Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing people about living simply, breaking through barriers, and living their Dream Life . Every Monday, you’ll find a new interview posted. If you missed it, last week I interviewed Melissa Gorzelanczyk of Peace and Projects.
This week I am thrilled to bring you the Rowdy Kitten herself, Tammy Strobel the creator of the always inspirational Rowdy Kittens. Tammy’s authenticity and great writing drew me into the blog world in the first place, introduced me to countless bloggers and inspired me to start this blog. She is also the author of two e-books – Smalltopia and Simply Car-free – quit her job to pursue her passions and is on her way to tiny house living. Trust me, this is going to be good and by the end you’ll like Tammy as much as I do. So, here we go…
This interview series is about people who live their dream life – which looks different for everyone and is always evolving – can you describe your current Dream Life?
Writing, volunteering, spending time with friends, yoga, biking, and walking are all activities that I do everyday. I’m living my dream and it’s incredible. I still deal with challenges and fears, but for the most part I’m extremely happy!
You went car-free in in 2008 (and wrote an e-book!). What is the biggest benefit of life without a car?
Yes we did! I can’t believe it’s been so long. I wrote Simply Car-free in 2010 and I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from readers.
There are so many benefits of living with out a car. I won’t list them all, but will give you my top two: saving money and improving your health.
Money. According to American Automobile Association the average American spends $9,519 per year to own a vehicle, or over $800 per month! Instead of spending so much money on a depreciating asset, why not use the extra cash to make your dreams a reality or pay off debt.
Health. Living without a car will improve your health and well-being. Since we’ve been car-free I’ve noticed a huge shift in my attitude. And I think that shift has a whole lot to do with my health. I’ve lost about 20 pounds since we sold the car and I’m happier. Riding my bike everywhere fills me with joy. I love feeling the air on my face and noticing all the details in my neighborhood. When I drove everywhere I was in such a rush. Now that I’ve slowed down, the quality of my life has improved.
What has been the biggest barrier you’ve overcome in order to live your Dream Life? And how did you do it?
The biggest barrier? Moving past self-doubt and taking risks.
Even though I’m living my idea life, I still have struggles and fears that I deal with everyday. For example, right now I’m dealing with the fear of public speaking.
The best way I deal with fear, is to talk about it. I meet-up frequently with fellow writers to talk about my fears. I call theses folks my inspiration council. They are a group of people who believe in my abilities and constantly encourage me to try new things.
I love that idea of an inspiration council! Having people who will give you honest advice and push you to try new things is infinitely important.
About one year ago you left your job to pursue your passions, what have been some of the unexpected benefits and drawbacks that resulted from these changes?
Well, I’ve been shocked that I’ve actually been able to pay my bills! I didn’t know if my little business would succeed or not. And so far I’ve been successful. To say that is extremely gratifying.
With that being said, writing can be a struggle for me. I still have a lot to learn about the craft and I’m working on improving my skills sets everyday.
Can you share some knowledge gain recommendations (blogs, books, documentaries, etc.)?
I’m a huge book nerd. Last year I read a book a week, but this year I’m reading two books a month. A majority of the books I read are non-fiction. You can check out my lists here:
There is a common theme that I’ve run across in a lot of my books. And that theme has to do with legacy building.
So think about what your legacy is or could be. What are you going to leave behind? And how can you change the world through your actions?
For me, writing doesn’t do anything by itself. Writing must be paired with activism. And I think that goes for any kind of job.
Yay, I’m always excited to find a fellow bookworm! I’ve found that I get obsessed with a certain topic and then read everything on it, so right now I’m devouring everything I can find on education and learning:).
What’s the next big thing you’re pumped about?
I have two big goals this year.
First, I’m finishing up a book proposal for the print world and then I’m going to write the book. It’s going to focus on my downsizing story and happiness.
Second, we’re going to build a tiny house. Yesterday we had a conversion with the builder, Katy Anderson, and I’m meeting up with one of my good friends, Dee Williams, to talk about the design this weekend.
Finally, we’ll be taking a lot of bike camping trips this summer. 2011 is going to be a kick-ass year.
You can read my 2010 end of year review here.
It definitely sounds like a pretty epic 2011 coming your way.
Any last words of inspiration for people looking to live their dream life?
Even if you’re living your dream life, there will still be struggles, challenges, and fears to deal with. So surround yourself with people who believe in you. And remember:
1. Take one small step everyday. By taking a tiny step toward your goal, you will succeed.
2. You are incredibly privileged. Do something with that privilege. Get involved in your community and keep this quote in mind if you start feeling blue:
“The big dividing line is not and has never been between those who advocate more or less militant forms of resistance, or between mainstream and grassroots activists. The dividing line is between those who do something and those who do nothing.” ~Derrick Jensen
Number two may be my favorite thing from this entire interview. Maintaining perspective and realizing how privileged we are is incredibly important, yet so easy to lose sight of.
Thank you, Tammy for taking the time for this interview!
See, isn’t her genuineness just jumping off the page? Well, if you haven’t been over to Rowdy Kittens go there now. Here are a couple of my favorites to get you rolling:
5 Lessons Learned from 3 Years of Blogging, Plus a Business Book Sale
How to Live Simply: Lessons I Learned from My Grandparents
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