You Are Not Your House

I woke up really early this morning, thinking about all the people who I met at the 2016 Tiny House Jamboree, and how we all have this thing in common with each other. Every one of us. We all like tiny houses, want tiny houses, are building tiny houses, live in tiny houses, or something something tiny houses…

I’ve known Macy Miller for some time now (almost two years already?), and finally got to meet her and her family recently for a dinner before going to the Jam, and last summer, I had met Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard of Tiny House Giant Journey, so already knew some faces in person before going to the Jam. But at the Jam, I met oh so many people who I knew from chatting with online, and who I had been looking forward to meeting for so long.
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There’s a fun little thing that happens though in the tiny house world. You get interested in tiny houses, in downsizing, in minimalism, in sustainability, in living authentically, or saving money, or whatever reason you choose to get interested in tiny houses for, but the fact remains that however many things you remove from your life in order to do so, all the stuff that won’t fit, the things you don’t use, don’t love, it’s still an actual thing that connects you to other tiny house fans. That thing may be super tiny and afford you to let go of all the other things you find you don’t need in your life, but it is still a thing, and a lot of us identify each other with it.

Macy and I only became friends because of a shared love for tiny houses. All my friends from the Tiny House People group only became friends of mine because of a shared love of tiny houses. I’m a huge fan, like you are, of the houses, and the houses are beautiful, and the people who own them have a bit of a celebrity status now because of their homes. Macy Miller? I introduced her to someone as the woman who owns the most famous tiny house. (I know she hates that) But it worked! I was right, the person knew immediately who she was, because of her house. Ariel McGlothlin from Fy Nyth (who I finally got to meet even though we’re both in the same state, it’s a BIG state!) did a nice write up of the people she met and commented “Why I can remember details about someone’s house plans and life goals and draw a complete blank on their name, I don’t know.” And it’s so true!
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Moose Henderson who I didn’t get to meet, is known for his tiny “Moosevilla.”  Sean David Burke is known as the guy building the shipping container home. Jewel Pearson is the black woman in the tiny house. (So much so that several black women there were mistaken for her!) Kim Kasl (who somehow I didn’t get to meet) is the woman with the family in the tiny house. Michelle Bredeson Boyle is the woman with the tiny house with licence plates in it. Ariel as mentioned is the Fy Nyth person, everyone is known by what house they have, or even by what role they play in the tiny house world. In this community, you identify the people with the house. I can tell you what various people are planning who haven’t even begun to build yet. I can tell you blog sites of people who are currently building, or who have finished building, and I only know of them because of their house. Look at the builders who don’t even have a tiny house of their own, yet their names are synonymous with tiny houses. Hell, the entire industry building panel at the Jam, I think only one person on it even lives in a tiny, yet they’re all advocating for tiny houses. Jay Shafer and Zack Giffen had celebrity status at the Jam, and simply because of tiny houses.

So the houses join us.

The houses bring us together.

But you are not your houses.

There’s a line in Chuck Palahniuk’s book Fight Club that really has always resonated with me. More so in Brad Pitt’s excellent rendition in the movie, (one case of the movie actually outdoing the book I believe) that has helped me onto my tiny house journey. “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis.”  I like to believe that we all undergo a similar transformation in our own journey to living tiny, in that we choose to put just living forward as the important part of our lives, and not our stuff. Not our houses. But being in the community makes it really hard to see beyond the homes, when the homes are what it’s all about.

So I want to tell you that you are not your stuff. You are not your tiny houses, and you are not your celebrity status. I didn’t go to the Jam to see the houses, I can see them far better on Deek’s youtube channel in his awesome videos than I can in person, cause in person, I had to stand in line and hustle through them. I didn’t go to watch the speakers, though I did see a few of them, and they were really great! I didn’t go for the workshops. None of that is what the Jam is about anyway, or what it’s meant to be about from talking to Darin Zaruba who is the Godfather of the whole thing. The Jam is a meetup, the Jam is a rally, the Jam is all about fun and camaraderie. The rest is just icing on the cake.

I came for the people. You are not your houses, not to me. I wrote in Jewel Pearson’s Turning Tiny book something that goes for all of you equally. “I love you as much as people love your house.” 
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So I’d like to say, that I’m honoured to have met those who I have met, and to know otherwise those who I have yet to meet. House or no house, you guys are amazing. House or no house, I’m glad I know you. House or no house, I’m really happy to have been able to meet who I did at the Jam.  In this post, are some of my fave pics of the people I met, wish I had more, don’t know how I missed some of you. (Jewel if you have a pic of us I’d love a copy!) The rest of you? Looking forward to the future, when I can say I’ve met you too. House or no house.

