I live in a tiny-home community in California where people are always there for each other.
Everyone's skills are put to use because the nearest goods and services are 20 miles away.
Unfortunately, some people treat our neighborhood like it's a tourist destination.
My partner and I live in a 250-square-foot house in a tiny-home community in California — and being around a group of like-minded individuals who are aware of their time management, financial health, and environmental footprint has been the most validating experience of my life.
The interdependence of the community makes us feel like we're all in this together — from jumping each other's car batteries to borrowing a cup of sugar.
Video: This $125,000 tiny home can be moved with its owners
Here's what it's like:
Unlike most apartment complexes, our tiny-house community is super pet-friendly
Our community currently has 12 four-legged residents.
Last summer, we all built a dog park in our meadow with 100% recycled materials. It allows dogs to run and play together off-leash and it's a social place where people gather.
Our retired neighbor even has a beautiful fenced yard that she lovingly calls "doggy daycare." She invites neighbors to drop off their dogs here during the day to play with her German shepherd and his toys.
The dogs know and are comfortable with everyone here, so many people in the community get the benefits of being around animals without the commitment of having a pet.
We live in a remote area, so we kind of have our own economy
Here on top of Mount Laguna, we live 30 minutes from any sort of civilization.
Even though we may consume less than the average person, we still need things done around our house that we just may not have the time or skills to do ourselves. This demand, along with our residents having a diverse range of skills, creates a sort of local economy in the community.
We all lean on each other for a range of tasks, whether it's mending a pair of pants or installing a new faucet.
The general consensus seems to be to ask a neighbor first. Not only is it convenient to hire someone who lives so close, but it feels good to put money into the pocket of someone you know and trust.
Even if you live by yourself, you're never really alone
Many people feel isolated when living alone, yet overwhelmed with too many people in their space. A tiny-house community like ours is a happy medium between the two.
We are a close-knit, interdependent group of people who are always there for one another, so we are never really alone.
In the morning, people go on walks at the campground next door together. In the evening, starting a bonfire will attract the neighborhood like a moth to a flame for an impromptu social gathering.
During the summer, we help each other with gardening projects and, in the winter, we rally behind each other's cars to push them out of the snow.
People treat our neighborhood like it's a tourist destination
We are a community of 25 tiny homes — three are vacation rentals and 22 are long-term residences.
It stays quiet during the week, but as soon as Friday hits it becomes a whole different story. The weekends bring a multitude of tourists from San Diego not just to stay overnight, but also to snoop around and check out our tiny homes.
They often get too close for comfort and start coming up on our deck and invading our privacy. We have even had people take professional photos in front of our home, pretending it belongs to them for social media!
As a community, we want to normalize tiny living instead of advertising our neighborhood as Disneyland for tiny homes.
Living in a community can naturally lend itself to sustainability
Existing in a smaller space welcomes simplicity and means there is only room for the essentials.
When we no longer need an item, there is a community area we fondly refer to as "Our Goodwill" where we put things for others to use.
Many of us don't have single-purpose appliances, such as a coffee grinder or tofu press, because we don't want to store them. But out of 22 tiny homes, there's a good chance someone will.
It's also common here to let people borrow things, which leads to less consumption and less money spent.
When we do need to buy something, a few people from different households will often pile into one car to go down the mountain and split the price of gas, making it a much more eco-friendly excursion.
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