Take a moment and reflect all those crazy dreamers out there who dare to be different, dare to swim against the current of mainstream culture, whose vibrant vision can't be contained, it must brought to life & shared. This process of breathing life into these odd, vibrant dreams is, for some, an unsettling sight and for others, a contagious inspiration. I'll admit, I've got a soft spot for these kind of dreamers. Nothing tickles me more than hearing someone's passion pour out of themselves as they share their vision for their wonderfully "out-there" ideas. Let me introduce you once such dreamer/manifester/maker/all-around non-traditional thinker & doer...John Williams.
"I lead, why, because I have a dream, and like the movie "Field of Dreams", I lead by example...There are leaders and there are those who lead. Leaders hold a position of power or authority. Those who lead inspire us. Whether they are individuals or organizations we follow those who lead, not because we have to, but because we want to. We follow those who lead, not for them but for ourselves. Those who start with the 'why' have the ability to inspire and find others who inspire them."
John heads up Camp Tiny House of the Triad, a tiny house enthusiast Meetup group and 'tiny houser' incubator. "What I love about our meetups, and the events they bring about, is not that we come together to hear ideas from each other. We come together for the same reason, to share something. We all have similar values and beliefs. That's the reason we show up. We don't know each other and yet we know something about each other. Now this is important, you see, for the very survival of our human race is to surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe. When we are surrounded by people who believe what we believe, something remarkable happens," John said, "Trust comes from a sense of common values and beliefs. And the reason that trust is important is because when we are surrounded by people who believe what we believe. We’re more confident to take risks. We're more confident to experiment, which requires failure by the way...Our very survival depends on our ability to surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe.”
His home is a intentional co-housing community of folks looking to make the tiny living transition and build their own tiny home. That's just the tip of this alternative housing iceberg.
In the garage of John's home (the big house) is the Camp Tiny House HQ; a fifties style diner with four giant screens for maximum image viewing, sharing, educating, planning, etc. Plans for his intentional off-grid community hang on the wall, along with a massive white board and sprinkled across the room are brochures and sample materials for energy efficient products and sustainable building techniques. Open the door to the backyard, and you enter a wonderland of in-progress alternative, off-grid housing and permaculture projects. What to some would appear as wild and wooly construction site with an array of random materials of all shapes & sizes, to others, especially John, this is a world of possibilities.
Planned housing projects include a 2-story passive solar container house, earth covered micro-pods, a converted school bus, tiny house on wheels and possibly a tree house. Community features will include aquaponics, raised gardens, solar ovens, giant rocket stoves, chicken coops and of course, the big house for group gatherings. Folks will be able to visit to learn about and even try out off-grid living for short stays, in one the many dwellings.
John and his partner Kelly Rigsbee Mattocks are offering first-hand learning experience to the growing number of off-grid and tiny house curious, as these projects are being developed & under-construction. They’ve led many community builds, held planning workshops and educational seminars. What’s more, they are actively planning a couple of tiny house communities, from suburban to rural locations. They are not just dreamers, they are problem solvers and zealous doers. John and Kelly love a good challenge, including a recent 30-day 20 ft. container house build! Through partnerships with local tiny house builders and a new alliance with a manufacturing company, Camp Tiny House is blossoming from concept to reality. A signature line of Camp Tiny House tiny houses is currently in development and the first community site is being prepared.
John is partial to prepping and self-sufficiency. He doesn’t want to depend on a unreliable grid and prescribe to the limiting mainstream lifestyle options. He's an extreme 'repurposer' and puts function above style. In John’s opinion, if you have the materials and know how, why not scrap together your own sustainable community?
“What about decent affordable housing for people who don’t desire to live in oversized homes? One of my ideas has been to create mini tiny house communities in acreage neighborhoods where it might work with a small group of people pooling resources,” John passionately explains.
Oddball? Visionary? I’ll let you decide for yourself. From my where I'm sitting, John is a delightful dreamer and a social entrepreneur. An extremely welcoming and thoughtful guy, with a passion for and in background in sustainable building. Keep up the good work, Camp Tiny House.
To learn more about Camp Tiny House of the Triad, attend a Meetup or follow them on Facebook. Come visit with John & Kelly and tour their container house at Tiny House Expedition on the Green, Saturday, June 20th.
Alexis Stephens, mover & shaker behind Tiny House Expedition