Guest Post by Greg Fowkes
On Friday August 26, 2011 I drove my trusty Astro van a few hours west and up into the mountains to pick up and old camper I found on Craigslist for $200. It had major water damage which was perfect for me as I intended to tear her down to the trailer, saving a few parts along the way, and then build her up from scratch into a beautiful tiny house.
Now I’m just three weeks away from what I hoped would be a yearlong project. I suppose having a baby a few months ago would slow anyone down, and it should. Time spent with the family is what this tiny house is all about.
So, why a tiny house? Many people build a tiny house in hopes of a simpler life or to reduce their carbon footprint, or to redefine the American Dream. All honorable and noble reasons, and we’ll do our best along the way to be socially and environmentally aware, but lets be honest, my reasons are more self-serving…
For a long time I’ve dreamt of a small piece of land near the ocean. Possibly in the jungle. Maybe in a Latin country. I didn’t know how we would do it; I just knew that we would. Got to put it out there. Right?
While homes built near the ocean are mostly reserved for millionaires, we are not. I have the feeling that most people thought we were crazy. We would never pull it off, or maybe to them, it’s simply not worth the stress of trying.
Two years ago we drove an old motor home, affectionately known as “Punchita,” down the east coast of the Sea of Cortez, stopping at all the tiny coastal towns along the way. There were many towns we loved, but none that offered the variety and excitement as Sayulita. We settled on a quiet lot along a river, just outside of town and about a 15-minute walk to the ocean. Since then we had our fence and retaining wall built, and now we’re in the process of having an old fashioned well dug for water. We hope to be completely off the grid, which works out perfectly as there are no utilities to our lot.
With a trip planned for mid November, and a baby in tow, it’s more important now to finish the Tiny Casita. I have a line on insulation sheets which I hope to pickup today after work. I’ll also start on the cabinets and maybe some wiring this weekend. I foresee some late nights in my future…
So, what does this tiny house mean to me? At a time when my tiny family just got a little bigger, I feel secure knowing that, no matter what happens in the world, we’ll have a roof over our heads. I know now I can build a house, even if it’s tiny. It means that, even if times are tough, we’ll have a place to go and bond as a family, to create memories and recharge. Shouldn’t vacation time with your family be reason enough to build a tiny house?
When you think about getting back to basics, what could be more basic than family? Change starts at home. The circle grows wider. We’re happier. We enjoy our lives. The connection between each other grows stronger. The world is a better place, or at the very least, our “tiny” world is a better place. You can follow my progress at my blog http://tinycasita.blogspot.com/