Our stay at an Earthship in New Mexico

By Tina Chau Jan 31, 2019

I’ve always wanted to stay at an earthship since I first learned about it from a friend a few years ago.  The idea of staying at a house that is entirely self-sufficient and made of natural and recycled materials fascinated me.  I love sustainability, homesteading and am already practicing on reducing my carbon footprint.  Thus, naturally, the idea of an off-grid dwelling appealed to me.  So we packed our bags and headed off to Taos, New Mexico.

At the airport


The flight to New Mexico was not without a hiccup though.  We underestimated the time it took to get to the airport during rain and rush hour.  We arrived at the check-in counter with only 40 minutes left before take off, and so it was too late to board.  The agent was also unable to reroute us onto another flight since it was during high season.   We ended up purchasing new tickets from a different airline for the next morning.  At that moment, I was quite distraught and took it out on my poor hubby.  He has become my rock and also a scapegoat at times like these.  Needless to say, we will never be late to the airport again that’s for sure.   

Despite this costly lesson, our kids were thrilled to spend the night at the airport, it was a nice little adventure for them.  They started scouting for a place to camp out, which we found at the airport lounge.  I love airport lounges, its one of the most comfortable places in the world, with free food, WiFi and cozy chairs!

Enroute to New Mexico.  

 Enjoying this beautiful sunset.



The drive from Santa Fe to Taos was absolutely breathtaking. We took the high road, which was 10 minutes longer but worth it because it was the more scenic route.  Throughout the drive, it felt like we were transported onto Mars.  There were red and black mountains surrounding us.   The natural beauty of it was so stunning that it brought tears to my eyes.  Never have I seen a more extraordinary sight.

On the road



Driving towards the earthship community and seeing these beauties in all its glory, triggered a momentary meditative experience for me.  Even my normally stoic husband could not contain his awe.    

Earthship community



The design of the earthship is so aesthetically pleasing, it looks like a Flintstone type dwelling, with curve-like structures and bottled glass designs.   Walking into the earthship is a bit like walking into a semi-jungle.  The earthship that we chose to stay at is called the “Phoenix”, it is their most tropical earthship rental.  We chose this one so that we can experience living with plants indoors and also eat the produce that were grown inside.   

The Phoenix Earthship


The living room.



The earthship is self-sustaining, which means that it allows you to grow food indoors all year round.   The greenhouses that are built into the earthships are not just for sustenance, but also helps to regulate the temperature keeping it at 70 degrees all year round.   There are no heaters or air conditioners in the earthships.



We harvested some delicious kale the next morning in the greenhouse.  We also had some lime from the citrus fruit.  The foods that were growing in this particular earthship were brussel sprouts, kale, tomatoes, limes, bananas, and figs.  We were only able to harvest the kale and a few tomatoes.  Everything else was not quite ripe.  I was a bit disappointed about that, but the staff said it's because the food was very hard to take care of.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed cooking the fresh kale and tomatoes. 



The earthship uses water collected from the rain or snow.  It then filters it and reuses the water a few times before it gets discarded outside.  This is a great idea since we really don’t need squeaky clean water to flush the toilet.  The water that comes from the shower and sink is reused again by watering the plants.  The water from the toilet goes directly outside of the house and even then it will water the flowers and plants outside the house before it makes its way to the septic.   This ensures that no water is wasted. 

One of the gutters that move rainwater from the catchment space on the roof into underground cisterns.



We also enjoyed cooking most of our meals in the earthship.   In the evenings, we would cuddle up in front of the fireplace to sip tea and unwind. 




At night, we took a little stroll outside.  It was dark all around.   As I looked up beyond our planet at the starry sky, this brought back familiar feelings of doubt about our existence, something that troubled me since I was a child.   What happens after death?  It felt like no outcome can ever soothe me.  But at that moment, staring up at the star-studded night, I reminded myself to just stay present.   This was much simpler to do when you are surrounded by the earth’s natural beauty. 

« Back to Blog