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Living in a bell tent in California

Posted by Jessica Walsh on

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Hi I'm Renee Green and I'm writing to you from month four of living in my 16' lotus belle tent in the Sierra Foothills in Northern California.

 After lugging peer blocks across the property for foundation, building a deck and ladder and figuring out how to get power and water I was very happy I ended up going with a pre-fabricated dwelling.

 Lately I've been discovering features of the tent I didn't know about initially that fit into day to day life quite well, like how easy it is to clean a massive red wine spill off the insulated layer! But in all seriousness, this experience has guided me to tap into vital components of who I am as a person and has freed me up to take a step back to look at reality through a unique lens.

Originally I set off on this journey to further my love for minimalism and living tiny. My old apartment in the city of Sacramento was about 600 sq. ft. and surprisingly dropping down to 250 sq. ft. wasn't such a huge task. Give away what you don't need, if it doesn't bring you joy don't keep it around. I find the smaller I go, the happier I am. There's also something about living in a round space. I can't put my finger on it yet. Well, it's beautiful, and my subconscious likes it.

 The most important transition for me was my hairless sphynx cat , who is strictly an indoor cat. He thinks he's king of the jungle now! A cat who only plays fetch with toy mice has put his mice aside, and now does backflips at every glimpse of a bird the stargazer roof catches. Somehow I can relate to his new sense of wildness, tapping into ancient instincts long forgotten.

Waking up to the sunrise light through the trees and canvas and falling asleep early to owl songs has sent my body and mind into a more natural rhythm. I'm more in tune with the outside world and nature, and with the rapidly approaching winter, it's vital to be aware. It feels like going on a hike, accidentally leaving your jacket back at camp and the sun is going down. This instinctual and highly functioning winter anxiety was quickly quelled by the insulated layer lotus belle make (which is available in the accessories section here). The tent was transformed from a light and breezy summer vibe into a super cozy winter hollow. It was surprising to me how easy it is to regulate the heat inside the tent with the insulation.

The questions everyone will ask are:

 How are you finding tent living as it nears winter?

So far the temp range that I've dealt with has been from 105F to 40F (40 celsius to 5 celsius).

My space heater in combination with the insulated layer does a really nice job and I have a separate unit for AC that works great without insulation.

 How’s it handling wind and rain?

 Winds during the California fires got up to 50mpr, and we had a lot of wildlife fleeing into our property. The tree coverage has really helped protect me from the wind and weather, some canvas movement but no movement at all in the metal frame. The Manzanitas are really close and some of the red bark flakes off, mixed with the rain it stains the canvas. I find OxyClean really helps clean it off.

 What about power and bathroom/shower?

 I'm on a 5 acre lot that backs up into the owner's family property that's another 25 acres. We are about 20 minutes from town. So I rent land right now till I can buy my own land and transfer the Lotus Tent over while I'm building my house. I set up a kitchen area in the tent equipped with a toaster, single electric burner, waffle iron, and Crockpot. Right now I have long extension cords that run to the main house for power. When I move I plan to go solar. I have no Internet, and hardly any cell phone reception. There's a spicket on the other side of the manzanita fence I built, great for keeping the tent clean but I haven't done anything else with it yet. If I end up staying on this property longer I'll likely build an outdoor shower. 

Overall I have been equally surprised at my lack of need for Wi-Fi. Do you know how hard it is to explain to an Internet provider that your house is two acres away from the main house with full utilities? Needless to say, I just gave up, but now I find no need for it at all favouring a life with periodic digital detoxing! If the wind blows the right way I get one bar, but mostly there's none, and I don't mind that at all. I now find comfort in more tangible and productive things. There's a healing and peacefulness here, with the soundtrack of wind blowing through the manzanita forest, echoing something reminiscent of ocean waves.

 I love my Lotus Belle tent and could not be happier with my tent living experiment!


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