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The Problem with Peat

Peat Moss by Doug Becker CC BY-SA
Peat Moss by Doug Becker CC BY-SA

I’ve been vocal about wanting to choose as sustainably as I can for my tiny home, and part of that is that I plan to use a composting system for my toilet, rather than install a black water tank.  I’ve commented enough times about my preference for Coco Coir over Peat, that a friend who is writing about compost toilets, asked me to provide him with info on it to include in his blog post. (which I will link when it is written.)

In starting to write about peat to him, I quickly realised that it would be hidden in a private message, when it’s probably a good post for everyone interested to read, and knowing that he wasn’t going to simply copy and paste my words for everyone, I figured it would be better for me to put them here, and then he can access them for his blog, but anyone else interested would have access to them too.

So here’s the gist on peat:

Okay, there’s a few things about peat… I’m going to give you a technical page and you can read the info yourself. Even if there wasn’t a sustainability issue, the properties of the peat itself make it sometimes a poor medium. It’s a great cover material when it’s fresh, but you can’t really always know how long it’s been sitting, and once it dries out, it’s irreversible and useless even as a soil amendment. I believe that for this reason alone it’s a poor choice.
Peat when dry, is hydrophobic, and you cannot rewet it to the point of being absorptive again. When you get it, you’re asked to rewet it first, and then squeeze out all the water, right? That’s because it is very absorptive before this point, hydrophilic, then it dries and becomes hydrophobic, here’s a very technical page to demonstrate this.
 Second, peat grows incredibly slowly, and while there are now some harvesting (mining) facilities that try to harvest lightly, the fact remains that more peat is harvested every year than what is replenished naturally.

 

Tourbière/ Peat bog by peupleloup CC BY-SA
Tourbière/ Peat bog by peupleloup CC BY-SA
There’s contention here too though, as a lot of peat is harvested from wetland ecosystems, and the harvesters feel that they are acting as conservation stewards. This could be partially true in countries like Canada, but by supporting the demand for peat moss, which as I mentioned already isn’t necessarily the best medium unless you’re certain of the quality of what you’re purchasing, you’re also supporting the harvesting practices that are less sustainable.
Most of the peat bog wetlands in Europe have disappeared due to overharvesting, yet in Canada, they are very careful to harvest slowly, sad truth though is, that they harvest too slowly for the demand, and have higher overhead, environmental costs, labour costs etc, so a large amount of peat is harvested in other countries where such care and stewardship is not taken. Any argument that peat is a sustainable ecofriendly activity needs to be seen in context of where that could be true, and if it’s true enough in one area to supply all of the demand that’s fine, but the fact remains that unless they wish to overharvest, someone else will do it for them.
Canada is really very good at mining the peat moss slower than it replenishes. They use this fact as evidence that they are good stewards, and in fact, they provide 60% of the peat to the North American market, but, the other 40% is not so sustainable, and if you’re only using how fast the peat replenishes, as this article uses, then you’re only getting half the story, because the peat bog itself doesn’t quickly re-establish itself.

Why does that matter?  Like all precious wetlands, peat-bogs purify fresh air and provide habitat for many species of butterflies, dragonflies, birds, frogs, and highly specialised species of native plants which may be endangered, and only found in the peat bog. These bogs also sequester carbon, which is released into the atmosphere when it is mined. Peat bog harvesters suggest figures that a peat bog will fully replenish itself within 5 years of harvest, and within 25 years, 95% of the original fauna will return, but managed bogs lack the biodiversity of the original bog.  Here’s a great article which details how important and delicate our peat bogs are, and a direct download link to a pdf written by Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Urban Horticulturist and Associate Professor at Washington State University titled “The Myth of Permanent Peatlands” that details how the peat bogs never revert to their original state.  A quote from the article:

Peatlands degraded by mining activity do not revert to their former functionality; changes in hydrology and physical structure are hostile to Sphagnum re-establishment. Recently, degraded peatlands have been restored through the blockage of drainage ditches, seeding with Sphagnum, and application of a mulch layer to reduce water loss. When degraded peatlands are restored, the ability to hold water is improved but CO2 continues to be released by high levels of bacterial respiration, which represents the decomposition of mulch and other organic matter. It takes a number of years for the photosynthetic rate of new peatland plants to outpace the respiratory rate: until this happens, even restored peatlands represent a net loss of carbon to the atmosphere and thus contribute to greenhouse gas production.

