, everything will go as planned and the whole thing will be like riding off into the sunset. Read More
One of our most recent adventures was to Big Sur, one of our all time favorite retreats! Everything about that place is breathtaking, no matter which direction you travel (inland or towards the coast), you cannot go wrong. Big Sur’s landscape is unlike any other. With lush rolling hills coming out of the valley, patches of dense coastal redwood forests, and the cascading Big Sur river winding down the hills and diving off of cliffs to empty into the beautiful big blue. If you’re lucky enough, depending on the time of year, you can hike through the magical redwood forests enjoying the presence of a wide variety of blooming wild flowers & the smell of native sage. Even from the highway, which has wide panoramic views, it is possible to spot a whale or two breaching to say hello!
Lets touch on the local activities & dining. There are many tourist spots to stop off and enjoy a very pricey lunch along the cliff side, although they do offer spectacular views, none of them truly live up to the price point. If you are traveling on a budget, or even if you’re not on a tight budget and just want to implement a little bit of romance, a coastal picnic is difficult to beat, especially during sunset. Our method is to find a nice/private spot to pull of the highway and hike a short distance away from the road, usually we travel with a propane camping stove & a hiking backpack full of cooking supplies (more about that in a later post, how to travel & eat good food). You can do your grocery shopping in Monterey, if you are coming from the north. Even if you don’t happen to travel with a mini-stove like we do (Stefen is a chef so we don’t miss any opportunities for a delicious meal), you can grab sandwiches or something of that matter, it really doesn’t take much to make you feel blissful out there.
Hiking trails in Big Sur are like a gold mine, every trail is gorgeous with various geographical qualities. On a hot summer day the Gorge us a great place to refresh your soul, located inside of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Once you arrive at the park it is easy to find the correct trail as it is called Gorge Trail. The hike itself is not for the faint of heart, you will travel upstream through the (shallow) river at certain points, as well as crossing over giant boulders using both hands and feet, depending on your personal journey you may even cross a few log bridges. We have seen young children around the ages 8+ who have made it up there before, so don’t be too intimidated by the boulders & cold water. Once you arrive at the gorge, there will be no question whether you’ve made it to the correct destination. There is even bigger boulders surrounding the swimming hole, as well as fallen logs that now act as waterfall dams. If you are the adventuring type you may choose to swim across the gorge to the far side and take a chance with a 20′ jump into the swimming hole. *please note that water levels change throughout the year, and it may not always be safe to jump from rocks*
Another fantastic hike is at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (not the same as Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, which is further north), there are two trails that will blow your mind. First is the easy trail, anyone can make this hike out to see the waterfall, making it’s way through palm trees & rocks to the beachy cute little cove down below (sadly, there is no access to this beach). Another great trail for the semi-experienced hiker is called Ewoldsen. The start of the trail takes your through the moist forest floor where there are flowing creeks that have cute wooden bridges to cross over (you’ll definitely want to get a picture for Instagram, but don’t worry, you’re just getting started). As you progress on the trail all of a sudden you will begin your ascent up a steep & winding path through the redwoods. As your hiking try to take your mind off of the slope and enjoy the wild flowers and sun rays shooting through the tree limbs, yogic breathing helps too 🙂 You will start to approach the top of the hill, the flora and fauna changes as you get closer to the ocean, it becomes a little more arid towards the top as well. As you make your way through the final uphill climbs, you will be heavily rewarded with a view so panoramic you can almost see the curvature of the earth. It’s like the cherry on top of a scrumptuous cake you’ve been slowly nibbling out of. -Wait Big Sur isn’t like a cake, I’m just hungry. On that note, Big Sur is by far one of the most majestic places in California, if not the whole world. Go there, just go.
So I’ve noticed, as I’m sure you all have, that the adult coloring books are really making a break through.. It’s quite cute to see grown ups using a little bit of creativity and releasing a lot of stress through art. I won’t be the first to tell you, or maybe I am, that zoning out and doodling, coloring, sketching, or anything of that matter is extremely healthy for the mind. So this post is dedicated to shedding some light on the novice (or expert) artist that lives within you.
A disclaimer, please don’t think that I am dissing the coloring books, if you enjoy coloring between the lines without having to draw the lines, that is fine by me; furthermore, I believe the coloring books are a great trend because it’s causing grown-ups to realize that it’s okay to spend some time doing things that give you peace of mind, whatever that may be. Now, I am personally in love with creating mandala artwork.. When you look at mandala’s the first thing that usually comes to mind is the amount of detail & precision, while that is an accurate observation, mandala’s are actually incredibly easy to create. As with anything, of course there are some great artists out there creating geometric artwork that is far from easy, appreciate that, and also toss that expectation to the way side when you consider trying this for yourself.
Our next order of business is to stategize a framing plan that will enable us to build our little home without worrying about the whole thing crumbling apart.. Now wouldn’t that be interesting? Imagine… the first test drive and the whole thing folds like a rhombus…. haha, no, that will not be us. Once again, we are ever so fortunate to have a design team behind us that is completely free of charge, since after all it is my dad. Our plan of attack is to add a frame to the top of the existing trailer structure, basically two box shapes with cross members tying it all together. The first thing we need is the material.
In this scenario, we are blessed, since my family owns a structural steel fabrication shop, we were able to order all the material at wholesale cost. Essentially the material required is tube steel (also known as HSS, hollow structural steel, by those in the architecture world), additionally we are ordering 1 single I beam (self explanatory) and we will leave it exposed and unpainted as the support for the loft. Basically when you look directly at the loft you will see the beam in the very front, it will naturally acquire some rust, which is an effortless way to achieve that *rust*ic look 🙂
My little brother,Robby, who is actually not so little, will be doing the majority of the welding, and oh boy, there is quite a lot to be done. Robby is 18 years old, just graduated from high school and is currently spending his days working in the shop until he figures out his next step. He is an amazing artist, particularly graffiti & mural work, and is interested in starting community college to work towards an art degree. Meanwhile, he just got certified to weld here in the shop, I am a proud sister. I always tell Robby that I wouldn’t want to share a face with anyone else.. as you can see, we basically look like male/female versions of each other, although neither of us have particularly androgynous faces in my opinion. See for yourself….
And so we begin with the welding… just a side note, Robby is wearing casual clothes I guess because it’s weekend work and he doesn’t mind ruining his nice clothes and shoes with all the metal grease? All that aside, this welding should only take a week or two if we work the weekends. After the structural steel framing is complete, we will transfer the trailer out to my grandpa’s house to finish building it.. mostly for convenience since we live 3 min down the road from my grandpa and 30 min away from the steel shop. We couldn’t be more excited to be moving along on this journey to complete our most massive art project ever!!! As we’ve begun working on this, we’ve realized that the trailer we got is actually quite large, which will make the transition into tiny living easier of course, but it will pose a challenge learning to tow a trailer of this size with ease. It measures 30 feet from tongue to end.
That is all for now, thank you for your time, and may your day be full of good vibes!
◇DO ALL THINGS WITH LOVE◇
» This is where the fun really begins! «
We purchased this trailer, although it looks a little rough around the edges, there is no doubt that we can make this work. The sketchiest thing about buying this thing, is that there is no paperwork other than a bill of sale… no title, no registration, no VIN #. So it’s easy to say that we went out on a limb with deciding to get this one. Like I mentioned in the previous post, the price was right as well as the fact that this trailer had a past life as a travel trailer, so we know that it’s capable of upholding the weight that we are going to build on top of it!
Our first step is to rip and pry off all the existing material that is sitting on top of the trailer frame, we need to get this thing down to it’s bones!
So first thing we did was bust out a couple of crow bars & some nail pullers.. As we started ripping up the existing flooring, we were quickly disgusted with the amount of black mold growing underneath the linoleum. Well, the nasty mold was just the beginning… As we continued prying up all the wood we found countless spider nests, it’s like they had a whole little community living inside of there! Ew 🙁 Amongst all the dead creepy crawlers, there was also an unfortunate little mouse, who now resembled more of a pancake-like quality. I knew in that moment that this would be the worst phase of building, inhaling spider web dust, black mold, & pulling out soggy fiberglass insulation.
After 2 days of prying everything apart, we were finally able to see the trailer’s frame that was tucked underneath it all. Up until that point we were just crossing our fingers, while whispering to our lucky stars, in hopes that there was a sturdy foundation to work with under all the junk. I guess our gut instinct was not too far off, because sure enough, the trailer frame resembled something like-new, and we were able to get a water tank & grey water tank from the existing trailer too- that was an added bonus.
All in all, we took our chances on this trailer and we were so happy that we manifested for it all to work out just the way it was supposed to. After our first weekend pumping grease out of our elbow joints, we were more excited than ever to begin building not only our future, but our home ♥
Our next step is to strengthen the trailer, and prepare for the floor framing. Marina’s dad, Robert, owns a structural steel shop, so that’s a huge resource for us! The first building phase will be taking place in that shop, we will create a frame from hollow structural steel (HSS), which will be welded in the shop by Marina’s younger brother Robby, who just got his papers to be a certified welder, yay, go Robby! Stay tuned for the next phase, we’ll be posting cool welding pictures, who doesn’t think that the UV light looks awesome and magical?!
◇DO ALL THINGS WITH LOVE◇
◇Our story begins at the end◇
The end of life as we knew it, because from here on out everything will undoubtedly be different.
We’ve been relentlessly searching for our purpose and direction in life. After relocating to Sacramento, we moved into a house, signed a year lease, and started spending most of our income on rent… About halfway through our lease (around February) something clicked. All of a sudden we realized we don’t have to continue life this way. We don’t have to keep working in order to just survive. We can create an alternative path where we can truly live life free of suffering, debt, mortgage, rent, & utility bills. Who wouldn’t want that? You must be thinking… “okay, these people have a few screws loose, this is gibberish, that lifestyle just doesn’t exist!” We’re here to tell you it does!!! And by the way, we do have a few screws loose, but that’s okay, it just makes everything a little more interesting.
There is no limit to your visionary ideas that can become reality, or your ability to manifest true happiness. We have decided to take full responsibility for our own happiness, instead of waiting around for something better to happen, we are taking the initiative to redesign our entire life. To realize your self-potential and actualize that power is definitely the greatest thing you can ever do for yourself. If every single individual decided to hold themselves accountable for creating their own happiness, we would have a consciousness shift on our hands. Now.. with that said, is it realistic that every single person out there is going to start skipping around gleaming with feelings of self-actualization??? No. But again, the notion here is to focus on what YOU can do, instead of fixating on the circumstances that surround your life. The key (we think) is to realize that your life & the circumstances that surround your life are separate entities, they are not interdependent.
As you experience life, there is expected results for certain actions & life milestones… for example when you graduate college, it is expected that you will be happy & successful in your chosen career and that your wealth will continue to grow, buy your first house [pay it off for the next 30+ years], water your lawn, start a book club, wash your car every Saturday, take out your trash every Wednesday night (never thinking twice about all the contents of your trash bin, and where it ends up Thursday afternoon), and of course you will have achieved the american dream, just like that. This is what everyone wants right?… WRONG. Which brings us to this very moment in time.
This beaut is the starting point of our tiny home, we hunted long and hard for the right trailer, although you may be wondering… how is that horrendous piece of junk the right trailer? This particular trailer happened to meet not only our budget, but the weight limit criteria as well. We are very fortunate to have connections in the steel industry, so with a little elbow grease and a lot of prying, it should be no problem to straighten this baby out. The trailer shown here is a sad used-to-be travel trailer that got in a wreck, now all that remains is the flooring with a trailer frame under there somewhere. To be continued…..
We’re guessing that if you’re here on our blog, reading this right now, chances are you actually do want to understand the sustainable lifestyle movement. Well… prepare to fall down the rabbit hole with us, as we explore this alternative lifestyle. Here you will find our our revelations [and challenges] of tiny living, blurbs about sustainability, DIY home crafts, yummy [mostly healthy] recipes, & documentation of our endless adventures.