Traveler Interview: Megan of Living Tiny, Dreaming Big - Intentional Travelers

08 Mar Traveler Interview: Megan of Living Tiny, Dreaming Big

We connected with Megan, blogger at Living Tiny, Dreaming Big, through twitter. She is a tiny house enthusiast- a lifestyle concept we are fascinated by. It obviously requires intentionality to live in a tiny house! In addition to being a writer, Megan has done everything from nannying to being a therapeutic wilderness instructor for troubled youth while backpacking in North Carolina. and camp counselor for children and adults with special needs.

Megan is a great representation of how to weave intentional travel throughout your life. Her travels include: road trips (40 days from Georgia to Alaska and back), mission trips (working against sex trafficking in Pattaya, Thailand), studies of historical people and places (Israel: Biblical; England: Literary), and active adventures (17 day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and a safari in Kenya).

Visiting the setting of Pride and Prejudice

Visiting the setting of Pride and Prejudice

We really appreciated how Megan laid out her goals and values in this way:

Values: People and experiences are more important than things.

Goals: To share love in practical ways.

To do that by making enough money working for myself and by prioritizing my schedule to have more time and energy to put toward projects that help people who have a hard time meeting their basic needs.

Learning a South Korean game while visiting a Thai orphanage

Learning a South Korean game while visiting a Thai orphanage

We love the intentional vision Megan has for her life! Recently, we had the chance to ask Megan more about her travels. Here’s what she said:

You told us you started a “traveling guest book” on your first trip out of the country. How has this practice added to your travel experiences?

On the trips I took before starting my traveling guest book, I remember meeting so many kind people. I wish I knew more about them.
So I have a list of questions, and I tell the people I meet that they can answer two or three of the questions or more if they want. I’ve had some people answer all 15! Or they can just write a note. They can include contact information if they want.
It’s really exciting to read their answers and can be encouraging during a long series of flights or after a frustrating day without alone time. Some of the questions are short and light-hearted and easy to answer (oceans or mountains? coffee or tea?) while others are very personal (hardest thing you’ve ever done? most life-changing book you’ve read?). It’s amazing what answers I’ve gotten.

I still don’t get every person to sign the journal (not because they say no, but because of the timing). But as I flip through the pages, I found that I have a note from:

  • an opera singer
  • a 13-year-old whose dad had been to all 50 states and said, “Now it’s her turn.”
  • a 66-year-old cousin I had never met, but whose house we stayed at
  • one of my favorite singers (Tyrone Wells)
  • a tiny house builder
So many times I’ve walked away from people and read their entries and wanted to run back and be like, “Oh, wow…me, too!!!” It’s crazy the things you have in common with strangers…things you’d never expect.
I also invite them to give me a new question to ask people who fill out the journal. I’ve gotten so many good ones this way! (Who is the one person you most want to say “I’m sorry” to?) And I love seeing it all in different people’s handwriting. You can see some of them here. I hope to add more in the future!
Learning about the value of simplicity in Uganda

Learning about the value of simplicity in Uganda

How do travel and simple living interconnect in your life? (Does travel play a role in keeping life simple, or simple living play a role in encouraging travel…?)
Although I’ve wanted a simple life from my childhood, it seemed less and less practical until I started traveling. I realized I can go two weeks using only a bowl, spoon, pot, ladle, and two water bottles as dishes. We didn’t even have a knife! We still used vegetables and had delicious meals. And I love cooking, so that was a big realization for me. I still will use a single bowl all day long (if no one else moves it).
I also learned that I can go without plumbing and electricity. While I enjoy both, it really isn’t that bad to go without them. You learn new ways to get your basic needs met. And you realize what you don’t miss that much. I use the internet for my job, but I want to create a lifestyle where I can get away from it for a while every now and then.

The more I pursue a simple life, though, I realize what’s most important to me. Traveling is near the top because it goes along with so many other things I believe in:

  • enjoying God and His creation
  • people are more important than things
  • lifelong learning is amazing and fun if you make it that way
  • don’t wait until your life is almost over to start living the way you won’t; the timing will never be perfect for any big dream

So living simply has helped me focus on putting my time and energy into travel rather than many other things I could choose to do but that would make my life too complicated for travel.

Hiking during her Grand Canyon rafting trip

Hiking during her Grand Canyon rafting trip

Megan’s advice for those considering travel:

My best travel advice is to just do it. Excuses will always come, but at the same time (if you look for them) there will always be better reasons to go anyway.

  • I’ve had people tell me places were too dangerous. (I’ve felt way more in danger in the U.S.)
  • I’ve almost turned down trips because of lack of money. (So glad I went anyway!!! It was the Grand Canyon rafting trip, and I can’t believe it was such a difficult decision for me.)
  • I’ve struggled with finding a good time to go. (My family and friends and coworkers survived without me!)
  • I also was afraid of traveling alone or with strangers. (My first flight was with a group from college, and the girl who signed up with me ended up not going. By then I didn’t want to back out, and I knew the other people well enough.)

I found a way around all of those difficulties. If you don’t want to travel, that’s fine. But if you dream of traveling, think of all the reasons you should do it instead of the reasons you shouldn’t. And maybe go watch “The Bucket List.”

Are you a fellow Intentional Traveler? Share your story with us to be featured in an upcoming blog post (and potential book project). Help inspire others to pursue more meaningful, transformational travel!

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  • Kathy @ SMART Living
    Posted at 08:40h, 09 March

    I love your idea about a traveling journal Megan. Every where we stay there is always a journal for people who stay there–but you take the opposite approach and it is such a great way to help remember the people and experiences you had with them along the way. And I also really, really appreciate your list of 4 pieces of travel advice. They are all very profound. Thanks for sharing your story and I look forward to more on your blog.

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