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Throwback Thursday: The Tipi

Hey, have I mentioned I spent the summer of ’03 living in a tipi in Montana?

It’s always fun to see people react to that.

Yup. I was a recent college grad living with my boyfriend in Bozeman, Montana. And I said, “Hey, know what would be fun? If we lived in a tipi!”

To his lasting credit, my boyfriend said, “Uh…okay.”

And that’s why I married him.

We set up the tipi on the banks of the Gallatin river. The farmers who owned the land agreed to let us live there in exchange for help around the farm, which is where I learned that asparagus are a pain in the ass.

Yes, these are pictures of pictures. I lived in a freaking tipi, for God’s sake. I didn’t have a digital camera!

So what was it like to live without running water or electricity for three months?

Samantha MacLeod circa 2003

I’ll be honest with you.


A tipi is beautifully designed. It was warm at night, cool during the day, and yes – it stayed dry in the rain.

Those blue waves? I painted ’em.

As for being outside all the time – watching every sunset, ending each day around a campfire – well, that was the best. Straight up best.

The few irritating things (insects, no phone, no oven) got less irritating over time. And when it was finally cold enough to force us back inside, it was really strange to hear machines humming all night.


Weren’t you worried about, like, bears?

Yeah, Montana has bears. And not just wimpy little black bears – grizzly bears, baby! So we didn’t do any cooking in the tipi; all the food stayed near the cars, in a cooler weighed down by the big orange water jug or in an ammunition box I got from the local Army Surplus store.

What about the bathroom?

Well, I washed my hair in the river (using Dr. Bronner’s biodegradable soap, of course). And, uh, there is a backcountry camping technique called a cathole… But mostly I just waited till I was at work. (As a part time cashier for a bead store, if you must know.)

And what does this have to do with writing smut?



Although my next novel is set in Montana…

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