Home Ideas: earthships in Taos

Home has always been the space where my soul rests, recharges.

When I was little it was the palace of my dreams. The walls could easily shift and blur. One moment my home, one moment my vessel as our balcony became a prow cutting through the water and ready to explore the world.

I’d run around with my bare feet on the hardwood floors, humming while the patter of dog paws trailed after me.

I was the girl who got homesick at sleepovers because I felt the outside world caged me. At home there was only the limits of my imagination. Having the time to live in my own head, my own space, is an infinity that “out there” sometimes lacks.

It seems backwards since there is so much of the world I haven’t seen, but every time I left home – for trips, college, etc – there was always an anxiousness to be back again. An innate need to land back in my nest and process my flight.

I like the idea of sinking roots into a soil, settling. I love adventure and experience, but I need a lighthouse to bring me back.

I desire a dog loping around in a field on a homestead, sitting on a porch sipping cold drinks with loved ones, cuddling in a familiar blanket, banana bread in the oven, coffee on the stove. These simple things hold oceans of sustenance for my soul.

Therefore, when I think of the days ahead when we’ll choose a more permanent home, I appreciate the time I have to dream up what we really need. I’ve also discovered a new layer – a way to be more sustainable and give more than we take from the land we rest on. Through my journeys, I know that I want to live a little different than what society has deemed a home.

I had passed earthships on a road trip to Taos many years ago and was intrigued by the other-worldly shapes rising out of the earth. Thirteen years later, and there I stood opening the door to one with my husband.

I’m still amazed by the simple ingenuity of it. In all honesty, I thought I would find it to be too strange, but once inside it seemed so natural. Almost as if we’ve been doing it all wrong this whole time. Harness the sun, capture the breeze, collect rainwater, grow your food, nourish your soil, reuse and recycle. These are things we’ve been doing for eons, and while we’ve found ways to make them more efficient, they’re still the most sustainable.

These things certainly aren’t limited to earthships. While we appreciated the craftsmanship of our abode, we see the potential of bringing the same elements into a more “traditional” home. This spring, we’ve planted our garden and laid plans for our composting system (and I’ve been researching chicken coops much to Mason’s chagrin). The earthship was just a physical realization of everything we’d wanted to do for some time – and it was inspiring seeing it all in action.

It was a huge mindset leap jumping from leasing an apartment or home to renovating a 1972 Airstream. While the original intention was freedom to travel and save money for career goals, it has broadened my horizons beyond it’s aluminum shell. Now I want to know how to push our limits even further while still maintaining the comforts of home. While earthships aren’t revolutionary and certainly not as perfect as I like to imagine, they do combine so many sustainable pillars into one. Why can’t you incorporate it all together? Permaculture, off-grid, self-sufficient, recycled building materials…

And in many ways, I think our grandparents and our grandparent’s grandparents knew so many of these things, and we’ve just forgotten them. We didn’t know how important it was until we’d forgotten and started to believe it was new. Not having the sound of the AC kick on, using a wood stove, re-using your water, planting your food… the solar batteries and tire walls may be new, but the foundation is still the same.

If you ever travel through Taos, I highly recommend staying in an earthship. It’s eerily quiet, peaceful and cozy. It’s a testament to our past and to our future, and has some pretty spectacular horizon views to go with it.

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