Natalie Morris

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Natalie Morris

True tales, trials and tribulations of full-time tipi living. Watch a 20-something chick navigate her first year right here.

Recent Projects for MOTHER EARTH NEWS: Blogging about my most recent undertaking – living in a 16-foot tipi for a whole year, yikes! 

Occupation: Lab and Research Specialist, currently working on a beneficial insect biocontrol project fighting the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, in southwest Virginia.

Background: I grew up in Central Illinois, where my grandmother was a realtor. She would take me to open houses on Sundays, where I would quietly explore the layout of each home and figure, in my little 10 year old brain, what could be improved. At the time, it was one of my favorite things to do.
As lots of kids do, I spent much of my free time doodling on paper. But when I wasn’t inventing things or drawing horses (what little girl doesn’t?!), I was designing houses. I sketched floor plans and then brought them to my dad to see if he approved. He usually did, but sometimes he made suggestions.
I was always intrigued with tiny houses and how people pared down tangibles and amped up outdoor lifestyles and creative storage. Until recently, this was just a thought I toyed with a lot of the time, but not really a necessity. However, as a recent graduate with massive student loan debts looming over my head everywhere I go, I started thinking my tiny house/minimalistic lifestyle ideas may need to become a reality.
What’s really necessary to live a modern life? Basic food, water and shelter come to mind, but I realized I kind of lost touch with that idea (see also, gigantic debt load from a foolish college lifestyle). In an effort to hopefully save a little and start whittling those loans down, I knew I’d need to make a serious change … or for some really rich, far-removed and unknown relative to leave me a massive pile of dollars on their way out. Hey, a girl can dream!
After lots of research on debt-free housing, I came across the tipi. It’s the perfect option for me right now. I’m young, don’t have many commitments, and I don’t know where I’ll be in five years. The tipi will allow me to live minimally and be nomadic when I want to. Gone are the days of paying rent, electricity and internet bills, and hello to life within my means.

Current Projects: Mostly, I’m attempting to streamline a bare-bones lifestyle without electricity, running water, and other extraneous luxuries while still working full-time, maintaining a social life, and doing all the things that most people do. Once I get this underway and gain some credibility, I will be starting my first book informing others how to do such things with ease!
When I’m not doing stuff at home or at work, I spend a lot of time exercising myself and my two relentless canines, Woodford and Twig. We ride bikes, go for long jogs, and enjoy hiking up mountains for scenic photo opportunities. Whoa, that makes it sound like I am dating my dogs. I promise, this isn’t the case.
I recently purchased my first horse, Folly. She’s a very strange looking horse, but I like her anyway. I am currently training her to happily accept my butt on her back. So far, she is doing wonderfully. In the future, I’d really like to give mounted shooting a try. Then I can wear chaps and shoot guns and be a real cowgirl! We’ve got a ways to go, though. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
More Places to find Me on the  

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