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The current, cozy lil home of Kristin and her fiance.

Interview With Kristin Allan (Heart to heart about life in the moHo, minimalism, and technology).

Thanks Kristin for being our guest over here at the Simple Life Celebration Blog! For those that don’t know, your blog Along the Heart Trail: Tales From a Tiny Home on Wheels was started after you purchased a motor home and moved up North. I was ecstatic to be delving into your mind and hearing all about your story, reasons behind your adventure and minimalism!  

The current, cozy lil home of Kristin and her fiance.
The current, cozy lil home of Kristin and her fiance.
  • What prompted you to start your blog?
Hi ladies! I’m so flattered that you have asked me to be a guest.  I first got the idea to start a blog from a colleague who thought that I had a lot of knowledge to share with the world. That was about a year and a half ago.  I kind of laughed at him and said thanks, but my life isn’t that interesting. Who would read my rants and ramblings anyway? It took me a year and a half to get the nerve up to create a blog domain and write the first post. My biggest fear was that I might scare off some friends and acquaintances with my bold opinions on the state of our world. I decided that speaking my truth was more important than what others think of me.
  •  How would you describe yourself?
This is a broad question.  I would say that I’m a black sheep. I feel like I see the world a bit differently, even since a very young age.  I have always been observant of my surroundings and of other people and have a strong curiosity for human psychology and what makes people tick. More importantly, what makes people happy? A year and a half ago, I would have called myself a “people pleaser”.  Now, I have reformed myself to be a “ME pleaser” first, and when I have left over time and energy, I still love to help others to find their own happiness and purpose.
  •     Can you tell our readers how you came to the decision of leaving the town that you were in and your business to live in the MoHo?
In a nutshell, I was an owner/operator of a successful consignment clothing store in a small town.  My business partner, who was also my life partner, and I parted ways and it just didn’t make sense for us to co-own the business…after an additional year of trying to tell myself that it would work out to continue to run the business together. So I sold my shares in the business and was looking for a new life path. Enter my fiancé. He and I were both searching for more meaning in our lives. We didn’t know what we were looking for until we found each other. He’s a black sheep too. In a really good way. Last Christmas, a family member re-gifted us a book about minimalist living that we thoroughly enjoyed. It prompted us to downsize our lives and buy a 1982 26’ motorhome. We wanted to experience living with as little as possible in a tiny space to see if people really need all of the STUFF that we seem to covet in our society.  A bonus of living in a motor home is that it’s 100% portable and allows us to be adventurous.
  •       Was it difficult to minimize your belongings even further to fit in your cozy home on wheels? Have you always considered yourself to be a minimalist?
To be honest, it was pretty simple for both of us to get rid of our extra stuff.  We were both pretty minimalist when we met so it wasn’t a huge leap.  I certainly wasn’t raised with a minimalist mindset.  As a child, I had all of the material STUFF that I could have ever asked for.  But, strangely enough, our family was still not happy most of the time. I grew up on the east coast of the US and when the opportunity arose for me to move to Alberta in 2004, I left everything I owned behind, except a carry-on size suitcase with a few articles of clothing and some toiletries. I would say that was pretty minimalist, I just didn’t know it at the time.  After a few years, my mom asked if I wanted her to send any of my STUFF to Alberta.  I said “I have no idea what I left behind, so probably not. Thanks for asking. Please donate what you can to a charity.” The things that I thought were so important had become irrelevant.  Fast forward to 2011, when my ex and I separated. I left with my clothing, a few books, a yoga mat, a bed and my trusty ol’ VW Jetta. Literally, that was IT.  Having so little feels SO freeing.
  •   Do you miss any of your belongings?
Nope.  I couldn’t even tell you what I parted with, other than a bed.  I really enjoyed re-gifting some items that I knew others would appreciate having. Living in our tiny home has been like a chastity belt for purchasing or accepting any new STUFF. It’s awesome.
  •     What advice would you give for anyone else considering pairing down their ‘stuff’?
