This ultra light and mobile tiny house was built by several engineers and scientists in Delft, Holland and then towed through several European countries on its way to Turkey. Stefan, Michelle and James only spent about 75 hours building their traveling companion on wheels and the build process can be seen on YouTube.
Issue 25 of the Tiny House Magazine has an article about Austin and Nicole Barkis, a Southern California couple who sold nearly all their belongings, purchased a teardrop trailer from Craigslist and hit the road with Bowser and Yoshi—their rescued Pomeranian Chihuahuas. All four of them are now enjoying life in 4×9 trailer towed by a Mini Cooper S.
While you can find out more about the couple and their teardrop trailer life from the magazine article or from their website and Tumblr blog, this post covers their minimizing and simplification process and how they live their life out of 36 square feet—with a few thousand miles as their backyard.
Austin and Nicole decided to simplify after questioning their lives in Southern California. High rent and bills were draining and unused stuff was piling up. After viewing a TEDx video by Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt, the couple put their personal belongings on Craigslist and looked for a trailer that could be towed by their Mini. Austin runs his own business and Nicole telecommutes for her software job, so both knew they could make money on the road.
When minimizing their belongings to maximize their lives, the couple realized that the process of getting rid of things had to have a forced deadline. Storage units and cabinets were still full until the very last second before hitting the highway. That’s when the virtual fire was lit and stuff began to get tossed.
“When we first began, we had a ton of stuff sitting in the teardrop trailer (which is just the bed inside) and we had bags and little boxes of stuff overflowing everywhere,” Nicole wrote on their blog. “It got to the point that when we were loading the last few things, we just started throwing stuff away in the nearby Dumpster of our old apartment complex. It’s fascinating, you plan and you plan, but once it’s finally there and you have your trailer and you see the reality of the space vs. what you thought you could keep, you stop caring. All you want at that moment is to get on the road.”
It only took until the second night to realize what they really wanted to keep on their journeys. Along the way nonessential items like throw pillows, extra shoes and even a potted plant were given away. They kept a few items for comfort and fun, tools for the teardrop and Mini (located in a storage box on the front of the trailer), computers, food and cooking items, and some bins of clothes that will be minimized even further. The Mini trunk and a storage area under the teardrop bed hold items not immediately needed.
Austin and Nicole’s mission is to live minimally yet to the absolute fullest degree possible. If you are struggling to minimize your life, just imagine having to pack it all away into a teardrop trailer and a Mini Cooper.
Photos by Teardrop USA
Living life as a digital nomad (or a location-independent professional) is one of the most exciting ways to live life. Ten years ago it was called telecommuting. That term has come to describe someone who works for a company but doesn’t go into the corporate office each day. I like to call that a Tier 1 nomad. We’re talking about the Tier 2 nomad today.
Leveraging technology with work with travel with freedom is one of the perks of living in this day and age. With a laptop, cellular phone, Internet connection, and a bit of enterprising one can work and live/travel anywhere they want. Common digital nomad occupations are writers, photographers, web developers, personal assistants, graphic designers, and even work-as-you-go laborers. And now with the prominence of social media you can build up your brand and market internationally even as a team of one!
The real truth is that it has never been more easy to work professionally and travel consistently at the same time!
But sometimes when things seem too good to be true, they are. There are a few downsides to the ‘life nomadic.’ Besides possibly never feeling grounded or like you have a home, you also have to consider the requirements for professional work and the mental and emotional strain of generating income while on the path just to stay on the path. Not one to focus on the negative though there are a few more subtle (and perhaps obvious) plusses as well that go beyond the cut-and-dried “I travel all the time and work on the road. Isn’t that cool?” idiom.
I invite you to spend the next 3 minutes as I outline some of the plusses and minuses that make up the secret(s) of a digital nomad. Just click on the standard YouTube play button. When you’re finished watching be sure to subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution YouTube channel.
-OR – Subscribe to the Tiny r(E)volution via this link for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.
Airbnb has shown us there is an unending supply of unusual places you can stay, and PodShare in Southern California is one of them. I’ve slept in various “cube” hotels before including a Japanese capsule in Tokyo and a Yotel pod in London, but PodShare is melding together tiny spaces, affordability and community. Elvina Beck opened the PodShare co-living space three years ago and has since hosted over 4,000 “Podestrians”. She said the concept is perfect for minimalist, solo travelers who also want to meet new people. The design of the pods make them different from a typical hostel.
