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The Tiny Seed
For a couple of years I’ve been cultivating a seed in the back of my mind. The seed contained the beginnings of a tiny lifestyle, meaning, a “tiny home” of less than (in my mind) 300 square feet. This idea was sparked by the ‘Tiny House movement’, and articles by such websites as The Tiny House Blog, Small Talk Blog, Small House Society, and LittleYellowDoor to name a few. This movement focuses around “tiny” homes that are under 400 square feet in size (usually closer to 200 sq/ft), and often built upon a trailer for mobility and to combat certain zoning regulations that prohibit domiciles less than a certain size.
The inside of a Tiny House.
An example of a Tiny House on a trailer.
This idea immediately made sense to me. Through my experiences over the last 5 years, I am most comfortable (and you could say happy) when I am living in smaller, cozier, spaces and with less “stuff”. Case in point; out of my 8 years living in San Diego, my favorite apartment was a small studio-efficiency apartment. One room that included the bed, couch, and TV, with a small nook for the kitchen and a separate bathroom. It was warm and felt like a nest. Less to clean and less spaces to collect junk (you know you have lots in your spaces). That brings me to December 8th, 2012. The day I moved in with my girlfriend in her 25 foot 2012 RV.
The Mobile Lifestyle Begins
Here we are having some fun with photography. See my Vespa in the background.
The solar panel and kayak on top of the RV.
Through a series of
“random” events (I don’t believe in random events – I believe I attracted it all to me), I was forced out of my comfort zone in a safe apartment, which was causing me to hesitate making such a big change, and given the freedom to finally go “Tiny”. So I placed the majority of my “stuff” in storage and went mobile. This was a painless, natural transition. The hardest part seemed to be peeling myself away from the familiarity of apartment life, which I was fortunate enough to be shoved out of. Now, with very few personal belongings aboard, I am at home in my tiny house on wheels.
Challenges and Benefits
Dumping the tanks at a local campground.
Living “tiny” is a big change in and of itself, but add mobility to the equation and you certainly gain a few challenges. Firstly, your house is always moving. The rear of the RV is bulky and has a high center of gravity. This means that when you hit a bump at an angle, the back end whips back and forth, dislodging and flinging ANYTHING not buckled down. Secondly, this is an RV, which means you have a shower, sink, and toilet. So of course, you have to “dump” your waste. With two people living here, it works out to a “dump” about once every 4 days. This includes dumping and rinsing your tanks, and filling up with fresh water. Not a huge deal, but a definite change in how you operate on a weekly basis. Third, there is some special maintenance concerns in an RV. Weather seals need be maintained. Moisture can become an issue in wet climates. Then you have the general motor-vehicle maintenance items.
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Sunset never looked so good.
There are also benefits to living “tiny” and mobile, otherwise why would I want to do it? First, you get to wake up to new surroundings, a new back yard, every day if you choose. Second, if you don’t like your neighbors you just drive away. Third, you can park your “house” in any of your favorite locations (why choose just one?). Fourth, it’s a tiny, cozy space. Very little to get messy and very little to clean. This also means very little space to heat or cool. Being mobile also gives you a great sense of freedom. You can go where you want, for as long as you want (given that your schedule allows it).
Parked along Carlsbad State Beach.
View inside the RV, towards the back.
View inside the RV, towards the front.
Mobile Living and Community
We really like the community concept of this type of living. When most people think of living mobile, in an RV or even on a tiny house on a trailer, they probably think that’s the opposite of community. “You can up and leave whenever you want. You’re not a part of the community.” But how many of your neighbors are you truly close with? How many do you talk to on a regular basis? And besides, does a community only consist of a block of houses, or a neighborhood? How about a wider sense of community? Throughout our day we have the privilege of meeting and getting to know many incredible people, from all walks. Many stop by out of interest in our living situation. Many are just chance meetings due to the fact that we get around to new places. You really get the opportunity to break free of your static bubble of reality, and be a part of the world.
Community with friends.
Currently, we are taking part in a new way of bringing together community. We have the pleasure of sharing the space (be it in driveways or parking lots) with friends and loving souls, all around town. By joining our mobile lifestyle with the traditional home lifestyle, we are bridging the gap between the two. We believe this tiny/mobile living movement is part of the new paradigm. A new way of living, in sync with the natural rhythm of life and in tune with your heart.
We also plan on participating in the creation of conscious communities and dedicated tiny home communities, such as the tiny house village envisioned by Jay Schafer and the Four Lights Company.
Mobile Life and Me
For me, mobile life means freedom, moving more easily with the flow of life, and potentially a deeper connection with nature. It is a tool that I look forward to truly utilizing in my photography. It has been a great adventure so far.
In 2007 I had what you could call a deep spiritual awakening. This was an immediate shift in my views on life, what is important, and what is real, all happening over a matter of a few seconds (this is a lengthy blog post in itself). In this shift I realized how freeing it was to accept not knowing what was going to happen in the future, and even find excitement in it as if it were an incredible adventure (and it really is). My new mobile lifestyle fits in there perfectly. This life is SO comfortable, in fact, that we are even considering finding something smaller, more efficient, and easier to get around in. I’ll keep you updated on any changes in that area.
I tried my best to convey what is in my heart around this new lifestyle. There is still a lot going on, and I’m sure I’m still processing much of it. If you’d like to ask me anything else about my journey, please feel free to leave your questions in the comments or email me directly.
Thank you for being a part of my adventure,