THE TINY HOUSE JAMBOREE: Why it took 40k+ to help me realize that I don’t need to be scared of people

THE TINY HOUSE JAMBOREE: Why it took 40k+ to help me realize that I don’t need to be scared of people

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As I’m sure that the majority of you know, the first (and hopefully not last) Tiny House Jamboree took place in Colorado Springs, CO this past weekend. For three days, a staggering amount of people made their way down the hill at the Mining Museum’s venue to hear the speakers, to have a chance to tour several tiny houses, and to learn from the vendors. People came from all 50 states. From over a dozen countries. From all walks of life. From all age brackets. And they came by the tens of thousands.

On Thursday night (the evening before the first day of the Jamboree), Andrew and I sat around with a couple dear tiny house friends and tried to project how many would actually attend the event. Sure, over 10,000 people had pre-registered, but come on, how many would ACTUALLY show up. We estimated 2/3 of the 10,000+. Imagine our surprise. No, “surprise” doesn’t do justice to what we experienced. Imagine our SHOCK when we heard that nearly 9,000 had attended in just the first DAY. Friday turned out to be the “slow” day while the next day brought about 18,000 and Sunday around 19,000-20,000.

This seems like an appropriate time to make this confession: I am afraid of people. Humans are unpredictable. They say strange things. And hurt others sometimes. I have just never been that comfortable in groups and especially in large groups. Small, intimate settings are great but when it comes to large gatherings, you’ll generally find me hanging out with the dogs and/or any other animal I can find. So, I must be honest and say that a couple of weeks before the Tiny House Jamboree, I created an elaborate scheme in my head to get out of having to attend. I didn’t follow through with it though and decided to feel the fear (being in large groups) and to go anyway.

IMG_5056For me to say that the Tiny House Jamboree was the most fun large group experience I’ve ever had is an underestimate of epic proportions. Something magical and significant happened for me over those three days. My fear of people turned into not only comfort and ease, but boundless love. Everywhere I turned, there were amazing, awesome people. I was able to hear the most extraordinary stories and to be inspired beyond belief. Turns out, people are AMAZING!!! Having a congregation of that many people sharing a common passion has the potential of creating incredible shifts on many levels.

The kindness that I experienced from the masses was so touching that I stopped several times throughout the weekend to really allow the emotions I was feeling to soak in and to change old patterns of fear. There were degrees of inclusion, enthusiasm, passion, and kindness that I have not seen anywhere else in such a large gathering. Forgive how cliche this sounds but, I honestly felt like I was amongst a family of 40k people. There were instant connections made that I hope will last a lifetime.

The spirit of the Tiny House Jamboree was inclusion and partnership. The amount of effort that it took for the Eco Cabins team to put this together is herculean. I sincerely hope that there will be another one next year and that any of you that weren’t able to attend are able to come to the next one. It’s a not to be missed event. Come for the tiny houses. Come for the vendors. Come for the great food and music. Come for the community experience. It doesn’t matter why. Just do come.

And to all of you that took the time and made the effort to reach out to me during the Jamboree, thank you. Your gestures of kindness were so appreciated and they softened my heart in every possible way.

21 Responses to THE TINY HOUSE JAMBOREE: Why it took 40k+ to help me realize that I don’t need to be scared of people

  1. Rick Barrick August 14, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    Howdy, Gabriella —

    I introduced myself to you on Saturday, when you were behind stage. I asked about your kids and you said one lived in a treehouse, the other in a tiny house. That’s so cool.

    You hid so well your shyness around strangers. You don’t act like it.

    I am, too, was blown away from the size of the crowds, the friendliness, the politeness, and the laughs and the sense of community. You and Andrew were sponsors. For all the above attitudes, I am forever indebted.

    So goes to show that a 63-year-old, gray bearded guy from Texas found new friends and purpose.


    • Sue August 17, 2015 at 4:38 am #

      I SO enjoying all the info that was shared on-line, as I was unable to go this year; but I promise myself that IF there’s another next year, I’ll be there. The amount of effort & dedication from everyone putting this event together is amazing & appreciated.
      Just moved 6 weeks ago from IL to the Smoky Mountains of NC to move closer to my dream of building a tiny house. And at 64, that should come to fruition within two years. YAY!

      • Sue August 17, 2015 at 4:39 am #

        I HATE when I don’t proofread! 😉
        I so ENJOYED!!! DOH!

      • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:48 am #

        Yay for Sue!! Hope to meet you in person in next year if they do another Jamboree!!

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

      Hi Rick! I was so glad that you reached out on Saturday! And so glad you caught the ‘buzz’ too just from being amongst that amazing group of people!!

  2. Jenny Turk August 14, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    I received your email about this jamboree 2 days before the event. I live in Arizona. As you can see, that does not make for good planning and preparation on my part.

