1. Living in a tipi is pretty neat, but it’s really nothing special. Though it may not be for everyone, everyone can do it. Imagine living in a single room without TV or internet, with a hole in the ceiling, and in a ghetto. But instead of people outside hustling all night, it’s opossums and owls. Once you jump those hurdles, it’s pretty much the same.
2. There will be spiders.
3. Shake your bedstuffs vigorously EVERY night before bed (see number 2).
4. Aside from your drinking water, I’ve found that you (and two dogs) can very easily live on one gallon of water per day. That includes brushing your teeth, doing a little dishes, a little water for cooking, and a quick shower. If you have smaller amounts of hair than the nest atop my head, or take fewer showers, you can live on much less.
5. Probably don’t get a puppy as you’re moving into the tipi (see Twig the Terrible). But a mature, sensible dog is an absolutely indispensable companion. They will combat loneliness, be your alarm, and may play homeland security later.
6. One tea light candle goes a long way. I’ve spent many an evening under the light of one tea light candle; reading, doodling, and just hanging out. Your eyes adjust surprisingly well when taken out from under artificial lighting.
7. Get to know your neighbors; the wildlife and the people. Know the difference between a raccoon sound and an Eastern screech owl sound. Know what snakes and spiders in your area are poisonous, and how do deal with them. Memorize the way to your nearest neighbor’s place so well that you could get there at a flat run in the darkest dark.
8. You will become intuitive in your sleep. Where before you wouldn’t rouse if a freight train derailed in your living room, you will jolt awake if you feel an insect (or arthropod!!) buzz across your foot. Lucky (or maybe not) for me, the horses graze next to my tipi all night. When they spook or snort, I hear it. Jeez louize, I can actually feel it! Last night Folly spooked an opossum away from the tipi (I know her hoofbeats in comparison with the other two horses). That was pretty sweet.
9. That being said, you will sleep very well. The diurnal beings we are, our bodies naturally want to go to sleep soon after dark and wake with the sun. If taken away from electronic distractions, that’s just what it will do. I don’t even have an alarm any more.
10. Depending on where you are located, a gun isn’t a bad idea. At the very least, have pepper spray and a big knife.
11. You’ll begin looking at the sky, and weather in general, in a totally different manner. You become more sensitive to the breeze, to clouds, and to pressure.
12. When you live without electricity, listening to music becomes a special treat. Homemade music is a priceless luxury, and it should always be that way.
13. If you do this or something like it on your own, you will get lonely. It’s a force you’re gonna have to deal with in your own way. Learning to just hang out with yourself is hard, but it’s possible. I’m still figuring it out.
14. Living in a tipi sure as hell isn’t the “simple life” everybody keeps talking about; either I’m doing it wrong or somebody started a rumor…!