The What Why How Theory: Yurtlife Unpacked with Goal Zero

Stoked to have my guest post up on Goal Zero’s Solar Life blog this week. Ryan and Andy from the GZ team came and filmed Sean and I a few months ago at our yurt for their series, En Route. We are so honored to be a part of this community. Preview the post below (which pays homage to our buddy Chris’ theory – What Why How), and click READ MORE to see the rest on the Solar Life blog!


When my husband, Sean, and I tell people that we live in a yurt, their reaction usually falls somewhere between Clueless and Stoked.

Clueless: They have no idea what we’re talking about. It’s like they mis-heard what we said. “Oh. [Concentrating real hard] What is a… urrrt?”

Disbelief: They know what a yurt is, but have only associated such things with summer camp, ski resorts or hut trips… in the movies. “Seriously? Why would you want to live in a yurt?”

Stoked: They have been researching how to get their own piece of heaven and build a sustainable home, and are super interested to learn more about yurt life. “How did you guys do that?”

This trifecta is the basis of a theory created by our buddy, Chris (also a yurt dweller). He calls it the What, Why, How Theory surrounding alternative living. Essentially, by choosing to stray from the status quo, we encounter three levels of awareness when interacting with the world.

READ THE REST HERE. (And watch the video below!)




14 Comments. Leave new

I am so inspired by this post! I “stumbled” across your blog last week while researching relocating to Whitfish(from South Florida) and I love the pics, your story and the yurt! My husband and I are looking to move to the area, build a yurt and enjoy Mother Nature. I would be beyond grateful to chat with you both on the nuts and bolts of living off grid in a MT! Do you need roommates?! Lol.

Thank you in advance!
Willow & Sage

Mollie Busby
May 5, 2015 6:47 pm

Thanks for the note, Willow! Let us know how we can help 🙂 Feel free to shoot us an email with any questions! – Mollie

Carrie Taylor
May 5, 2015 12:05 pm

Thanks so much for sharing about your yurt with us!! I don’t think I could ever live off the grid but I do have a dream of having a mortgage free small home for my family of four. 🙂


We are yurt dwellers too! Love your video!


How cold are the winters there? and what kind of insulation do you have? We are currently in the process of putting up a 28 ft. yurt and would like it winterized as it gets to -40 degrees here in Canada where we live. We are thinking we won’t be able to keep it warm enough. Any thoughts would be appreciated!


My brother and I lived in a teepee In S. Weare, New Hampshire for 6 months (May – November) in ’72. I believe it was 12′ in diameter. We built an octagonal platform for it, and dug out a small area below it, with a trapdoor for access, and stored extra food and other things there. We dug out a spring about 100 yards away (downhill), and hauled water by hand. Our transportation was a tandem bicycle. Our food was very simple, nothing that needed refrigeration, we baked bread in a dutch oven buried in coals, that sort of thing. We were working on building a log cabin, but using hand tools our progress was slow. I’ll always treasure that time period. We were in the middle of the woods, but had some neighbors not that far away. The teepee had a feeling of a connection with the universe.
I admire what you are doing. It’s a lifestyle, and perhaps not easy, but the tradeoff is spiritual. Hauling water, especially that distance has to be tough, though.
We (my wife and I) have a rather extensive website – she does a lot photography, and even videos (I play the fiddle). We have a rather idyllic piece of property – quite varied, and I’ve built paths through it. We are both lovers of nature. I am also a glassblower.


Hi, very impressive. I was curious why you went with Goal Zero for your solar power/batteries? I know of a number of companies which specialize in small units similar to what I see in your yurt and their systems have lithium batteries vice the standard acid filled ones that I thought I saw stacked in your yurt. Just curious.


Wow I really enjoyed your blog I came across it through Michelle Alswager I am also a parent of a child with diabetes and I think I’d like to live in a yurt off grid too someday so I’ll be following your story


I enjoyed reading your story on Yahoo! I’ve always been interested in small house living and enjoyed reading your page. I could very much live off the grid. I moved out of the bigger cities to SE Utah for the peace and quiet, and love it! I’m not off the grid, but live simply and enjoy it! Humanity has a tendency to make things so much more complicated than needed, and living simply is such a relief and and amazing feeling!

Brenda Moore
June 22, 2015 9:40 am

My husband and I spent some time in a little cabin in the mountains of WY last year – electricity but no running water, so quiet it was deafening, beautiful, peaceful – I want to go back! Good for you guys, living the dream! Thanks for documenting it and sharing it.


Thanks Brenda – we love it more every day!


My husband and I live in Bellingham, WA and are currently planning our yurt life. We’re looking for land and trying to figure out all the little details. You’re video was SO helpful and inspiring. I was just trying to fall asleep, but my mind was spinning with visions and questions and excited energy. One specific question popped into my mind and I’m hoping you can help. What about laundry? Do you go to a laundry mat or have you figured out a way to wash clothes?



Whoops… Meant “your video.” I clearly need to go back to bed. 😉

The Busby Hive Off Grid Tiny House Tour
November 1, 2016 4:01 pm

[…] everything we went through building a yurt — especially the discovery that it strengthened our marriage, I thought we would breeze through building a tiny house. The financial stars aligned, we were […]


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