Bonnielee Cuevas: It is on those rare occasions where we feel the fear and we find the courage to overcome them anyway, that we find our brave heart. It is during those instances that we find our true strength and freedom. Tiny house living is a brave step into minimalism. A movement that is frowned upon, ridiculed and completely misunderstood. Yet, so many are finding themselves enamored with letting go of the clutter of stuff, people, places and things and returning to a simpler time where experiences mean more than tangible wealth.
I was a divorced, single mom who decided to leave my lucrative career that spanned over a decade as an Entrepreneur in the Fashion and Fitness industries. I moved from the Empire state down to the Sunshine state, hoping to build this tiny house dream for my son and I. What I found in this sunny paradise was a partner whom also shared my dreams. After a whirlwind romance we united and became this familial trio. We found the courage to live tiny was an empowering journey and we embarked on it together. We left our lucrative careers, our traditional lives, purchased 15 acres in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee, 2000 feet above elevation, started a homestead and began building a tiny house. It was the most incredible experience of our lives and continues to be even until this day. We found that when we let go of the “stuff”, we found ourselves in the midst of a happier life, full of experiences we have yet to take for granted.
(Bonnielee’s Tiny House)
My son, my domestic partner and I spend everyday together. We work on the homestead (also known as a sustainable farm) everyday together. We tend to our rescue animals. We work on our tiny house. We travel. We have meals together. We play games. We take nature-filled walks. We play down by the creek. We homeschool. We take in the night sky full of stars. We grow our own food. We have experiences that have inadvertently changed who we are in the most incredible ways. It has forced us to slow down. It has given us an attitude of gratitude. It has enlightened our souls. I have fallen more in love with my partner. He has become my best friend. I have become a better mother and have this incredible love and respect for my son. I have also found the freedom I searched for most of my life. I have become the woman I was meant to be and I could not love myself more. We didn’t find happiness in a big house with fancy cars. But in a tiny house hidden in the majestic mountains of Tennessee.
Lora Higgins: In many ways my journey to go Tiny was anything but courageous, at least I didn’t feel very courageous when I made the leap…I actually felt terrified. I try to share this part of the story, because often it is easy to see someone living the tiny house lifestyle and assume they had no doubts, no fears, and no reservations. I can tell you from my experience nothing can be further from the truth! Big change is scary and it does take courage to uncover your passions and follow your dream.
Most of us are creatures of habit and resistant to change. Those traits serve us well when we are living fulfilling and meaningful lives, but if our life gets out of balance those same traits can become a trap. I was in that trap before I downsized. Living a normal life with a townhouse that was too big, a job I hated and a life that felt like it was out of balance and out of control. I was miserable and I knew I needed to change, but that change was tough and it was scary.
(Lora’s Tiny House)
I didn’t feel courageous when I told my friends and family I was considering going tiny, I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t feel courageous when I got rid of 90% of what I owned in a little less than two months, I felt drained. I didn’t feel courageous when my tiny house got delivered to me, I felt terrified. I tell you those things things not to make you panic, but to help you understand that the fear you are probably feeling about this transition is normal!
I can also tell you that despite the fear and the occasional panic attack (yes, I had a couple during my journey!), that I still knew I was making the right choice for me. I knew why I wanted to downsize, because I wanted fewer bills and less stuff to weigh me down. I knew how the tiny house fit into my long-term life plan, permanent home for a while and a retirement escape in the future. And I could tell you why it made me excited, because I knew it would help me live a more intentional and fulfilling life. Knowing those things are what gave me the courage to persevere on this journey even during the moments of doubt and resistance.
I have loved my downsizing journey and I love helping other people live more intentional lives. My tiny house has opened up opportunities in terms of time and money I didn’t have before, and it has given me a platform to share my story with others, which is what I am truly passionate about. And while I wouldn’t have said I was courageous when I started this journey, I can tell you that I now know that I am courageous for following my dreams. My lifestyle change took courage, determination and faith and it has been one of the best decisions of my life.
Bonnielee Cuevas, is a Holistic and Self –Love Coach. She is an avid speaker and sought out expert on Tiny Houses, Minimalism and Sustainability. She and her family own a nonprofit foundation where they support important humanitarian causes that affect our society today through their Tiny HOMEstead, where they also provide educational workshops and retreats on minimalism. Bonnielee continues to teach and empower women to release negative thinking, achieve their dreams and become their most authentic self through holistic and minimalistic living. You can find more information at www.BonnieleeCuevas.com and more on her family’s foundation at www.OurTinySafeHaven.com
Lora Higgins, is a blogger, coach & public speaker dedicated to helping others uncover their dreams and pursue their passions. She lives in her tiny house with her dog Rocket and is loving her new found freedom. You can connect with her at www.lorahiggins.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lora Higgins and Bonnielee Cuevas met at the Georgia Tiny House Festival and through the Tiny House movement. They continue to work together as new friends and as experts to empower other women through incredibly life changing workshops and events.