My Year In A Yurt, God’s Blessings While Living in 450 Not-So-Square Feet! Is Jen McGeehan’s true story of how she and her husband, Pat, made some very drastic changes in their life to free themselves from debt. Facing foreclosure and bankruptcy they left a beautiful home in Big Bear, California and followed a dream to live on the big island Hawaii.
Having made friends on previous trips to the islands they were offered a chance to caretake some land with very low rent if they were willing to live in a 450 square foot canvas yurt. Jen and Pat took up the offer and agreed to live in the yurt for a year.
Jen, being a horse and goat lover, insisted on bringing her pets with her and thus opened up even more challenges. She learned that moving animals via plane is very challenging. Facing the challenge of the move with the animals Jen’s close relationship with God is stressed throughout the book.
When they arrive and get settled they have to remodel the outside bathroom, get to know there neighbors, and find someone to watch the animals as Jen’s father has a stroke and she has to go back to the mainland several times.
Learning to live in the round in such small quarters took some getting used to. The yurt is one large room and Jen’s work requires that she be on the phone at early hours and Pat sleeps late because his back pain does not allow him good rest in the earlier hours of the night. Pat and Jen are both snorers and each partner figures out unique ways to deal with this annoyance.
There are many other challenges along the way, and I believe you will enjoy sharing them with Jen and Pat as you read the book.
If you are looking for a spiritual and inspirational book about living in Hawaii in a yurt Jen’s book is for you.
It will be available on Amazon April 29th, but Jen have a link through her publisher whereby it can be ordered immediately. That link is:
Jen has developed a three-way partnership with Habitat For Humanity (West Hawaii) and Yurts of Hawaii (Volcano, HI). They are introducing the yurt to the HFH family of dwellings, and the very first one will be on the Big Island. It is “all in the book.” Folks can get on board in a variety of ways – volunteer, donate, etc. Check out: www.yurtsofhawaii.com
I have had the privilege of reviewing a new book entitled The Map of Enough by Molly Caro May. I really enjoyed this book and wanted to share it with you.
Molly grew up in a nomadic family, moving from one foreign country to another. She developed her identity from this nomadic life and in her mind never wanted to settle down.
However, things changed when she was nearing the age of 30. In 2009, Molly and her fiancé Chris had the opportunity to move onto 107 acres in the Gallatin Valley in Montana. Initially living in a cabin her folks owned they both dreamed of building a Mongolian yurt and staying on the land for a year and than taking their home and moving on.
Thinking it would only take a couple of months to build the yurt the couple immediately set forth to transforming an old garage into a wood shop and then started collecting and constructing the materials. As Molly soon found out construction takes much longer than planned. The actual time to build ended up being around five months instead of two.
They took on some real challenges as the yurt site is far up on a hill and they had to move all the materials up by hand, including a very heavy wood stove. Getting help from their neighbors and new friends they accomplished these tasks and move on to others.
Living among the tall grass, deep woods, and wild animals opened up new challenges for Molly and she started feeling a real connection to the land and place. Her book shares this experience and the changes she goes through as she adjusts to her new surroundings. Once the yurt is completed and assembled she heads off to New York in a snow storm to complete the plans for the wedding. Molly soon finds out how anxious she is to get back to her simpler life in the yurt.
When Molly returns she turns to exploring the 107 acres and getting even more acquainted with her surroundings. She spends her days exploring and writing and figuring out how they can afford to extend their stay past the first year. She puts in a garden. Chris is developing his woodworking business and she is writing.
Join Molly on her journey and transformation as she embraces the land and living in one place.
Five years later Molly and Chris still live in their yurt in Montana. They now have a beautiful daughter and are hoping to stay on “the land” many more years.
by Steve Reed
Surely Yurts was established in 2009. I was living in a 20’ yurt in Jeffersonville, Vermont at the time very near to Smugglers’ Notch when a couple friends asked if I could build a yurt for them. They liked our setup so much that they wanted their own yurt to start a new life together focused around a massive garden, a small farm, and producing and serving food at the community kitchen (near Barre, Vermont).
Our First Yurt:
The first yurt we built for a friends in 2009:
After building that first yurt I loved the work so much that I closed my photography studio in town, changed my business plan, and went into the yurt manufacturing industry. I started by designing & building a workshop, traveling and learning from many other yurt builders, building a website, and marketing our product.
Link to recent article about our workshop written by the www.yurtforum.com
Our Workshop in Taberg, New York:
Now in 2014 Surely Yurts has a crew of several part time helpers and one full time manager, we have developed several proprietary technologies and built over twenty five custom yurts for folks all over the North East and I’m proud to say that I now make a full-time living as a professional yurt builder. Last year, I bought a used u-haul box truck for deliveries (included in all sales), and now traveling workshops. We install solar panels and rainwater collection systems for folks and share whatever knowledge we have about our experience living off the grid for the past 5 years.
I currently live in a ten foot yurt at the workshop, but have just bought a ten acre patch of land where we’ll be putting up a 20’ tri-wall yurt connected to two 10’ yurts for my new home this year. I’ve always wanted a round home ever since I was a boy. When I heard about yurts I was already living a nomadic lifestyle traveling for education and so on, so it was a natural fit. When I began living in a yurt with that wide open view of the sky in the center and all that natural light in a round room. I just fell in love with the structure and have devoted all of my time for years now living in yurts and trying to spread the word and help others get into yurts if that is in their dreams too.
My Ten foot Yurt:
This Spring, I will be teaching a 3 day yurt building workshop (Date: TBD begin~May 30) hosted by : The Local Living Venture group in Canton, NY.
Participants will learn to build a 10′ yurt from raw materials and by doing so, hopefully be encouraged to create their own yurts or personal building projects. Please visit the link for more info & to enroll.
Build a Yurt Workshop
Local Living Ventures group in Canton, New York
The group has brought me in to teach a 3-day workshop where we will install a 20′ yurt for the members of the group whilst concurrently building a 10′ yurt from scratch to encourage students to build their own. Yurt building, camping, food, art projects, and long term off-grid living discussion will all be present for this weekend of camaraderie!
Come help make this thing happen! You will learn about the history, uses and realistic expectations for yurt living, and “how-to” build one yourself!
There are lots of projects that need helping hands – planning, building, decorating (beautiful arts project for Mongolian designs!) and much more.
Join us to create beautiful, sustainable, and move-able housing we can all love!
A full weekend of camaraderie, Date To Be Announced. It will be late in May
Construction Supervisor is master yurt builder Steve Reed of Surely Yurts
- Two levels of participation:
- Camping on site, meals provided: Amount to be determined
- Day Tripper rate: Amount to be determined
Please indicate your particular skill level with construction, arts, etc. (all levels welcome!) and your dietary and camping preferences.
Go to this link to register and scroll down.