Drawn to the appeal of a more minimalistic and simplistic life, more people have been opting to create a tiny home of their own.
Known as the “Tiny House Movement”, this community of free spirits are building and buying small homes in order to live a life free of physical and mental clutter. As this movement grows, more and more people are being taken by the idea of downsizing their life, having more financial freedom, and living off the grid.
An Interview with Tiny House Dweller, Ashlee Fazio
We had the great opportunity of meeting with one Tiny House resident, Ashlee Fazio of Destiny Dweller. We reached out to Ashlee over Instagram, in hopes of her sharing her story on TrueToast. She was excited to tell us more about her life and inspire others to pursue the Tiny House lifestyle. More than just a fad, she says, the Tiny House movement truly brings a new sense of peace and freedom.
TrueToast: Hi Ashlee! Super happy to have you on TrueToast Magazine. Can you tell us a bit about your yourself?
Ashlee: My name is Ashlee Fazio and I am a 25 year old entrepreneur living out my big dreams in my tiny house.
Last year I decided to leave everything behind for a whole new way of life: I became a minimalist in the most extreme sense of the word. I got rid of practically everything I owned and ended up finding everything I always needed. I currently live in a completely off-grid 160 sq ft tiny house on wheels which affords me the freedom to travel and pursue my passion of teaching others ways to simplify their life in order to find the happiness and peace of mind that we all so desperately search for.
Currently, I write a blog with tips, tricks, advice, and lessons on minimalism and simplification. I also work one-on-one with people to help uncover the reason behind their lack of fulfillment in life and to fill that void with love and passion rather than with stuff.
At first glance, Tiny House life may not appeal to everyone. What first inspired you to live in a Tiny House?
A: Going tiny started out as a financial decision for me. I had just graduated college and I was struggling to find a teaching job (I also was not really ready to commit to an all-consuming career just yet.) I was searching for the most cost-efficient way to move out of my mom’s basement. Tiny homes were the perfect solution for that problem as well as a perfect fit for my low-maintenance, healthy, active, carefree lifestyle.
“What I hope to gain from going tiny is a clearer sense of self and what I find to be important in my life.”
The clarity that I have gained from living on my own, self-sustainably, and financially-free is a good indication that I am on the right track. I also love that I am able to share my experience with others in hopes that they too can shed the unnecessary stressors in their life and gain clarity on their future.
For most people in the Tiny House movement, this lifestyle brings the appeal of reducing mental and physical clutter. Can you tell us more about the relationship between Tiny House living and having a sense of freedom?
A: Living in a Tiny House affords you freedom that many people are not able to obtain. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that our “stuff” and our “space” can take away from our lives and overall well-being, but it absolutely can.
By going Tiny, I gave myself financial freedom that I had only ever hoped for previously. Living completely off-grid means that I have ZERO monthly expenses related to my housing. This allows me to spend money on things that I truly love, which for me means the ability to travel whenever and wherever I would like to.
I also have taken so much stress away from my life by simplifying all areas of it. More than just decluttering my house and getting rid of unnecessary things, I also decided to embrace minimalism in my relationships, nutrition, and business life. Simplification had truly been the key to providing me with peace of mind and a stress-free lifestyle.
The other awesome thing about having a house on wheels is that I literally have the freedom to pick up and move my house wherever I would like to go. It is SO much easier than packing and unpacking every time you decide to move (which for me is quite often these days!)
What were the initial hurdles you encountered in starting your blogging business and how did you overcome them to reach the level of success you are at now?
A: I began by first just writing a blog and posting a few Facebook videos. I had to overcome the judgement from my friends and family about not just my lifestyle choice, but also about the amount of time I spent on “that blogging thing.” It can be really hard to stay motivated when you do not have people around you who share your vision and truly support you.
So, to overcome that obstacle, I began looking for people who DID share that vision with me. Luckily for me, I find people who “get me” in communities of minimalists, entrepreneurs, and of course, tiny house owners: three of the most amazing communities I have ever been a part of. Support is key to motivation and to sticking by your vision; sometimes you just have to go out and find it!
