Two summers ago, Darin Zaruba, a seasoned veteran in the modular home and park model industry but a relative newcomer in the tiny house movement, had an idea of hosting a celebration of tiny houses. He initially dubbed it the “Sturgis of the tiny house world” and expected five or six-thousand people to show up. In a coup de force and sheer testament to the power of the movement an estimated 45,000 people passed through the entry gates. It was like nothing anyone had seen before. This past August, Darin hosted the second Tiny House Jamboree complete with over 45 tiny houses, dozens of vendors, 20 guest speakers, food trucks, and a guest list of nearly 60,000 people. It was awesome, and we were two of those guests.

In preparing for our 50-city U.S. tour, teaching sustainability in a live / work / play atmosphere, we had examined life on the road in a number of ways. We explored the pros and cons of RVs, van-life, tents, and even hotels. Eventually though we decided the best option for us was going tiny. We had been wooed by the tiny house movement and through our tour we were going to become full-time tiny housers! It didn’t come home to roost though until early August when we found ourselves walking through the gates of the  Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs.

Over the course of the weekend we were treated to some in-depth conversations with builders and vendors alike, representing a multitude of states. We were amazed and motivated by what we saw in these tiny creations. Our heads were exploding with information and our pockets were bulging with business cards. By the end of the weekend though we had decided on the builder we felt most aligned with: 84 Lumber: Tiny Living. Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be talking more about our soon-to-be-home and our experience with 84.

Beyond all of that we came away with 3 things that stick out above all else.

  1. COMMUNITY. The community present at the Jamboree was unlike any we had experienced. People of all walks of life – from all socio-economic, political, racial, and religious, backgrounds – gathering together, united by a singular idea. It was exactly what we had hoped for from this group of new friends and connections.
  2. CREATIVITY. Small domiciles are nothing new and building houses is nothing new. Building small houses (not to mention, putting them on a trailer) requires a new frame of mind; new conceptualization. Builders and contractors have to put their heads together in the spirit of innovation for each build. Even though there were 45+ homes, it seemed as if no two were the same.
  3. SUSTAINABILITY. We quickly realized that the majority of people at the Jamboree weren’t actually tiny home owners. We met a lot of people and what we realized though is that a number of people there were intrigued by the idea of hitching up their home and moving it in order to reduce their overall carbon footprint. We also noticed many were drawing inspiration from some of the ideas and materials presented by companies like ONDUVILLA roofing,  LP SmartSide, Nature’s Head composting toilets, and Backwoods Solar.