Tiny House Blog Welcomes A New Voice

Jody

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.

the boat

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.

tobago cays

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!

DSC_0264DSC_0066

living areaDSC_0159

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.

Guana

You can read more about our adventures on my blog, Where The Coconuts Grow. For all the updates, ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook!

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Trudy - October 17, 2014 Reply

What a great hint of things to come. Do it while you can, be safe, watch out for the Pirates! They are always out there, hopefully they pass you in the night, and you never cross paths. I look forward to your intrigue of travel, living, and surviving this 21st Century of our misplaced ideals on the mainland. What fun, a good escape for us all. Can’t wait to hear about the fish, finding foods that you need for sustenance, and cooking wisely on-board your tiny Home!
Cheers!
Trudy

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Trudy! We do keep our guard up regarding safety onboard. Theft in the middle of the night is not uncommon in the islands, unfortunately. Our two dogs have been doing a great job keeping us safe. Lots more adventures to come 🙂

Becca - October 17, 2014 Reply

Beautiful pictures… and a very inspiring story!

Andrew M. Odom - October 17, 2014 Reply

Welcome Jody. I have admired your writing and your perspective since day one and I am so happy to hear from you on a regular basis in regards to tiny living that some of us may have overlooked altogether. I love the idea that you and Peter are able to see the world without ever leaving home. How cool is that?

Swabbie Robbie - October 17, 2014 Reply

Welcome!

As a sailor who would love to transition to living aboard (my wife – not so much), It will be great to have your perspective on this blog.

It seems to me that living aboard a boat and having a tiny house as a land base is a good combination.

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Swabbie Robbie!! I hope someday your dreams will come true.

    I’ve talked with a lot of cruisers that choose to have a tiny house on land either during our after their time at sea, falling in love with simple living. It definitely makes sense!

Henry - October 17, 2014 Reply

I’m looking forward to your future submissions. I hope you will tell us more about buying the boat without knowing how to sail and your experiences in learning the skill. While some might think that topic falls outside of the tiny house discussion, it is integral to your tiny lifestyle. Best wishes.

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Henry, Glad to hear it! And thank you for the well wishes. I think I know where you’re going with that idea and I will definitely expand on it 🙂 I appreciate the comment and welcome any more ideas you’d like to hear about!

Barbara Kvistad - October 17, 2014 Reply

Welcome, Jody. I’m excited to follow your adventures and get your take on living tiny. Your boat is beautiful — nothing like well made and loved wood in a boat!
It is very awesome that you get to travel w/o leaving home. I’m toying w/the idea of doing the same via a travel trailer on the mainland. However, like Swabbie Robbie, I’d really like a TH base to come home to.
Where do you go/live during hurricane season?

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Thank you Barbara! We truly couldn’t have lucked out with a better boat. She was extremely well-maintained and outfitted for exactly what we wanted. Taking my home with me when I travel has brought more comfort than I ever thought possible. I’m definitely a homebody kind of person so this has allowed me to travel without getting outside my comfort zone of being far away from home 🙂

    We are finishing up the rest of Hurricane Season in Grenada which is far enough South to make a run for it if a system develops in this region. For the most part, it’s considered safe from hurricanes, statistically speaking. We are still living on the boat with our dogs at a lovely anchorage on the Southern coast of Grenada.

Donna - October 17, 2014 Reply

Welcome, I look forward to hearing of your many adventures to come and ideas on how us land locked individuals could perhaps one day accomplish!

Sue - October 17, 2014 Reply

It’s amazing how inspiration goes hand in hand with necessity living aboard a sailboat. A lot of our designs for Hobbitat came from spending time sailing. Check out Friendship Bay, Bequia if you get the chance! All the best to you.

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Sue, Definitely! I’ll check out your site. Thanks for the tip on Bequia… we will get a chance to stop there on our way back North in about a month 🙂

David Remus - October 17, 2014 Reply

Small boats have been used as homes for thousands of years and many of the practical ideas for living on the water can apply to the landlocked as well.

Welcome aboard!

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Hi David, I strongly agree! Some out of necessity and some out of efficiency… there are indeed many great ideas that can benefit both on land and sea 🙂

Steven Pitchford - October 17, 2014 Reply

Is Pete a pro-photographer? Love the photo for your blog face page. Please take me with you! While in the Military in late 60’s in SEA I went sailing with friends, (rented a pilot & tri-mirand) for a weekend and never got over it. I now live in the sonoran desert where water only appears in mirages.
Happy trails,
SteveP

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Hi Steven! He definitely knows how to take great pictures but I’m the one who takes 99% of our photos 🙂 The cover photo on our facebook page was one I took recently in the Tobago Cays. By far my favorite place we’ve visited! Thank you for the compliment as well. I’m far from a pro when it comes to pictures but I’m learning little by little 🙂

    Hats off to you for living in the desert… I’m not sure I could ever be away from the ocean now 🙂

Sqeila - October 17, 2014 Reply

As a commercial fishermans daughter, I am looking forward to reading about your adventures. Something I have always wondered about dogs on boats… are they litter box trained? What do you do?