Open your closets and storage spaces. Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself by tackling everything at once.  If you find yourself thinking “WOW! I forgot I had this thing”, ditch it.  If it something has an inch of dust on it, ditch it. If you haven’t used it or worn it in at least a year, ditch it.  Even the stuff that you feel a sentimental attachment to, or feel an obligation to keep just because you are worried that the person who gave it to you might be offended if they discover you no longer have that THING…ditch it.  Then do a happy dance. Tell everyone that you are on a mission to live a simpler life.  How can they be upset when they see how happy and light you are?!
  •     Is there anything that you were not anticipating when you made this move?
Hmmmm. We have had to rely on the kindness of friends and family for showering. The shower in our motor home is VERY teenie. So we use it to house our drinking water bottle and some extra items that didn’t fit in the small cupboards.  Also, the oven is so small that you could only bake 6 muffins, so I do baking in real ovens.  Oh, also, the motor home guzzles fuel.  So we find ourselves being very calculated about how far and how often we move her around.
  •     How do you think technology has changed the world? Is it necessary? How do you think it has affected our relationships?
Haha. I will try to keep this answer brief, because I could write a novel about this. Technology is good. In some ways. I think there have been a lot of amazing breakthroughs that are saving lives and helping raise the bar for our quality of life on earth.  On the flip side, my personal view is that a lot of the gadgets that are being pushed on us as modern conveniences are actually degrading our quality of life and the human connections that we all need to thrive. The next time you’re in a public place, like a mall or restaurant, take a few minutes to sit quietly and observe others.  Chances are that you will see people ignoring those they are with to attend to their texts and Facebook messages.  Everyone is distracted by the beeps and buzzing of their phones and other devices. I think people are forgetting what really matters in life. The people. I think smart phones and the like give us all a false sense of connection.  I am a huge advocate for TECHNOLOGY-FREE days.  Make an agreement with yourself and family members to turn off all phones, beepers, buzzers, computers and the TV and go outside. Do something together that will create memories. When you go out for coffee with a friend, turn your phone off and hide it so it won’t be tempting. Life is too short to miss the special moments.
  •  If you could encourage people to read one book what would it be and why?
I have read a lot of awesome books in the last few years, but I think the one that I am re-reading right now is amazing.  It’s one of the books that first inspired me to start my blog. It’s called Turning to One Another by Margaret Wheatley.  She brilliantly explores the idea of human connection and why it’s SO important in today’s frantically fast-paced world. I’m actually writing a new blog post about it coming up!
  • Do you have a favorite blog?
This may be ironic, but I don’t really read other blogs. I try not to spend much time online. I find it distracts me from living in the moment and enjoying what’s right in front of me. I am a recovering Facebook addict.  Like many (or most?), there was a period of time when I was consumed by clicking on Facebook a dozen times a day.  Now, my blog posts even go to Facebook automatically so I don’t even have to log on there.  It’s pretty awesome.
  • What do you think are necessities in life?
It’s pretty simple to me. Obviously, food, water and shelter are givens. Above and beyond those, I think we all need meaningful relationships and loving connections with other humans. We need to do what we love every day. Even just doing little things can make a huge difference.  That’s it. The rest is just static, distracting us from living an innately beautiful existence.
  • If you could have one wish granted for the world what would it be?
This feels like a Miss Universe question, so I will try not to stumble and sound silly. I think what I would like to see is for people to start taking responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. We all need to stop making excuses, and start helping ourselves. Mind our own business and stop gossiping. Resolve our own conflicts, treat our minds and bodies with love, and start giving more and taking less. Be the change. It all starts with you.
  • Anymore adventures for you and the moHo?
Oh yes!  The adventure has just begun.  We have lived in our moHo for 6 months now. We have enjoyed it SO much that we are going to continue to live in there for as long as it’s feasible. Winter is just around the corner in Northern Alberta, so we have decided to head to the West Coast for the chilly months.  We have some really exciting ideas up our sleeves.  Human social experiments, if you will.  It’s going to be amazing and I’m super excited to blog about it all.  If you are curious: www.alongthehearttrail.blogspot.com
Thanks again Kristin. I am looking forward to following up with you next year to see where your adventures have led you! 