So where peat gets really ugly, is in the areas where it isn’t mined in any way sustainably, and with no thought to the harm it does to the environment and endangered species it threatens. Peat isn’t only used for gardening and compost, in some areas of the world, it’s burned for fuel.  China’s peat industry supplies fuel for power plants, and mining the peat in peat swamps there has contributed to habitat loss for countless species, as well as degrading pastureland for their own animals. In Indonesia, peat rainforests occupy valuable land for plantation owners who wish to harvest palm oil.  The peat is drained, the forest is cut down and most often the peat is burned, making Indonesia the 3 largest producer of carbon emmissions in the world after China and the US. In areas where the peat is deep, it is mined and sold for profit.  This rainforest destruction, and the peat fires, is the number one threat to endangered species in the area, including orangutans. While peat harvesting is a very small part of the Palm Oil deforestation issue, ecosystems that contain peat remain very precious around the world.

Whooping Crane with transmitter by Don Faulkner CC BY-SA
Whooping Crane with transmitter by Don Faulkner CC BY-SA

The Whooping Crane nests in North American peat wetlands.  Siberian Cranes nest in West Siberian peatland. The Black Necked Crane is an icon of peat wetlands in China. There’s endangered fish (the Betta Persephone native to Malaysia and suffering due to peat swamp habitat destruction) native plants threatened, and serious damage done that isn’t reversible in practice, both to biodiversity and to the carbon in the atmosphere. All for an inferior quality product that sometimes is beyond use.

Sawdust toilet by Eli Duke CC BY-SA
Sawdust toilet by Eli Duke CC BY-SA

For a better alternative, you can use locally produced and milled sawdust as a byproduct of a wood milling or furniture building industry.  Choose a wood species that isn’t going to impede growth of plants once you compost it. Walnut contains a compound called juglone, (info here) that is a toxic poison to many other plants, especially tomatoes.  While you can compost the walnut to the point of destroying the compound, it’s best to test your compost by trying to plant tomato seedlings in it before you decide to put it in your garden. The longer you compost this cover material the better, lest you cause all your plants to wilt and die. Cedar is another wood that has toxicity issues with other plants, (info here )it contains phenolics which impedes growth of seedlings.  It makes an excellent mulch in areas where you wish to prevent weed growth, but because of its high Carbon to Nitrogen ratio, it is very slow to decompose. Be certain to add a lot of nitrogen to this compost pile, and even to the garden itself if you haven’t fully composted the wood shavings before use. (good thing our toilets will provide much of this)

20090728-145925 by StretchyBill CC BY-SA
20090728-145925 by StretchyBill CC BY-SA

Coconut Coir is very useful, if you don’t have a local source of wood sawdust. When coconuts are harvested, long fibers from the husk are removed and used in manufacture of things like rope, brushes, doormats, plant pots, even as upholstery stuffing.  What is left, is unusable small pieces of husk, which is taken and milled to a uniform consistency and used as a soil amendment in place of peat, but it also makes an excellent cover for a compost toilet. It’s a renewable product, as a byproduct of another industry, and using it solves a waste issue in the countries where it is produced. It absorbs moisture better than peat (which sometimes doesn’t at all, as noted in the first link above) and it withstands compacting better, you’ll find it is highly compressed when you purchase it. If you are composting with worms, coconut coir is the very good bedding for them, because it can retain moisture while allowing air to pass through, preventing the worm bin from becoming anaerobic. (plus the worms eat it for grit so you won’t need to add any) Coir pH runs 6-6.7 so it won’t alter the soil pH of a neutral garden, peat moss runs acidic, so ornamental plants may benefit from it, but coir is still a very good soil amendment.

There are ethical concerns surrounding the manufacture of the coir pith as well that you should be aware of. The production of the coir takes water, and in countries where water availability is limited, using water for industry can be seen as a negative. While a lot of places are now aware of this, and collecting and reusing the water, there is room for improvement.  There is also the question of poor labour practices, and while you can get fair trade and ethical coir, sometimes it’s difficult to determine as brands are not always clearly marked. Working conditions not only can be low wages, but there’s also a safety issue with regard to the small particles. Here’s a very in depth analysis of the sustainability and supply chain issues surrounding it, (direct download)

I still see the use of coir as the superior option due to the environmental issues surrounding the use of peat.  While one can work towards better industrial standards for water use and labour practices (Sri Lanka and India, two major manufacturers are deemed to have “adequate” labour practices, but there is always room for improvement) it’s difficult, and likely impossible to restore peat bogs to their natural state.

I can research the company I choose to purchase coir from, and find one that suits my ethics.  I cannot say the same for peat.  I also can choose to use a byproduct of a local industry via wood sawdust, likely for a very small cost (if any at all).  The cost to the environment by using peat, is far more than I’m willing to pay.

Thea

creative commons licence for the above photos

The Poop on Poop

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We all love a good poop post, especially in the Tiny House Community!  Whenever there’s any discussion about poop, there’s always a lot of people joining in.

