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I’m Tammy Strobel. Welcome to my digital home!

I'm a writer, photographer, and cat lover. I'm also obsessed with CrossFit and coffee.

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A Whirlwind Weekend: The Tiny House Jamboree

Photo by Tammy Strobel
Photo by Tammy Strobel

Last weekend, I flew to Arlington, Texas to give a talk at The Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree. During October, I devoted a large chunk of my time to organizing and practicing my talk—Life in 128 Square Feet & Beyond. The advice Chris Anderson gave in his book—TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking—made my presentation better, and more concise. If you’re preparing for a speaking event, I highly recommend reading Chris’s book.

Overall, the presentation went okay. I felt like I talked too fast and skipped over some important points. Without a video of my presentation, it’s hard to for me to evaluate how the talk flowed. I tend to be hard on myself, so I’m choosing to believe the positive feedback I received from attendees and my friends. For example, my buddy Dee said my talk was the best I’ve given, and that I made her laugh and cry. Her kind words mean a lot to me because public speaking—especially speaking in front of large groups—freaks me out.

I’m glad I said yes to the speaking opportunity because it was a fun weekend. Some of my favorite moments from the weekend included:

1. I reconnected with my friend Dee Williams. Dee inspired our tiny house adventures, designed our tiny house, and I’m honored to call her a friend. Also, her book—The Big Tiny—is touching and beautiful!

2. I spent time with my girlfriends Cait Flanders and Courtney Carver. Courtney and I were speakers at the Jamboree, and Cait was in Dallas for a conference. The timing was serendipitous! I can’t believe we were all in Texas at the same time!

3. My CrossFit coach gave me extra workouts, so I got up early and did them. I was tempted to hit snooze and sleep for a few more hours, but I’m glad I got out of bed and made time to sweat. The workouts eased massive pre-presentation anxiety.

4. A few hours before my talk, I got stuck in an elevator at the Arlington Sheraton and had a panic attack. It might seem weird that this is a conference highlight, but I’m scared of elevators. I’ve been trying to overcome this fear by taking more elevator rides. When I was stuck in the elevator, I thought I was going to pass out or get sick. Thankfully, neither of those things occurred. As my vision blurred, I had enough sense to sit on the floor in the elevator and take deep breaths. Once I calmed down, I hit the emergency call button. A staffer rescued me 10 minutes later. I took the stairs for the rest of the weekend and made it to my talk on time!

5. I loved seeing Courtney speak about Project 333 at the Jamboree. She rocked it!

6. Yuichi Takeuchi and Ben Matsunaga screened their documentary Simplife at the Jamboree and it was beautiful. Their film is about people living simply in tiny homes.

7. Texans are so friendly! Everyone I encountered was kind and helpful. I didn’t have time to explore Arlington, Dallas, or the surrounding area because I landed in Dallas on Friday afternoon and left on Sunday evening. Spending time at the conference was my main priority. Next time Texas! I’m coming for you!

There you have it! If you’ve got additional questions about the Jamboree, leave a comment below.

Links & resources to explore . . .

  • Simplife—a film about people living simply in handcrafted houses
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