Did you ever experience “naysayers” during your journey that discouraged you from making your dream a reality?
A: Of course! How could I possibly start my own business working with people who want to simplify their lives? How could I possibly provide enough value to make someone want to pay me for it? How could I possibly give up the security of a regular job to pursue this “fantasy”? I had to accept that the people who were saying these things did not share my passion or my vision, and that is OKAY! I constantly remind myself of why I decided to take this risk, and that is to be able to help people find the peace, love, and happiness that I have found through simplifying my life.
How do you facilitate a community of authenticity with your followers and fans?
A: All that I do, is be myself. I am honest, vulnerable, and up front with my followers. They know me and have seen me throughout my journey. I do not try to pretend to be anything I am not, so authenticity is apparent. When you start fabricating things, people can tell; they can smell fake from a million miles away. Be you, and be proud of it.
“Going tiny was far and beyond the best decision I could have made.”
I realized that I did not need more “stuff” to be happy. I did not need a large space to feel whole. I did not need to do what everyone else was doing just because everyone else was doing it. For me, going tiny has allowed me to slow down and really experience life. It has given me the space (ironically) in my life to look within myself for answers to my life and my future rather than constantly looking for outside guidance. It caused me to think more deeply about the amount of wasted time, space, money, and energy that had consumed my life. Giving up everything to go tiny gave me everything I needed to appreciate life.” -Ashlee Fazio
What would you say has been the greatest factor that has contributed to your success as a blogger?
A: Having a clear vision of my future and of what I would like to achieve has been the key to me staying true to my goals. There will always be obstacles that you must overcome, and the best way to do that is to know why you starting and where you want to go.
Sounds like you have had many amazing opportunities along the way. What has been your most memorable moment, thus far, in your journey?
A: Over the summer I got the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of people at a Tiny House Festival in New Paltz, NY. It was the first time I was able to share my story in front of a large, live audience and of course I was nervous! But, once I was on that stage and speaking about things that I am truly passionate about (minimalism, simplicity, health and wellness, etc.), all of my anxiety melted away. It was one of the most liberating, fulfilling, and motivating moments of my life. It is how I knew that this is what I was put on their Earth to do.
Clearly you are a “Jane-of-All-Trades” when it comes to blogging, public speaking, and more. What is one thing you suspect most people don’t know about YOU?
A: I am a homeschool teacher and private tutor by day. I spend a lot of my time teaching young, inquiring minds how to think outside of the box and figure out what their passions are early on. It is something that I struggled to do in a traditional classroom setting, so I found a way to do it on my own terms. Teaching is my passion and I am truly blessed to be able to have so many outlets to share it with the world.
What are some personal qualities that you think are necessary for being a successful entrepreneur?
A: To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to persevere, be dedicated, and be passionate. You will inevitably come across obstacles in life that will test your dedication to your mission. If you are will to persevere and do whatever it takes to overcome those obstacles, then you will inevitably be successful. Being dedicated and passionate just adds in your ability to problem solve and get around the struggles of life as an entrepreneur.
Okay, you’ve got us hooked! What advice would you give someone who was considering taking on the Tiny House life?
A: Hmm, advice? I would say, do your due diligence. Do some research. Find out if it’s a possibility where you live. If not, are you willing to move? Find out if it is a good fit for you- maybe Air B&B it for a few days and see what you think. If you really believe you want to go tiny, then just do it! Stop thinking about it and just go do it. Jump in and run with it. You will be so happy you did.
“Minimalism: not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.”
Find Out More About Ashlee Fazio
Interested in working with Ashlee or just learning more about how minimalism can help you reduce stress, gain financial freedom, get healthier, smile more, and help you live an amazing, fulfilling life?
You can e-mail Ashlee Fazio directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or check her out on social media:
Instagram and Snapchat: @destinydweller