#JustAnOutdoorGal: Tiny Living Adventures with Kathleen

Welcome to February! After a stressful January, it was a treat to get to speak with Kathleen about the best ways to live a simpler life via tiny living. Couldn’t most of stand to learn one or two things about that?

As a kid growing up in the suburbs outside of Chicago, Kathleen wasn’t interested in the outdoors. Drawn to learning via books and her computer, Kathleen didn’t have a strong connection to nature. She was always writing and creating, skills that she still employs as a freelance journalist, and blogger over at Tiny House, Tiny Footprint.

About five years ago, she decided to move from Chicago to Colorado because she knew she wanted a more adventurous lifestyle. Like many of us who grew up in comfortable suburbia, she saw pictures of mountains and fell in love. Soon she was moving cross-country to pursue her dreams!

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Kathleen and Greg

When she first moved, Kathleen had a regular day job and a standard apartment. Within two years, she downsized and upgraded to a camper that she parked in the backyard of a welcoming family in Golden, CO. When she and her boyfriend were considering moving in together, Greg mentioned that he had spent some time living in a van in New Zealand. While Kathleen didn’t feel ready to move into a van right away, she thought that a camper might be the perfect {tiny} fit.

Kathleen and Greg spent the last several years trying to minimize their impact on the earth. From the time they moved into the camper, they strove to reduce their carbon footprint. They don’t have a water line. Instead, they haul gallon jugs to and from the nearby grocery store and use these containers as their water supply. It’s almost like a game to see how far each gallon of water goes. In addition, they have a limited electricity line, use their radiant space heater and propane heater sparingly, and employ a composting toilet.

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Tiny living isn’t all adorable organization and tiny kitchen instruments. There are certainly times when it can be difficult. Between Greg, Kathleen, and Blaize and Peaches {their two dogs}, personal space is in short supply. How can you not feel cramped when two adults and two dogs are packed inside a camper? To mitigate the sardine-like feeling, they get outdoors as much as possible and have more experiences in nature than they might have had otherwise.

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The pups sure like tiny living!

Currently, Kathleen and Greg are in the process of renovating an old van which they plan to live in as they explore the National Forests in the area. They are committed to maintaining their “tiny footprint” lifestyle as they hopefully  hit the road for adventure and van-living at the end of February!

If Kathleen has learned anything from her current lifestyle, it’s that too much planning can be a bad thing. She used to be the type of person who needed to know what everything was going to look like a few years in advance.  But, thanks to her current lifestyle, she realizes everything is a process and you need to take things one day at a time. The tiny lifestyle has taught Kathleen how to be present and how to live in the moment rather than living in plans and imagined futures.

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Amidst van renovation

To others who have considered tiny living or are interested in minimizing their impact, Kathleen suggests letting go of your preconceived notion of what you’ll look like as a “tiny” liver. Find the adventure that suits you, that makes you want to start chasing, and the rest will fall into place.

If you’re interested in learning more about the tiny life, you can listen to Kathleen’s podcast where she interviews other people who are striving to live in smaller space.

You can also scan her blog regularly for updates on the van gathering that she hosts in Colorado each summer. Various tiny living people come together and all are welcome!




  • Reply Patrice La Vigne at

    Neat to meet the woman behind the Roll With Me series. Love your blog Kathleen!

    • Reply Kathleen at

      Patrice, you’re so kind 🙂 Thank you for following along on the blog. It means so much to have you along on this journey. Stay in touch!

  • Reply Jessie @ Chasing Belle at

    Living the “tiny” life definitely has it’s appeal – it seems so freeing, though still a little scary. I try and live minimally and stories I’ve heard like Kathleen’s of women who live the van or camper life definitely inspire me to do more of that.

    • Reply Heather at

      Even if you’re not ready to take the full leap, I think reading stories like Kathleen’s helps us all realize that we can get rid of just *one more thing.*

  • Reply Rachel @ Better LIVIN at

    If I were a single gal, I would be in a tiny house right now with no mortgage! Even then, for a family of four (and two dogs) our 735 square foot home is pretty tiny by average standards. I’ll have to check out Kathleen’s podcast!

    • Reply Heather at

      Definitely do!

  • Reply Anne at

    Great post! I’ve been on Kathleen’s site a few times, I like to do the rounds on a few tiny living websites.

  • Reply William smith at

    Love this post Kathleen and your blog generally. Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Reply Anthony Anselmo at

    I really enjoyed reading this post, especially since I am also considering going ‘tiny’ and building a tiny home out of a trailer. Thank you for your story and insights!

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