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Sqeila, We have trained our dogs to ‘go’ on a piece of astro-turn on the aft deck. Its a level area on the back of the boat that easily drains overboard. We have the fake grass tied to green paracord (to prevent staining) and throw it over the side to rinse and agitate in the sea water. The dogs are very regular with eating and potty breaks so that makes it much easier on us. It is labor intensive to climb down the ladder several times a day to get a bucket of salt water for rinsing though. Then, we use a fresh water wash-down hose to lightly rinse the grass so the dogs don’t track saltwater in the boat. Stay tuned for a full detail post on this later 🙂

s - October 17, 2014 Reply

Lovely post.

LOL, I lived in Japan (330 square feet but super built in’s – floor panels life up – storage, so on) – the space was so efficient one lacked for nothing (save for huge floor plans to do this or that but common in Japan and one did that outside). I was coming from NYC – 33 years the TINY was HUGE to me (one learns to have all do triple duty) (built in’s, diner trays so on). It truly amazed me how many did so much with their creativity to make the super small spaces elegant, funny, or beautiful (one person had a small bathroom, the old immigrant housing on the East side – the toilet area the size of a closet so he lined the walls with news paper! Or if you had an apt with the club bath tub in the kitchen many amazing creative solutions – such was the “training” grounds of NYC back then. (no one cared, theater, and other careers were to be made, as long as one had a place to rest one’s head at night).

This NY is long gone btw.

As well my mother grew up on a dairy farm in upstate NY. When we buried her there on what used to be her families farm, my relatives asked if I wanted to see their farm house.

I expected this HUGE space with a barn, but it was a super small house and for 8 people! Tiny as many know is not a new concept…. think early America or many other places around the globe still.

(pirates are indeed a great concern – traveled across the oceans and many pirates still prey on the unsuspecting)

Randi - October 17, 2014 Reply

Welcome Jody!
Can’t wait to learn of all your adventures!

jipsi - October 18, 2014 Reply

Welcome, Jody!
I look forward to seeing more of your words (so far informative, entertaining and – this is so important in today’s world of the oh-so-common-but-annoying ‘text-speak’ (sorry kids) – intelligent!)…
I’m always excited to see more tiny house folk join the community! 😉
Shea

Richard - October 18, 2014 Reply

I lived a good third of my 72 years living on boats (my own and ones I ran for other people). Back in ’92 I took off in a small, 26′ sailboat from Fort Lauderdale and spent nine months playing around in Mexico, Belize and the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. And the nicest part of it all was that I was home every night.

Richard - October 18, 2014 Reply

If you come to Panama you need to visit Bocas del Toro. Let me know if you do, I’m only a four hour bus ride away and would love to meet you all.

Al Felker - October 18, 2014 Reply

Welcome ashore (sort of) Judy. We follow you on FB as well. Look forward to your blogging here as well now. We live on a 45′ “power boat” in the PNW, so not sail savvy.

    Jody Pountain - October 18, 2014 Reply

    Al, too funny 🙂 Yes, I know you’ve been following our adventures from the very beginning! Thank you! I’m also originally from the PNW and wasn’t sail-savvy either until we bought the boat. Power or sail, boats are tiny homes too 🙂 Cheers!

Betty Ann MacKinnon - October 19, 2014 Reply

Am from Can.( Maritimes) & looking forward to your posts !! Good Luck in your new endeavour !!

Christina Nellemann - October 20, 2014 Reply

Welcome Jody! Your boat and your photos are beautiful. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts.

aukje - October 21, 2014 Reply

hello Jody, Nice to see and read about sailing on your on ship. We are living on two ship`s . One is a sailingship, the other a motorship. Tiny homes but everything we need is there. Because my mother is still in good shape, although she is 93 years old, we stay in the Netherlands. But in the future our planes are going to France with the motorboat, and sailing will be with friends who have the intentions to sail. On facebook we have a side named boatie people, what we hope is that people with boates can switse and so see other places and country`s.Your side did make me rite this comment, living in your own inviremont,and having no needs for big things, also free to go is the altimite way of having control of your live.hope we see more of your adventure`s. i`ll stee in touch.

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