Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
It’s not just a fad.
Several years ago, I had a major epiphany. After being so unhappy in my current job, I decided something had to change. I lived, ate, and breathed technology. I spent 10 plus hours a day working on a computer or some other electronic device. I had no life. I’d come home exhausted, both physically and mentally. I knew something had to give, and I didn’t want it to be my health. Knowing I needed to make significant changes, I began to research all sorts of options. I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career finally but also realized that I wouldn’t be the big breadwinner, at least not immediately. So how could we, husband included, of course, be able to afford to pull this off? It wasn’t until my husband and I decided to reconnect with nature. We both love the outdoors and adore camping. So, we decided to look at camper options to allow us to escape the electronic hell we both were incarcerated in. It was during my hubby’s research of campers that he found a company that builds these charming homes on wheels. No, not RV’s but small homes that people lived in full time. We were both captivated by this new lifestyle. Tumbleweed Tiny House Company had so many ideas and models to choose from. Could we really live in one of these things? That summer, we decided to have an epic road trip to Portland, OR to stay in a tiny house hotel as a dry run for us. We figured if we could tolerate 160 square feet for a few days, we might be able to do this. Needless to say, we loved it! Fast-forward 3 years, and here we are making plans now. Sure, this sounds like a fad, but we both agreed that there are so many positives to tiny living that we had to give it a chance.
1. Afford to pursue a creative career.
Unless you’re Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, being a writer is more a matter of surviving on small paying writing gigs than the big contract deals with publishers. By going tiny, I’ll be able to afford to take less pay while pursuing that elusive bestselling novel.
2. Can easily change locations.
By opting to go with a tiny house on wheels (THOW), that flexibility to move wherever the next paying job will give me so many options, thus giving me more employment (at least I hope). Plus, by having my home with me, I don’t have to worry about selling or buying another house. I just hook up and go.
3. Writer’s block is gone. A new place = new ideas.
Speaking of a THOW, by traveling whenever the whim strikes, I’ll continue to keep my ideas fresh with a new environment. I tend to get bored very easily and have extreme wanderlust. Just hook up the home to a truck, and off I go to a new adventure and more story ideas.
4. More affordable to own.
Most tiny homes average in cost of around $50,000! I don’t know of many homes you can buy at that price. And if you build your own, the cost can be even cheaper. Think of it, no mortgage to worry about if you don’t finance. But if you do, your monthly payment is a fraction of the cost of an average traditional home. Because of their size, heating and cooling are significantly cheaper as well.
5. More durable than an RV.
Most RV’s are made to be lighter and more easily towed. However, this lightweight comes at a price. With tiny homes, wheels or not, they are built to the same standards and building codes as most traditional homes. The point of going tiny for many is to have a small home that will last a lifetime. With the durability comes at a cost of its own, heavier weight, which means you’ll need a vehicle capable of towing larger weights.
6. Live more sustainably and have a smaller carbon footprint.
Anyone that knows me knows how important living an eco-friendly life is to me. Tiny homes are easier and cheaper to make sustainable. Many of the appliances, designs, and materials used are meant to be greener. Our design, which is still in the planning stages, will have both solar and wind power, a compostable toilet, extra insulation to reduce the heating and cooling, and use as many recycled materials as possible. By building our THOW to have the ability to be off the grid, we hope to be kinder to the planet by using less.
7. Less focus on maintaining a large house, more focus on memories.
Along the same eco-friendly mindset, my hubby and I want to focus our lives on less stuff. In this country, we’ve become such a consumerist country obsessed with the newest gadget or a bigger house that we’ve forgotten about the most important aspect, making memories. I don’t want more stuff to fill an already overstuffed house. I want to take my modest salary and make as many memories as possible. Plus, with a smaller home, it forces you to be outside more to live. Both my spouse and I love the outdoors, so this seems like a no-brainer choice.
8. A community of like-minded people.
Lastly, after reading countless blogs, books, magazine articles, and TV shows, I find that others attracted to the tiny house movement are very likeminded. After attending the Tiny House Jamboree, we met so many kind, sincere and eco-minded people. Everyone was willing to share tips, ideas, and advice. I witnessed some of the friendliest strangers I’d ever met. Everyone was so eager to lend a helping hand. And many even helped others build their own tiny homes. After the end of the Jam, we agreed that we’d found our tribe.
So now, my husband and I are working on paring stuff down, planning on the final design, and working on a budget. At this point, I know this is the life for me, and it’s not a matter of if but when we get the adventure rolling.
Originally published May 30, 2017/Odyssey