yurt dreamin'

First off: Thank you all for your kind comments on the special post about this blog. I honestly had no idea so many people were still reading. Hello! * * *

How to start back in? I think the best idea to begin is to share what I've been dreaming about for some time now. I'm not exactly sure how long I've been thinking about and refining this idea, but it all started with a yurt.

penelope dullaghan - yurt adventure

Yurts. Do most people even know what they are? I posted a note on Facebook last week that we were staying in one for the weekend, and Colin's aunt said she'd better google what that was. Hmm.

So just to save you the time of googling, a yurt is basically a circular living structure first utilized by nomadic Mongolian herdsmen who needed to pick up and move their dwelling with the seasons. The original yurts were basically big tents with accordion lattice walls, radial rafters leading up to a central opening at the top (to let smoke from the fire escape) and covered with felt or animal skins. Today yurts are a lot more sophisticated in design and materials and, here in the states, are usually set up on a pretty permanent deck structure with lots of options depending on your application (permanent home versus camp ground offering, for example) - in some cases they even have wood or drywalled walls, shingled or metal roofs, double doors, etc. They can be really well made and beautiful.

And like I said, I've been dreaming about them for a long time.

So what is this dream? Well, you probably already guessed it, but I'd really like to live in a yurt. When the time is right to sell our lovely stone house in mid-town and buy a large country property. I envision this homestead being somewhere close to Indianapolis because we love Indy and our families are close, but far enough out where sirens and traffic noise are replaced by crickets and the call of red-winged black birds. I'd love to be surrounded by hilly groves of trees and wild grasses instead of mowed lawns and paved lots.

My dream includes one big yurt for my family to live and work in surrounded by a wooden deck, chairs for lounging and a pretty fire ring. And a couple of smaller yurts tucked into the property to offer as quiet retreat spaces for artists, writers or peace seekers. (Because passive income is always a plus, and because I really think other people would love the opportunity to unwind and take a break from the hustle and bustle in order to hear their own thoughts.)

There are two big reasons why yurt living is appealing to me. The main reason is that they are affordable - really affordable. I love the idea of having a house that is paid off - no longer being tied to a 30 year mortgage. That would free us up so much - especially to travel as we'd love to do. A while back we decided to ditch the car payment by getting a much cheaper car and paying it off. Then we pared down even more by selling our second car and just living with one. It's made a big difference in our finances, and there have only been two times where having two cars would've made life easier (but we got by). I picture not having a mortgage a lot like that but a million times better.

And the second reason is simplicity. Yurts are small, so there's only so much stuff you can put in them. I love that idea of only having a few beautiful dishes that I love using. Only having a tiny selection of clothing that I wear and repair. A few beloved books. The necessary shoes (hiking shoes, comfy sandals and maybe one pair of dress shoes). etc. Only having what we truly need. It would feel so good to not have so much stuff to care for and clean and store.

So that's my big dream. It's fun to think about as it evolves and becomes more clear with time. Last weekend we stayed in a yurt for a few nights to see what it was like - and we loved it. It felt kind of like camping because you sense your connection to the outdoors more, but it had every luxury like indoor plumbing and electric lights and a full kitchen. So it felt like a home, too.

There are a few hang ups to this dream, of course. The biggest being Veda's schooling. We *love* the school she's in right now. It's really the perfect educational fit for her, and she's surrounded by a close classroom community, which we think is super important especially because she's an only child. And I don't know how well I'd do at homeschooling. I love my work and worry that I'd not have as much time to devote to it as I'd like. And, let's be honest, I'm not the most patient person on the planet and have a hunch that after two weeks of homeschooling I'd be done with it. So there's that.

So we wait. For something to inevitably shift. I think there will come a time when the circumstances line up a bit better. And things fall into place to make it possible. That's not to say I'm sitting idly, wishing. I'm deep in the process of research and we're talking about starting the (probably) long search for the right property. I'm also selling a lot of our stuff and paring down possessions, which feels good even if this dream is to remain a dream. We shall see.

Here is a picture of the yurt we stayed in last weekend. This is the view from the front door when you walk in and look up:

penelope dullaghan - yurt adventure - looking up

And my sketchbook view from the front deck overlooking the mountainside:

penelope dullaghan - sketchbook yurt deck

The surrounding area - Natural Bridge State Park, in Kentucky - is just lovely. Miles of trails. Woods. Mountains. We took the ski lift up to the top of the natural bridge and hiked our way back down. Veda led the way - she was so proud of herself for finding the best paths and helping guide our footing.

Here's Veda and Colin crossing the Natural Bridge:

penelope dullaghan - yurt adventure natural bridge

View from the top:

penelope dullaghan - yurt adventure natural bridge

And the hike back down:

penelope dullaghan - yurt adventure hike

penelope dullaghan - yurt adventure

penelope dullaghan - yurt adventure