We developed a love for tiny house living long before we fully embraced the life. We were living a life too large; a life in a house far too big for two people, a life where the majority of our money and time went to commuting and working simply to sustain this life. After a 14month trip around the world, a trip lived out of a single backpack per person, we knew we wanted.. Less. Yes, this seems to go against everything society taught us. The American dream is all about the MORE. More money, more house, more stuff. And that life can be addicting. Even as we yearned for a smaller footprint, and simpler life, we found it so easy to be drawn into believing we needed more.
But the road was our goal, and the pull to simplify too much to resist for long. More specifically, the Pan American Highway to the tip of South America. Even as we prepared for such an epic road trip, we became consumed with the minimalistic lifestyle. We stopped purchasing anything not necessary for the trip. We became, somewhat warily, familiar with Craigslist; never loving the process, but relishing the reduced material possessions. We stopped the life of the consumer. This, inevitably, caused some tensions among those who didn’t understand our path. Even though we had previously sold a house and backpacked the world, this time was different. This time we were selling everything. Literally. House gone. Furnishings gone. STUFF gone. This time we were open about the fact that we wanted this new adventure to be our life, not simply our trip.
This time was hard. Our previous trip, several years before, had been seen as somewhat of a lark. This time we were older. This time we had no end date. This time we would be working towards a Location Independent lifestyle. This time it was all going, with no storage unit full of “stuff” to return to.
In spite of, or perhaps because, of the challenges, December 26, 2015 became our independence day.
We are now more than 10 months into life in our tiny house. And life is sweet.
Our tiny home, an Adventurer 80SK truck camper, at less than 60 square feet, really encompasses everything we need. A comfortable, queen size bed, a four cubic foot fridge with freezer, a two-burner stovetop. With a variety of fans and a heater, we are dry and comfy regardless of the weather outside. A cast iron Dutch oven and small, Weber BBQ, complete our kitchen, allowing us to continue our foodie passions. With awnings to protect us from sun and rain, and the power of a Toyota Tundra engine to lead us down the right path.
Since our Independence Day we have boon docked along the beaches of Baja, enjoyed café culture in Patzcuaro, climbed the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, and faced roadblocks in Oaxaca. We have spent the majority of our time outside, relishing the sun and sand and fresh air. We have gone from sea level to nearly 10,000 feet multiple times. We have crossed, and crisscrossed, the huge, and diverse, country that is Mexico. As I now type this, we are overlooking stunning Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
And through it all, we have worked. The life of a digital nomad means forever chasing the internet, and timing article due dates around our time spent off the grid and travel days.
Our life seems like paradise, to those who view it from afar on the pages of Facebook and Instagram and, while we don’t disagree, we have to regularly remind them that this paradise generally comes fully loaded with sunburns and scorpions and sand in the bed. Much of the week encompasses work days. Paradise is frustrating travel days, confusing border crossings, navigating in a foreign language, and giving up the bounty of choices life in Oregon provided. By choice, we have no bathroom on board to gain counter space, and chose to give away our cassette marine toilet in lieu of more space to store off-season apparel. So far, this has proved to be only mildly challenging. We jokingly admit that opinion may change at some point down the road.
We’ve sweated through 100degree nights with the fans on full force, endured week one of constant rain and wind, and experienced our first accident literally at the border in Tijuana. We have felt our hearts swell with the arrival of visitors in Puerto Vallarta and La Ventana, only to have them break again at their departure.
We have had the great privilege of sharing all of our time with each other, and our fur babies. And we have felt the intense pain at saying a final farewell to one of those family members in Baja. We have had to send prayers and love from afar as those closest to us have dealt with divorce and the death of family members. Life on the road is, after all, still life with all of the good and the bad.
Most importantly, we are reminded every single day, of what is REALLY important. We need so little to be truly happy. We think back on our 2000 square foot house, complete with four outbuildings and set on two acres. It was lovely and comfortable, but we felt disconnected, knowing we only needed a place to cook, a place to sit and relax, and a place to lay our heads at night. Having spent over 25 years traveling the world, often to third-world countries, we were fully aware that many of the happiest people we met were those who had the least.
We now view the world of huge houses, and huge mortgages, from a distance. We know we will not live in our truck camper forever, but we are confident we will never go back to a large residence. We eagerly watch Tiny House Hunters, and Tiny House Builders, jotting down notes for ourselves for some point down the road. While we didn’t actually play The Minimalists monthly game in its original form, in the end we did par our possessions down to what we truly need and use.
The ease of living in a tiny house on wheels supersedes any challenges. We no longer have rooms we never use that still need to be cleaned. We no longer spend money on things we don’t need, and when one item comes in, it means something else goes out to create space. The simple act of volunteering each week with the Guatemalan Housing Alliance and getting to know people from all backgrounds, races, and socio-economic levels has created a satisfaction unlike any we have ever gotten from things.
Living tiny, to us, equals freedom. In our case, very literal freedom on the back of our truck, but also financial freedom, and freedom from the feeling of being weighed down by our possessions. Ahhh, blessed freedom!
Follow the journery at our website The Next Big Adventure (http://thenextbigadventure.