Why I am building a tiny house

My journey into the tiny house world actually started over 10 years ago.  I was in my late 20’s and I was riddled with anxiety. So much anxiety I couldn’t eat without getting sick. What was wrong with me?  I followed the path.  I had a decent job, I was climbing the corporate ladder.  I had a husband and owned a house and a car.  Why wasn’t I happy?  Why was I unfulfilled?  That began a long path of undoing the social norm programming that consumed the default wiring in my brain.  Was this actually the life I wanted?  I put in a lot of extra hours for work.  I would come home and keep working because that would get me recognition of being a hard worker and somehow made me feel like I was keeping up with the task list.  But it really just got me a lot of unpaid hours of work and more of a workload.  It was destroying my relationships and it was burning me out.  But it was the way to success and success means money and money means no stress, right?  We were also living beyond our means at the time.  We had cars financed, the mortgage, credit card debt from buying stuff we really didn’t need.  Shortly after my anxiety began, my marriage ended. In hindsight, I can see that everything that was making me unhappy was because I had expectations.  Expectations of all the wonderful stuff that society and media had filled my mind with.  Such as how my husband was supposed to be, in our fairy tale love.  How I would skyrocket up the corporate ladder and be super successful before 30.  How my possessions would make me look as though I had it all.

Fast forward a couple of years after my divorce. I uprooted my life and moved across the country to continue to chase my career goals.  I still believed that my job title defined me as a person and my level of success.  I gave everything I had to the company for 15 years.  Only to end up fired because one of my employees made a safety mistake and it was company policy to fire the employee and manager too.  This event broke me.  I no longer had a purpose or an identity.  How could I commit this much of my life to a company only to mean nothing to them at the end of the day.  This though, this was the best thing that could ever happen to me!!!

I had been renting a house because I still owned my house in my hometown.  I quickly got rid of the rental and moved in with some friends.  When I moved in, I put most of my stuff into their garage for storage.  As we moved it all in, I stepped back and looked at the pile of stuff and realized I had debt and a lot of stuff that wasn’t actually needed but I didn’t have joy.  This began my journey into exploring alternative ways of living.

I have a philosophy in my life of questioning why I do EVERYTHING now.  Why do I think I need X amount of square footage?  Why do I need X, Y or Z items?  Why am I choosing certain relationships?  Are these my thoughts and desires or are they programmed in me?  Why does the model taught to me not working for me?  Was I doing something wrong?  No…I figured out that the model no longer works.

When I saw the first picture of a tiny house back in 2013, I was sold!  It seemed to solve all of the financial problems that I was facing.  As I dug in though I found out that it isn’t as easy as it looks.  The tiny houses that people were building in warmer climates for under $10,000 wouldn’t work in Canada.  That in fact it was way more expensive to build a tiny house here.  There are other considerations as well, such as where would I park it?  Tiny houses are not legal, year-round RV parks are extremely expensive here, buying land and getting utilities is expensive.  I was quickly thinking darn it, maybe I didn’t find the solution.  However, there was something that really kept me drawn to tiny houses.  So I, along with 2 others, started up a tiny house enthusiast group called YEG Tiny Homes.  For a couple of years we hosted meet-ups for others interested in tiny living.  We started as a few people meeting in coffee shops and quickly grew to requiring boardrooms to host upwards of 100 people.  Our group faded out for various reasons that I will get into in another post.  But my love for tiny houses continued.

I began looking at my life.  What do I want from my life?  What would leave me with no regrets on my deathbed?  I knew traveling and seeing beautiful places and meeting beautiful people was number 1.  I began a journey into deciding what would be my best option for the life I wanted.  I looked into van conversions, skoolies, motor homes, travel trailers, really any option I could think of.  But my heart and my brain always came back to my tiny house dream.

Over the past 6 years I have designed and redesigned many tiny house layouts. Although I am a business analyst, looking at numbers all day, I have a very creative side to me.  I wanted a space that I could completely design for myself that would allow me certain comforts and could be built with quality materials.

Here are my personal pro’s and con’s for each option.

**Keep in mind this is strictly my opinion, you’re more than welcome to have your personal opinions.

Van conversion

  • Pro – small and easy to travel with
  • Pro – customizable
  • Con – once parked for the night, no vehicle to run errands with
  • Con – tough to get a bathroom and shower designed into
  • Con – not great for colder temperatures
  • Con – if I went with an older van, I am not mechanically inclined.  New van conversions are insanely expensive.
  • Con – nowhere to stay if I needed to get the van fixed

Skoolie

  • Pro – inexpensive to buy an older bus
  • Pro – customizable
  • Con – once parked for the night, no vehicle to run errands with
  • Con – not great for colder temperatures
  • Con – the company I worked for for 15 years and was unceremoniously fired from was a school bus company (ego decision hahaha)
  • Con – not mechanically inclined
  • Con – nowhere to stay if I need to get the bus fixed

Motor homes

  • Pro – lots of options on the market
  • Pro – accepted at RV parks and campgrounds
  • Con – my budget didn’t allow for a newer one, found a lot of “fixer uppers”
  • Con – construction and materials were not the greatest
  • Con – nowhere to stay if I need to get the motor home fixed
  • Con – not built for colder weather
  • Con – once parked for the night, no vehicle to run errands with

Travel trailers

  • Pro – lots of options on the market
  • Pro – accepted at RV parks and campgrounds
  • Pro – can set up camp and still have a vehicle to drive
  • Con – my budget didn’t allow for a newer one, found a lot of “fixer uppers”
  • Con – construction and materials were not the greatest.  Touring new ones gave me a headache from the toxic chemicals used during the build
  • Con – not built for colder weather

Tiny house

  • Pro – customizable
  • Pro – quality building and quality materials
  • Pro – can set up camp and still have a vehicle to drive
  • Pro – can handle cold weather
  • Pro – can become my forever home when I am done traveling
  • Pro – can become an airbnb when I am not using it
  • Con – not legally recognized (there are options to have it certified as an RV or as a modular home, I’ll do another post on that)
  • Con – will be heavier to tow than a travel trailer and less aerodynamic
  • Con – may have unknown legal issues along the way
  • Pro – Pro – Pro – it is 100% my creation, my desires and my dream.

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