Kristin Allan is a Pennsylvania native who migrated north to Alberta 9 years ago. She strives to live simply by minimizing the stuff and stress, while maximizing the love in her life.
For several years she operated a women’s consignment clothing store which she founded in central Alberta.  “Buy it used” is her motto.

She and her man half recently sold most of their belongings and purchased a 30 year old motorhome to live in for the warm season, until the bitter northern Alberta winter chases them into a warmer space.

Kristin loves to share her knowledge of minimalism, growing food, healthy communication and veggie cooking with curious folks.

kristin

Clutter Chaos

gerberia daisies

The dog wants out in the middle of the night. As you fumble towards the front door, you trip over the pile of clothes in the bedroom, bump over the box in the hall, stub your toe on the stack of books at the top of the stairs and have to push the coats & shoes out of the way as you struggle to get the door open…

You decide that you want to make a special cake for your 8 year old for his birthday. After pulling 8 pans out of the cupboard, including a bundt cake pan (what the heck is that thing for, anyway?), you finally find the one you’re looking for. You rummage through the pantry trying to find the brown sugar. When you finally find it, you realize that it is hard as a rock. You run to the store and end up buying a cake from the shelf instead; for twice the price of the sugar…

Your husband calls you from work and offers to take you out for dinner. You are elated and excited. After spending 10 minutes looking for your babysitter’s number on that piece of paper, you jump in the shower and knock over 3 shampoo bottles that have a tiny bit of shampoo left in them. Then you try to grab a fresh towel and pull down 5 others in the process. You untangle the cords from 4 different curling irons. You rummage through the closet past outfits you wore 10 years ago to find your favorite pair of jeans. You realize the top you wanted to wear is wrinkly in the dryer. 15 minutes later, you realize that the iron you plugged in isn’t heating up because it’s the one that your hubby was going to fix and you remember you bought a new one two months ago and find it still in the bag from the store sitting beside the freezer. After dumping 3 make-up bags out onto the counter in the bathroom, you’ve got your mascara on and quietly pray that it’s only a year old instead of the two you think it is. Your husband gets home and you realize that you forgot to tell him to pick up the babysitter. You get annoyed that he didn’t think of that and you start the evening off glaring at each other…

Everyone in the family is exhausted. You check the calendar and realize that there are 3 times in the week that you have to be in the opposite sides of town at the same time. You can’t remember the last time all of you sat down and had a meal together. You don’t remember the last time you just played a game with the kids or had a pajama day and just stayed home. If you’re not going to a practice or a recital; you’re heading to the mall “for something to do”. You realize that there are several items of clothing in all the closets (some still in bags) that have never been worn and are now too small. You have multiple projects on the go, and haven’t touched any of them in months. You are exhausted, and just don’t know what to do.

We have been there too, we know what it’s like. We’ve been doing a lot of minimalizing over the past couple years, we’re here to help you. Minimalizing isn’t about throwing out everything in the house. It isn’t about living like a hermit. It’s focusing on what is really important and getting rid of all the excess. It’s not about keeping up with what everyone else has or does; it’s about doing what is best for you and your family.

The Simple Life Gals encourage you to go through different areas in your homes and lives and really prioritize what is important to you. We welcome your questions and we’ll support you in whichever way we can. If you would like to book a session, with us, check out our sessions here: Organizing Services.

Introducing Kristin!

Krystal and I will be “off the grid” for a little while with our families! We’re pretty excited! A joint vacation will be so much fun!

We have asked our adventurous friend, Kristin, to post for us while we are away. We adore her and we’re sure you will too! Be sure to leave a comment and say Hi!

kristin

 

Kristin Allan is a Pennsylvania native who migrated north to Alberta 9 years ago. She strives to live simply by minimizing the stuff and stress, while maximizing the love in her life.
For several years she operated a women’s consignment clothing store which she founded in central Alberta.  “Buy it used” is her motto.

She and her man half recently sold most of their belongings and purchased a 30 year old motorhome to live in for the warm season, until the bitter northern Alberta winter chases them into a warmer space.

Kristin loves to share her knowledge of minimalism, growing food, healthy communication and veggie cooking with curious folks.