“I grew up on MTV’s The Real World and thought: what would happen if you put 10 strangers under one roof with technology to keep them busy, but with no privacy to help them stay engaged?,” Elvina said. “PodShare was built to answer that question. I wanted to create a comfortable and safe environment for people to sleep without putting up walls.”
Instead of individual bunk beds like in a hostel, each pod is build like a separate shipping container divided by carpeted stairways. Each pod contains a memory foam mattress, a personal TV, electrical outlets, adjustable nightlight, and a closet with a locker. The pods were built to face each other and each Podestrian can personalize their pod with their name. Guests are provided with a towel, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo and WiFi. They also have access to the community kitchen, bathroom, shower, and the computer station. The pods do not close up at night, but the top pods do have safety rails.
“We actually created more privacy than a traditional bunk bed, without closing the face like a Japanese capsule,” Elvina said.
“When I was laying out the floor plan for PodShare, I considered building the pods in a circle, so to not box people out, but then opted for rows like displays,” Elvina said. “This layout gives people an opportunity to horizontally work on their laptops, put their backs against the wall, hang their feet over the balcony to face the person across from them, or sit on the steps.”
Eight single pods are available for $50 a night and two queen size pods are available for $70 a night. Elvina said she will explore long-term housing in an additional location and will plan for more drawer space in the pods. Her goal is to build a network of PodShare locations across the country to offer membership-based housing. Guests would pay a monthly rental fee to travel to different pods.
House, bike and car sharing is now the norm and PodShare also promotes the sharing of common resources—with some personalization. Each Podestrian gets a lifetime pod number and a profile is opened for each guest.
“Since day one, we have created a profile for each guest—sharing a time capsule online helps us get to know the guest and helps the guest realize that they are more than a unique number,” Elvina added. “We believe in the sharing of space, stories, affordability… and curing the ever-growing world loneliness problem. I believe this type of minimalist social travel will inspire innovation and promote openness and discovery.”
Photos and video courtesy of PodShare
I heard about Jim and Shane while on a teardrop trailer gathering in northern California and just their simple Facebook name said it all: We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles. The bicycle tour is still going on, but once they hang up their helmets—the tiny house building will commence.
The two men from Northern California had both been raised in mountain communities and wanted to return to the land after working for several years. The idea of quitting their jobs and riding around the U.S. on their bicycles coincided with their love of the outdoors, gardening and working with their hands.
“We were growing tired of living in the mundane and felt the need for a dramatic change,” Jim and Shane said. “The idea of traveling by bicycle was appealing to both of us from the stand point of its simplicity, its affordability and the exposure to possibilities. With traveling by bicycle, you see and experience so much more in the slow pace of pedaling than you ever could in the enclosure of a speeding car. We also were interested in exploring the country in search for new ideas and a new place to live, one that would accommodate our dream of building tiny homes.”
Jim has an interest in small structures and Shane has a strong background in sustainable living. After stumbling across Lloyd Kahn’s book “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” in a small book store in San Francisco, they decided that they would build a tiny home for themselves after finishing their trip.
“Our experience with bicycle touring has solidified our interest in simple living and has taught us the virtues of getting by with just the basics,” they said. “We have a particular interest in the salvaged aspect of the Texas Tiny Homes and the ones that emphasize outdoor living and engagement with the surrounding environment.”
Their tiny house idea has expanded further to become a tiny house community. They want to create a bicycle centered communal living space that includes several tiny homes, a common meal and meeting space, large garden and greenhouse, gray water system, bicycle powered laundry machine, and photovoltaic and water heater panels. They also want to build with salvaged materials. The men recently spent a few weeks building a greenhouse with recycled materials for a host family in Pahrump, Nev. After their pedaling tour, they will be on the lookout for a town to host their tiny house community.
“Finding a town that is willing to work with us on our idea of tiny home community has proven to be a challenge,” Jim and Shane said. “We want to find a place that is in need of affordable living and be able to provide it in the form of tiny homes.”
Photos by Jim and Shane of We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles