Laura M. LaVoie
Asheville, North Carolina
I am a freelance writer. My husband and I have been together for 18 years and we built our 120 square foot house ourselves. Before quitting to become a writer I worked for 15 years as a recruiter in the Temporary staffing industry. Because of the tiny house I was able to reduce my expenses and leave that career to do something I have always wanted to do. We also do a lot of traveling. And we have a 12 year old cat named Piglet who has her own website, 9 Lives in 120 Square Feet.
How I found Simplicity:
Both of us developed the values to live simply over time and together. I like to quote Henry David Thoreau and say we “Live Deliberately.”
About 11 years ago we moved to Atlanta, Georgia because of my husband’s job. We did what we thought we were supposed to – we bought a nice house in the suburbs. The house was 2700 square feet and we were excited about our plans with it. We would throw parties all the time and build a home theater. We did do those things but they didn’t fulfill us. I was stressed because of a job I didn’t love and because of a large home to maintain.
A friend introduced us to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, then owned by Jay Shafer, and we knew immediately that we wanted to build one of those. We owned some land near Asheville and started traveling there on weekends to build the house. Because of our lives back in Atlanta it took us about three years to build just on weekends. During that time we sold our large house and downsized into a 900 square foot apartment, the first of our purging exercises. We lived there for two years while we finished the house and finally were able to move in last May.
How Living Simply has changed me:
Simplifying our lives changed everything. As I mentioned, building our tiny house allowed for me to leave my full time job because my cost of living changed dramatically. Now I do the work I love and do it on my own schedule. Not having a lot of stuff cured me from some of my less desirable habits – the tiny house is never cluttered because everything has its own space and we’re never overwhelmed by our things. The most unexpected benefit of living tiny for me was more engagement. We started becoming a part of our community more. When I was working and we were living in a bigger house I would come home after a long day and not want to go out – I would just sit in front of the television watching anything that was on. Now we find ourselves getting involved.
A bit about my future:
We like to live every day to the fullest so if there is something I want to do “eventually” I start doing it now. I am working on a book that should be out by the end of April. I have another couple of ideas in the works. Eventually we would love to build a tiny house rental community in our area but that will take time and planning with the city government, but we think it is quite possible here.
As I mentioned I like to use the term “Live Deliberately,” to describe my simpler life. The entire quote is; “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” This sums up what I believe is necessary to live a fully examined life. I try to share my simple living experience through my blog and help people along the way.
Follow Laura’s extraordinary life here: 120squarefeet.com