How Would You Survive if You Had to Live in a Twelve by Twelve Cabin?

You know what it’s like. You’ve wanted to chuck it all and go off by yourself to a cabin in the woods. Modern life can be just too demanding and burdensome.

Making the choice to live a minimalist lifestyle is a choice for some. For others, it’s a necessity. Many of us have had to make drastic changes and cutbacks in the past few years.

Perhaps you’ve seen the stories. Some people are living in shipping containers. Others in straw bale homes. And on it goes.

The DestinySurvival Pick of the Week is Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream, by William Powers. He shares his experiences living in a spartan cabin a doctor called home when she wasn’t traveling.

I heard the author interviewed and knew it was a book I wanted to tell you about. Here’s a description. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking it into smaller paragraphs for your reading convenience.

“Why would a successful American physician choose to live in a twelve-foot-by-twelve-foot cabin without running water or electricity?

“To find out, writer and activist William Powers visited Dr. Jackie Benton in rural North Carolina. No Name Creek gurgled through Benton’s permaculture farm, and she stroked honeybees’ wings as she shared her wildcrafter philosophy of living on a planet in crisis.

“Powers, just back from a decade of international
aid work, then accepted Benton’s offer to stay at the cabin for a season while she traveled. There, he befriended her eclectic neighbors — organic farmers, biofuel brewers, eco-developers — and discovered a sustainable but imperiled way of life.

“In these pages, Powers not only explores this small patch of community but draws on his international experiences with other pockets of resistance. This engrossing tale of Powers’s struggle for a meaningful life with a smaller footprint proposes a paradigm shift to an elusive “Soft World” with clues to personal happiness and global healing.”

This is not a “how-to” book on building the cabin. Rather, it contemplates a simplified, more isolated way of living.

Some reviewers thought it was too reflective, even preachy and not practical enough. But what if circumstances force you or me to live in a more compact space with fewer possessions? What adjustments would we have to make internally as well as externally? How would we survive?

As much as we might grumble about our consumer oriented way of life, being reduced to living in small quarters would mean significant psychological changes. The self reliant life doesn’t come easy. Reading Twelve by Twelve could help ease the culture shock.

And yet many in less developed countries, as well as the homeless in our own country, would consider a twelve by twelve dwelling place to be a luxury.

If you’re intrigued by the challenge to live better, not necessarily well, then click on the book’s title wherever you see it linked in this post.

Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

2 thoughts on “How Would You Survive if You Had to Live in a Twelve by Twelve Cabin?”

  1. So glad you carried this story and that someone is living this way and reporting on it. But living in a twelve by twelve building is about convenience, not survival. No one would die because their home was this size. Many people who are surviving now in tents would love to have such a shelter. In a Nazareth museum there is a tiny mud hut similar to those used by the people in the time of Christ. Much of the world is housed very poorly compared to this house. I hope you continue to show such practical structures in the spirit of Thoreau.

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