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:58 am #

      Hopefully next time (if there is one) it will be with enough notice for you! 🙂

  3. Jim August 14, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    You and your husband changed my life. No we did not meet as I did not make it. However, I have decided to build not one but two tiny houses. I am in the process of finding that right property to do this. I must hurry though as the trailers will be delivered on Sept. 10!!!!
    I trust that this is what I am supposed to do. I have been a winery worker, a builder, then an attorney. I almost died doing the last one.
    However when I say your house, I knew what I was to do.
    Gabriella, you and Andrew are real role models for many, including me. Thanks for such an honest post.

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:58 am #

      Wow…thank you Jim!!! Way to take reign of your life and to create it custom to you! By doing so you will send ripples of hope to many many others. Keep us posted on your journey! 🙂

  4. Alexis Stephens August 14, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    It was lovely meeting you briefly at the Jamboree! You and Andrew of very inspiring. As an extraverted-introvert preparing to meet & greet the huge turn out at the Jamboree was overwhelming in moments but in reality was a wonderfully positive experience. 🙂 Hope to connect again.

    Cheers to the tiny house tribe!

    All the best,
    Tiny House Expedition

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:57 am #

      SO great to get to meet you as well Alexis!! Happy trails and drop us a note if you come through the area! 🙂

  5. Rob Schultz August 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm #

    Hi Gabriella,

    Sorry we didn’t get to meet you at the Jamboree, although we did chat with Andrew a couple of times. Glad you had such a good time there. It was a great event and we’re so proud to be a part of this community. We appreciate everything you and Andrew have done, and continue to do for the movement.

    Rob & Anitra

    P.S. We can’t wait to purchase our hOMe plans soon!!!

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:55 am #

      Glad you were able to be there Rob and Anitra! Hopefully we can meet in person next year if they have another one! 🙂

  6. Bob Cowan August 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    I guess you could have labelled the weekend “Woodstick”!!!
    Sounds like a blast…maybe we can make the next one!

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:54 am #

      HA!! That’s pretty funny Bob! It really was a blast. Hope you can make the next one if there is another one! 🙂

  7. BeejSteph August 14, 2015 at 8:47 pm #


    I Am So Sad That I Have Yet To Realize The Dream Of Owning My Own TH. But I Know That I Will Get There …And Hopefully One Day Soon! 🙂 I Have 2 Very Favorite Pics Of All The Ones You Took. There Was A Pic Of 16 Of You All Crashed Into A Corner Of The TH And I Was Nothing But Smiles When I Happened On That Picture! But The Picture That Most Blew Me Away Was Of The One Where Your Husband Was Hugging A Young Lady (Whose Face We Could Not See) But The Embrace Was So True And Gentle And So Full Of Love It Took My Breath Away…Why???..Because It Was The True Embodiment Of What Tiny House Living Means To Me!!!
    I Have Been Following You And Your Husband Since The Beginning Of Your TH Journey. I Love To Open Your Blog And Truly Allowing Myself To Live Vicariously Through 2 AMAZING People Whom I Have Never Met…But Yet I Could Never Call You Strangers!! I Can Not Wait To Meet You, And Your Husband…And The Dog Which My Son Will Always Refer To As The “Skymarini” Dog…You Will Have To Ask Me Why In Another Post Or in An Email…It Is Really Cute!! 🙂
    Hoping You Are Planning Another TH Jamboree Or Some Other Type Of Get Together Where It Will Be A Little More Centrally Located To Ohio. 🙂 🙂 I Can Not Do Colorado…Due To Elevation Issues…But That Is Ok. I Will Wait For My Turn And Just Be Happy For Those Of My TH Fellows That Got To Enjoy This AMAZING Weekend!! I Hope You Have An AMAZING Weekend No Matter What Your Plans. 🙂
    Bj And Stephen Miller (Hence The BeejSteph 🙂 🙂 )

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:53 am #

      Wow…so glad you reached out BJ and Stephen!! Loved reading what you had to share. It will be great to meet you in person someday! And would love to hear why your son refers to I assume Oscar as Skymarini! 🙂

  8. Sandra Fenner August 15, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    Wasn’t able to attend but will be there next year. I sure hope it is in the same place next year. And I hope to have a tiny house finished by that time!

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:49 am #

      We hope it’s in the same venue too Sandra! It was an amazing location. Really perfect (except for parking but it would be different next year). From what I gather, they plan on doing it again next year (IF they do it again!)

  9. Derryl August 17, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Hi There. I enjoyed the jamboree photos. The one that impressed me the most was the tiny stage with the wall that opens up. Very impressive. No too cozy for living in though.

    • Gabriella August 17, 2015 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks Derryl! That stage was amazing. The owner/builder had it up for auction and it sold for full price ($30k) during the Jamboree. It’s a work of art. Really beautiful!

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