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Simplify

Our Reasons for Striving Toward Minimalism

Shawna’s Reason’s & Rants

I love the idea of minimalism. I follow many minimalist blogs (which sounds weird since the word “many” and “minimalist” don’t seem to go together!) Really though, I am inspired by people like Tammy Strobel at Rowdy Kittens and Faith Janes at Minimalist at Home because they remind me that it’s all just stuff and that it really is possible to just let go.

I am just tired of the whole game of thinking I need stuff that the next guy has. I used to buy my kids stuff that “I’ll bet they’ll like that” and then see it sitting there untouched. I am tired of comparing what we have to others and living from paycheck to paycheck because we haven’t thought about our purchases. There are things in my house that I love, but never see because I haven’t gotten around to putting them out (for example, photos that I want to make into collages because I love seeing my family and friends in photos). There are things in my house that I’m not even sure why I have them there.

The toughest part is going to be letting things go that someone gave me. I’ve gotten better at that over the years. I remind myself that giving it to someone new that will love it is important too. I have also asked people to give me less things; to spend time not money.

I don’t spend a lot of time cleaning my house. I try to be sure to rarely clean on weekends because those should be days spent with my family and renewing my spirit. It is annoying and stressful on everyone to have to pick up a ton of stuff before we even begin cleaning. Having less clutter will mean quicker cleanup and more fun! The kids have been learning that over the past year, so they are getting on board with this idea too!

The time I have spent on vacation in our little condos has me completely addicted to the simple furnishings, kitchen and bath. They are an oasis because the only stuff in the condo are the basics. I love, LOVE it! We do just fine with the basics, and that’s what I want in my home. It’s amazing when we’re on vacation: we spend a ton of time together because we’re not distracted by all the stuff, cleaning the stuff, fixing the stuff etc. That’s what I want in our home: a peaceful oasis. I think the minimalist project is the way to do it.

Simplify

Krystal’s Thoughts and Reasons

For a while now I have been feeling a need to get rid of stuff. My mind is cluttered and as I look around I see things that we really don’t need; things that we don’t love. So why is it in my house? I have those fleeting thoughts and slight panic attacks, “What if I need it one day?” and “This belonged to someone special that I care about; I couldn’t possible let it go?!”

I know now that letting go of some items that I don’t really want/need; the ones that don’t give me happiness isn’t a bad thing. It may be smart donating, selling, or giving them away to someone that needs them. Ridding myself of these ‘things’ does not change my feelings about the person(s) that gave them to me.

I really feel that this process will help to clear my mind if I can get rid of the excess. Now I am not going extreme here. I will not be able to pack up and move in a moments notice or anything. I am not going to keep only three sets of clothing and get rid of all technology (that would never happen in my house!)Here are my reasons for striving towards a more minimalist home:

  • relaxation: I want to live and breathe easy knowing that I have less clutter in my life
  • relationships: less stuff allows for more time with our family and friends
  • time: more time to do the things that I enjoy
  • less worrying = more positivity
  • cleaner: less stuff to clean equals one happy mom!
  • eye appeal: sometimes when we have tons of stuff, we do not see the items that we truly love

I leave you with some thoughts from Everyday Minimalist:

A Minimalist’s Train of Thought

Less money spent means more money saved

More money saved means the longer you can live in financial peace and security

Financial peace and security comes from owning less

Less stuff owned means less to carry around, move or have to travel with

Less responsibility for your stuff also means less maintenance and more time

The more time you have, the more relaxed you will feel

The more relaxed you are, the less you will care about stuff

If you care less about stuff, it means you’ll care less about image

If you care less about image, you will care more about experiences and memories

If you care more about experiences and memories, you will be happier with less

If you are happier with less, you’ll never want or need for more

The less you want or need for more, the more you will feel free

– The Everyday Minimalist

We encourage YOU to join us in this journey; we are really excited about this! We have gone through one room at a time; sometimes even in bite size pieces as we have time. It’s an ongoing process.

“If you want to become full, let yourself be empty.” ~Tao Te Ching

If you are finding any of this process overwhelming we can help! With our organizing experience we can make a plan with you to get the home that you yearn for!

 Let us know!