Blogger Interview 2: Ryan Mitchell (The Tiny Life)

  • This Summer we present a series of short interviews here on The Pop-Up City. We invited a number of our favorite bloggers to answer six questions not only about their passion for blogging, but also their city, work experience and inspiration. The result is a collection of stories on blogs and the people behind them. Number 2 in this series is a short interview with Ryan Mitchell from The Tiny Life. The Tiny Life reports about living in small and environmentally friendly houses. Mitchell, who lives in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, and his blog are one of our favorites when it comes to do-it-yourself shelters, uncluttered lifestyles and sweet little houses.

    When and why did you start blogging?
    “Ironically it all started when I was laid off in late 2008, it was in that time that I did some self reflection, things changed in a big way from that point. I left the corporate world, entered the nonprofit world, downsized my living and stepped out of the consumer life. In 2009 I found myself in Philadelphia driving to meet Jay Schafer with his Tiny House in tow. After stepping into the house, seeing how big it felt, I knew Tiny Houses were the path for me. Two days later I launched the blog and here we are today.”

    How would you label yourself?
    “A student. I have come to realize the knowledge is something that I value highly in my life. I find myself constantly going out and learning new things everyday, the world is a really fascinating place. Sometimes it is book knowledge, other times it is gleaning insights from introspection or listening to others. I feel that the true hallmark of learning is taking that knowledge and adapting it in a new way to come up with creative solutions.”

    What does your typical day look like?
    “I wake up and get right to work on my daily non-profit job, I coordinate a large group of people who facilitate half a million volunteer hours every year. I usually break to cook lunch with a group, every meal I eat is from scratch, using a lot of local ingredients. I come back after that to write my blog post for the day. From there it is out to my 8 acre farm where I grow a lot of food that I eat. I have 10 chickens, 5 quail, and two bee hives, goats and tilapia are soon to come. From there I wash up and dinner with friends, often mixing in some ‘shop talk’ about the various initiatives that I have going on in Charlotte, NC.”

    “Here is my ‘desk’. It is my Asus EeePC netbook, my BlackBerry, Moleskine notepad, favorite pen, index cards for making lists and my Smart car keys with a 16 GB USB drive. I can work from anywhere and am on the move a lot with meetings, local food dinners, out at the farm etc.”

    Which spot(s) would you recommend to a first-time visitor of your city?
    “One thing we are blessed with is a ton of restaurants, some really good ones in fact. From there we have a really awesome botanical garden where you can find a tree to lean up against with a good book and enjoy the peacefulness and beauty.”

    What is your top 3 of favorite online sources of inspiration?
    “My favorite blogs to read almost daily is GOODTreeHugger and specialty web-forums. The greatest part of the Internet is you can find 1,000 people who are jazzed about anything! The most obscure topics usually have a good following once you find the right Web forum. Topics like Permaculture, backyard chickens, and gardening are currently on my radar.”

    What shoes do you wear?
    “I mentioned I have done my best to step out of consumer culture, which is a lot harder than one might think. So I am usually have my eight year old tennis shoes or crocs for gardening.”