Guest Post: Living Small, Closer to Nature

Three years ago, Madison was living off of fast food and alcohol when she found out her mom was diagnosed with cancer. After spending time in hospitals and doctors' offices, she discovered that the answer to good health doesn't lie in prescription drugs, but in nature.
Now she is living small to be closer to her surroundings. She parks her 24-foot camper trailer on organic farms as a way to connect with the land in the most intimate way possible, by raising food. She practices permaculture, a type of approach to regenerative agriculture that works with nature as opposed to against it. Living small allows her to let go of material things and make room for the things that really matter.
You have to find that place that brings out the human in you. The soul in you. The love in you.

If you would have told me three years ago that I would now be living in a camper, traveling across the country and volunteering on organic farms well...let's just say neither me nor anyone that knew me would have believed you.

Three years ago, I was a recent business school graduate living on a fast food diet and working to support my shopping problem and bar tab on the weekends. That all came to a screeching halt when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. The melanoma had already metastasized to her lymph nodes by the time they found it, giving her about a 7% chance of survival. We spent every day for the next year in cancer centers from Seattle to Phoenix. Although I am a firm believer that we shouldn’t attach ourselves to the stories of things that happen to us, the importance of this story is that it completely shifted my outlook on life. I became extremely passionate about holistic wellness after spending endless frustrating hours in our healthcare system, which is nothing more than sick care. I knew the answers didn’t lie in the newest prescription drug, but in reconnecting ourselves to nature, breathing fresh air, eating whole, organic foods, drinking clean water and living more sustainably. Most people have drifted so far away from this, in exchange for a convenient and a fast-paced lifestyle.

Living tiny allows me to have a lifestyle that supports my health and the environment.

Over the summer (and in between treatments), my mom and I decided to let go of our control freak ways and take off on what we call our “Thelma and Louise” trip. This was my first real taste of simple life on the road. After driving for a week, we ended up in Glacier National Park. I sat at the top, next to my mom, and overlooked what I was certain was the most beautiful site I had ever seen.

It became crystal clear that I did not want to wait until I was dying to live my life like this.

We continued to make the most of our time together by adventuring whenever we could.

Despite all odds, my mom is currently NED (no evidence of disease). Now my focus has been inspiring and helping others to live a simpler, less stressful life and reconnecting to nature (mainly through the food they eat). I went back to school for integrative nutrition and joined an educational volunteer program called WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in order to connect on the deepest level I knew how to the food that nature provides.

My boyfriend Daniel and I live in a 24-foot camper trailer and park at farms across the U.S. I work on the farm for a few hours a day in exchange for parking our camper, and we receive farm fresh organic food to eat.

My biggest struggle with living in such a small space is having enough room for all the food, because I cook every meal.

Living small has forced me to chose my priorities wisely. There is no longer room for unimportant material things.

We are currently on a permaculture farm in Virginia. I spend the majority of my time outdoors (feeding animals, planting, harvesting and exploring). I am intrigued by the permaculture principles and have enjoyed learning about sustainable living.

In my eyes, everything is connected. If we treat the earth and the soil well, it will provide us with the most nutritious (and tasty) fruits and vegetables. I take a holistic approach to nutrition and believe that our health is much more than the food on our plate. Minimizing stress, connecting to nature, living simply and staying active the majority of the day all improve our quality of life.

We are all going to go one day, but what is important is the quality of our life while we are here.

This is why I am such a huge advocate for slow food and slow living.  

We don’t go natural, we return. Spending the majority of the day at a stressful job that doesn't serve our soul only to pay the bills and buy poor quality food and material things is nothing more than a distraction to our true purpose. It results in an unhealthy, unhappy and rushed life.

One way or another, life will lead us back to a more sustainable way of living no matter how far we stray from our natural state.

Now I work as a health coach on the road, helping others learn how to live a slower, eat real food and be more connected to the land. Living small enables us to let go of material things and make room for more things that really matter.

It encourages me to spend the majority of my day outside connecting to the world around me.

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Produced by Kathleen Morton.
Edited by Kate
All photos credit to Madison Gould.