What makes an individual choose to Live Tiny? I will explain how I have come to terms with simplifying my life. It comes down to lifestyle choices. It’s a personal choice with variable degrees of who I have become today. It’s a culmination of my career, single life, and past struggles. I will start with my main struggle of why I have become a minimalist. It’s a hard sentence for me to swallow and express: My father was a hoarder. I had no love or relationship with this role model I called a father. In that one statement I am honouring myself and the important life lessons this man has taught me. He filled his emotional voids with a compulsive behaviour of valuing possessions more than relationships. It’s been 10 years since he passed and my family is still selling and decluttering the accumulation of items he collected. Hence, I have learned that happiness is more than important possessions.
At age 35, I reset my life. I call it my mid thirties life crisis. I was working corporately as a Videographer; burnt out; single with many failed relationships, and I had moved 9 times in 12 years. I was moving from job to job and from apartment to apartment. I asked myself an epiphany question: “If I had died yesterday, would I be happy with where I was?” And my answer was NO. I definitely wanted to travel more. It was a friend of mine Wilma who became a source of inspiration for my next project. She had purchased a 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon Campervan and was travelling around in it. It was her VW connections and advice that empowered me with the confidence to purchase my own. The network of support from hippies who travelled in their Campervans all year long was inspiring. I figured if I could live out of my VW for a summer, I could understand the real challenges of living tiny and I could embrace anything that came my way. What I learned is important to the next step of decisions I have made.
Last fall, I manifested a Tiny House tour in Ontario. I had contacted three very different resources about their tiny house on wheel (THOW) builds. A single lady building her THOW in the Muskokas, a couple who had completed their THOW near Peterborough, and an Industrial Construction Company who builds THOWs. I knew I had to put myself in the THOW’s to visualize and feel if it was the right choice for me. I learned very important things about myself. I wanted my bedroom on a main floor. I didn’t want to hit my head on the shower head. I wanted a bathtub. I had romanticized the idea of a loft bedroom; but whenever I slept in my VW Camervan, I despised the idea of sleeping in the pop up top. I loved travelling and living in my Campervan for the SUMMER. However, when our winter in Ontario rolled around, I had to hunker down and resign myself to living back in a house. In my winter refuge, I created goals and made plans to consider learning a design program and then hire a builder for my THOW. It turned out that I needed an entire year of self discovery to just determine my needs and wants. I am the typical story of someone who wants a THOW but lacks the design knowledge and building skills. It’s easy to assume that anyone can do something when they put their mind to it, but I also have a good sense of realism. Construction is just not my thing. I found the lack of resourceful builders very frustrating in Canada. There were too many fly by nighters that have made me afraid to trust someone with such a large sum of money and also my dream home.
Since I had quit my corporate job and chose to live out of my Campervan during warmer months, I had also gone back to college to retrain in the Office Administration – Veterinary field. I started reviewing again what was important to me. Where was I going to be in ten years? Also, how was I going to integrate my new training into a business venture. I seriously reviewed what my daily routine and habits were in my downtime of winter weather. I was also visioning what I wanted to create for my future. I realized that I want a vegetable garden. I want to be able to foster animals. I want to have a sacred space for creating artistic projects. So, I have now shifted from wanting to design and hire a builder for a THOW to purchasing a tiny house on foundation (THOF). I have become exhausted with moving. The very idea of moving again is stressful enough. It’s a hard place to be when you love to travel, yet want a sacred space to just chill out and exist.
I wanted to share my path of self discovery from THOW to THOF so that I can help others in making the appropriate decisions for themselves. I think the most important thing is to go out and try it on for size. VISIT that Tiny House on Wheels and then you will know. I have also created a list of questions to ask yourself below.
- Do you move a lot?
- Do you enjoy experiences more than shopping?
- Are you a thrift store shopper?
- Is your job or business based on moving and flexibility?
- Do you want to live off grid or on grid?
- Are you single? Do you embrace that lifestyle?
- How do you function in a community?
- Were you raised in the city or country?
- Where do you WANT to live?
- What is your daily routine and habits?
- Do you like living alone?
- What are your comfort zones?
- Are you limited in mobility because of disabilities?
- Where will you be in ten years?
- What is realistic and logical but also contributes to your growth?
- What are the PROS and CONS of THOWs for you?
- What are your needs vs. your wants?
- What climate will your THOW be mostly residing in?
In my next submission I’ll let you know what my final decision was. I can’t wait to share more about my journey with you!
Submitted by: Virginia Bowman