HELLO Tiny House Community! My name is Jody Pountain.
I am absolutely thrilled to introduce myself as the newest contributing writer for Tiny House Blog! You may remember seeing my articles in issues 16 and 19 of Tiny House Magazine, as well as being referenced in Andrew Odom’s fascinating Tiny House Tub series about boats and Tiny House History (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Hopefully you’ll find an inkling of inspiration in my writing and photos to learn more about my style of ‘tiny’ and follow your own path to simple living.
The ‘tiny’ concept tugs at my heartstrings every time I visit this site. The eloquent design and breathtaking simplicity of tiny homes all over the world both speak in such volume compared to the small physical spaces they create. I see rustic homes in the country and contemporary homes in the city that could melt me into a puddle on the floor. I love how living with less can do so much more for my well-being. The stress factor crumples and suddenly there is so much more to appreciate in the world around me now that I have found my own tiny house.
Several years ago I lived in a 4,000 sf custom-built home on 20 acres. Bordering the coast in a rustic area of the Pacific Northwest, the views were incredible. There were horses, chickens, 9 goats, 6 dogs, a giant barn, pastures and a lovely vegetable garden. The house itself was gorgeous but often felt empty. Uncontrollable circumstances carried me from a wealth of space in Washington to a concrete jungle in Southern California where I began to learn about sustainable living and ‘green’ building. I went on to further my career in the AEC industry and earned my credentials as a LEED AP BD+C (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional with a specialty in Building Design and Construction).
Involuntary adjustment to a fraction of the living area I was used to was difficult in the beginning, but after awhile the amount of weekly upkeep was much less daunting than it had been before. Electric bills were smaller and chores were completed faster. Downsizing to a smaller house and the shedding of years worth of ‘stuff’ prepared me for my next move into a 600 sf studio apartment in the heart of Orange County, California. Little did I know at the time, I would soon pack up again to begin a journey of a lifetime.
I met Peter in the Spring of 2011 when my job brought me to San Diego. Our weekends were often spent camping in the remote hillsides of the Eastern Sierras and the deserted beaches of Baja California, Mexico. We talked about someday buying a boat and travelling the world to reach the best diving, fishing and surfing. This led us to follow what we call the 80-80-80 rule and we eventually decided that our passion is to go Where The Coconuts Grow, in a tropical paradise.
Living aboard a sailboat with our two dogs, Gunner and Betsy, and all our belongings seemed to be the best and most comfortable way to make it all happen. After Peter’s Mother lost her battle to Breast Cancer, the pieces fell into place for us to begin our journey in honor of her. Though we knew nothing about sailing, we bought a boat in Florida, named her Mary Christine and prepared to sail away. Our belongings had been reduced to only the essentials and we quickly learned that we didn’t need any more than that. Within days of moving aboard, our new ‘tiny house’ felt like HOME!
In February of this year, we left Florida and made our way to the Bahamas. We have since traveled almost 3,000 nautical miles through the Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spanish Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and finally Grenada. The best part? We brought our ENTIRE HOUSE with us!! We never get homesick because we have everything we need with us at all times. We get to sleep in our own bed at night instead of hotels or hostels as we continue our travels island-hopping through a dozen different countries.
After Hurricane Season ends, we will travel back up the Caribbean Island chain as far North as BVI to see many of the places we missed the first time around. Eventually we will head to Panama, pass through the Panama Canal and someday we plan to sail to the islands of the South Pacific. Wherever we end up, I know this much for sure… living on the ocean and relying solely on the systems within my floating tiny house has given me a whole new appreciate for simple living. I’m excited to share my perspective with you as I travel around in search of surf, sun, sand and serenity.