Living in a Tipi: My Next Adventure

I've never understood some things: women, Boson Higgs, and most of all, renting. You pay money, month after month, and in the end, you've acquired nothing really. You have nothing to sell; you've gained no assets. You're basically throwing money out every month for the land lord to relish in. It makes no sense, if you're staying somewhere more than a year or two.

When I went off to Clemson University, it was mandated that I spend at least one year in the dorms. So, I did have to rent at that point, though not by choice. My Sophomore year , I was leaving a semester in for this adventure, so staying on campus again was the only option. With my return this fall though, I do not plan to live on campus, and I definitely don't want to waste my money renting. Instead, I've bought some land, and on that land I will construct a tipi.

I've already purchased over a half acre of land and all of the necessary building components. Below I will try and answer all of the question that I imagine this project, that I call The Nautilus, will arouse:

Q: Where is The Nautilus located?
A: I don't want to publish my exact location on the interwebs, but the property is only ten minutes from campus by car or 30 minutes by CAT bus. If you would like to stop by and visit, come August, just drop me a line.

Q: What about zoning?
A: Great question. I actually had to turn down a few pieces of property due to the zoning issues. The City of Clemson's zoning policy specifically disallows any "tents or any other form of portable structure". So, I've gone with a piece of county land.  There are less taxes, and I'm pretty much free to do as I please. The Nautilus is just outside the city limits of Pendleton.

Q: How much did/will The Nautilus cost?
A: Including the land and supplies, I'm estimating the entire cost of the project to be less than a single semester's rent. The Nautilus < $5,000.

Q: Did any of the funds from your Kickstarter project go towards The Nautilus?
A: No. Just no.

Q: Will you have utilities? Electricity or running water?
A: I have a small solar array that I can use to juice up my phone but other than that, no to electricity. Water will be brought in offsite to start. I'm looking into getting a tap, from the city water pipe, put on the property.

Q: But with no running water, how will you shower... or poop?
A: It's called composting, my good sir. I will construct an outhouse with a small composting toilet. When that fills, I will add it to my larger composting bin. And no, composting poop does not smell, if done properly.
As for bathing, I'll use the showers at Fike (the gym). I also hope they've fixed the pool there by the time I get back.

Q: You program computers. That's your major! How are you going to get by without electricity?
A: No worries there. When I lived in the dorms, I would never come home during the day. I would go to Coop (the library) and do all of my work. Only after that would I head home with all of my work already completed. I plan to do the same with The Nautilus.

Q: Ok, so what about when you are there. How are you stay warm in the winters and cool in the summers?
A: As for the cold, I will be buying a potbelly stove. This will provide more radiant heat than an open fire pit, and it's a lot safer. On top of that, I want to get some good furs to sleep under.
In times of hot weather, you simply roll up the bottom of the tipi and let the conical shape of the structure do its magic. It might get a bit hot at times, but people lived for millennia without AC. I can do the same.

Q: What about the rain or the snow won't you get wet?
A: Nope. It's called an ozan. When I have the fire going and it's raining/snowing, the ozan channels the precipitation that makes it's way in out of the tipi. If there is no need for a fire, I can simply shut the smoke flaps, and the ozan is double back up.

Q: If the elements aren't going to get you, aren't you afraid of getting robbed/someone breaking in?
A: Of course it's a worry, but  most importantly, who the hell wants my stinky underwear? That's really about all that I own. I will have multiple deterrents up though. The first will be using social psychology, lifted the book and blog Freakonomics. The second will be an alarm system, one that both notifies me and the police. Finally, I will use a piece of galvanized steel cable to lock everything together (think the patio furniture out front of a restaurant). Good luck getting all of that out of the small door flap all at once.

Q: You mentioned that you're going to have a potbellied stove. Will you cook on it? If so, how will you get your food? How will you store it without refrigeration?
A: I will indeed. One great thing about traveling is that you learn about the fallacies of your own culture. Case and point eggs. They don't need to be refrigerated! I love eggs (insert Amanda Show reference here). I eat them almost every morning along with cinnamon raisin toast, so that meal is still intact. Lunch will usually happen at school (I plan on getting the commuter plan) as will dinner, but I plan to keep some canned food around: tuna, salmon, chicken, and black beans.

Q: If you plan on having food around, won't you have to worry about vermin? 
A: Enter Selina (Kyle if it is a male). Cats domesticated themselves because we measly humans attract rodents and the like. Selina will hold down the fort. She'll be an outside/barn cat though. I'll make her a nice little house to live in right next to my tipi.

Q: Ok, so you have everything covered. But why? This seems so out of the blue.
A: The idea has actually been in the works since December. I read "The Last American Man", and I knew that I wanted to make this happen. I'm going to go and visit Eustace Conway before heading back to Clemson and pick his brain for knowledge. He did this same thing when he was at Uni, and he now owns thousands of acres in North Carolina. Plus, boxes are boring, and who doesn't love the smell of campfire smoke?
I would also like to point out that the site's favicon (the little picture that shows up on the tab) has always been a tipi, that the "o" in "Nemo's Travels" is a tipi, and the store use to have ASCII art of a tipi. Those were not by coincidence. Welcome to the next stage of my adventure.

Q: [Brain Explodes a Little Bit] Finally, is tipi really how you spell it? And what are you going to do with it once you graduate?
A: Tipi, tepee, or teepee. It's all the same really. As for the latter question, I have no idea, but I will own a portable home that adds not property tax and over half an acre of land. What does your apartment offer for you in two years? Nothing.



  1. And, since I live very close to Clemson, I might desire to come over an cook a rat or two on a spit over your Tipi fire, and if you're not home at the moment, I'll tepee your Tipi... =) It'll be good to have you back in Clemson =)

    1. You're more than welcome to! But please refrain from TPing my tipi, haha. I'll give you shout when I'm back; it would be great to have you over.


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