Barebones makes the tents of the future, and they're giving them to people in need.
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Barebones Living

When Robert Workman had the chance to sell his family business for a substantial profit 10 years ago, he decided to use the proceeds for good.

It was an exciting and humbling moment, filled with possibility. He'd become interested in sustainability and philanthropy and knew that he wanted to start giving back. The only questions that remained were how and where. So he hit the road looking for inspiration.

Traveling to the Congo was an eye-opening moment for Robert. Speaking to aid agencies working on the ground and communicating with the people whose lives they were trying to help, he identified an important need that wasn't being met: portable, sustainable, affordable energy generation. Robert convened a team of engineers and got to work. Goal Zero was the result.


Goal Zero offers everything from solar panels (pictured here) to power storage packs. Image via Hadhuey/Wikimedia Commons.

Goal Zero offers an easy-to-use, plug-and-play generator powered by solar panels. Its Yeti power packs are small but mighty, with three sizes able to power anything from phone chargers to refrigerators. The generators were instantly embraced by aid agencies and outdoor adventurers alike.

As far as companies go, Goal Zero is the de facto older brother of Barebones Living. Robert sold Goal Zero in 2014 and created Barebones Living.

Where Goal Zero offers a sustainable and renewable way of generating power, Barebones Living offers sustainable shelters, cooking implements, gardening tools, and lanterns.

A Barebones Living tent. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

The tents themselves — dubbed the Outfitter and the Lodge — are high-quality and built to last. They come equipped with fully waterproof floors, six-foot-tall walls, cookstove vents in the roof, and exteriors that will last five years even with daily use. But while these tents wouldn't be out of place at a high-end retreat or the fancy camping area of Coachella, it's in the developing world or during disaster relief where they really go to work.

"Our business has been created by our humanitarian work," said Erik Workman, Barebones Living director of sales and outdoor adventure. "All of our businesses were causes that needed these services."

When a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal in April 2015, it left cities and villages in ruins and entire families on the streets.

One of Barebones Living's tents being used as a field hospital in Kathmandu.

While UN humanitarian aid can provide tarps for shelters, they're only a temporary solution. "People can’t thrive under tarps," Erik said. "They need a good, clean place where they know they'll be safe. Once you have that, you can start thinking about other things."

Within a week of the earthquake, Barebones Living shipped 25 of its tents to Kathmandu to be used as birthing centers. A few months later, they shipped 75 more. Since then, more than 1500 healthy babies have been born to healthy moms in these mobile birthing shelters. Even after the local hospital is rebuilt and reopened, these tents will still be useful — forming the frames for homes for displaced families.

More recently, the Barebones team has been on the ground in the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica, and Fiji, helping with recovery efforts after devastating hurricanes.

Once shelter is taken care of, a community can rebuild. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

They also donated tents to the protestors at Standing Rock in North Dakota and are working with an agency to supply tents and equipment to a growing Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon.

"We're working to set up a mobile medical clinic that we can basically palletize and put on a plane," Erik said. "It has the shelter, cots, coolers, lanterns — everything they'd need to get a clinic up and running in a remote area."

As Barebones continues to grow its business, it plans to give back even more.

Barebones Living tents are strong enough to be used as permanent homes in all kinds of weather for up to five years. Image via Barebones Living, used with permission.

"Right now we have a matching grant fund to support humanitarian agencies that want to purchase shelters," Erik said. "Every year for the next five years, we're matching grants up to $500,000, and we hope to expand that program as much as we can in the future."

Giving back has been baked in to the mandate of Barebones Living from the beginning. For the people who benefit from their generosity, the effect can be life-changing. Here's to more companies following their lead!

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

So instead, he ran around the house with a film-less camera pretending to be a hotshot photographer on an African safari, mimicking the heroes behind iconic photos he saw in the discarded National Geographic magazines his dad grabbed for him out of the garbage.

Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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