Common questions are always about composting toilets, and if they’re gross, which is the best one, and how to make your own.  People offer reviews, advice, and a lot of them get horrified!  EWWWW POOP!!

This post is a little different. It’s about the poop part of it. What are you gonna do with all that poop?  How long is it going to last?  Is it harmful? Am I gonna die if I don’t put it in the sewer??

Okay, disclaimer, I’m one of those poop fanatics that read everything I can on compost toilets.  I join in all the discussions about poop, and my husband and I talk about various poop related things. I just bought a new poop scoop today to take hiking with me for crying out loud!

Okay, so there’s this overlap with backpacking and composting poop that I’m going to lay out right here, so that you’ll understand why poop matters to me so much.  When I hike, I poop. When other hikers hike, they poop too.  We realise that if we don’t take proper care of our poop, it is first, going to sit there and look gross, second, it can hurt the environment.  So, we follow some rules that help with both counts.

First, we poop 200 meters away from the trail, the campsites and any waterways.  The idea is first, to prevent too much poop from being where people might be, and second, to prevent any pathogens from getting into the water where other people might be wanting to get their drinking water from. Talk about gross! (Even if I filter it and treat it, I don’t want your poop anywhere near it!)  It’s also becoming more and more common to pack out our toilet paper because it just takes so darn long to decompose.

How is this relevant to compost toilets?  Let me tell you! First of all, we use toilet paper in a compost toilet too, and people are always asking what is the best kind, and how long do they take to compost.  What’s compost if not decomposition? Second, people with compost toilets are always asking if it’s safe to dispose of the compost or if the compost is dangerous.

416492772_c525c5d639_nFor the toilet paper, people often suggest using things like family cloth, and washing it yourself.  Sure, why not, right?  In a tiny house, with not a lot of space, you’ll have a bucket full of poop and beside it, what, another bucket full of poopy cloths?  If it’s your thing, that’s great, but I don’t see it being my thing. I’ve done my share of washing poopy diapers, but as soon as my kid could learn to use tp and wipe his own bum, you can bet I swapped out.  (the horrors, I know, I’m such a terrible person, feel free to judge me)  I do use a Diva Cup rather than pads and tampons, so I’m not feeling any guilt here over it.

I always hear people saying to use the RV toilet paper, because it’s designed to dissolve quickly in water.  That sounds great, it’s one of those things that because it’s the suggested choice in one area, it’s gotta be the best choice for all, right?  Well, at a steeper cost per sheet than regular toilet paper, and a penchant for being less than comfortable on your bottom, does it really decompose faster than regular toilet paper?

Well, no, no it doesn’t. It might be your best option in a black tank where you need it to dissolve into the water, but out where it’s not submerged in complete wet, it performs poorly against regular 1 ply toilet paper. At around 80cents a roll for RV paper (scott brand at Walmart) compared to 60cents a roll for 1ply (scott brand at Walmart) and more weight per sheet for the regular 1ply, if your bottom doesn’t thank me, your wallet will.  How bad is 2ply though?

You can see this performance on this backyard science page which shows regular 2ply will decompose rapidly, this direct download to a pdf from Biodegrade Facts says 2-5 months, and has other nifty figures for the curious. You can see reading these documents how 1ply degrades so much faster, especially when in contact with soil like material, like it would be in your compost!   Even still, is 2ply totally a no go? 2-5 months later, I’m still composting the poop, so I don’t know about you, but I’m going to just keep my butt happy, and keep using whichever roll I like.

2546718654_64c3c7c231_mOkay, but what about that poop then, isn’t it going to kill us if we put it in our backyards?  I mean 200m from anything is a long way away, that’s a half lap on a full track! Is the poop that dangerous?  Turns out not really, that’s just erring on the safe side. There’s a study (another direct download pdf) that shows that 1m away is about how far away from poop anything could be detected as coming from it.  What’s more, it shows that not burying the poop makes it decompose faster. While that’s not going to change any behaviour of backpackers (we really don’t want people pooping everywhere without hiding it) it is good news for people composting, where the compost is often laid above ground, and sometimes the poop isn’t really mixed under the compost medium.

I won’t bore you with recapping the Humanure Handbook (read free on their site with a direct download) but I will say that if you’re composting the way they suggest, pouring your pile of poop and compost medium on a regular compost pile, and following their directions so that it gets hot, then first, the heat from the pile is going to kill off any pathogens in the pile, and second, things aren’t going to migrate very far FROM the pile either. I highly recommend the book. It has lots of really cool tables showing how long it takes to kill everything that could be dangerous in your poop, if it were in your poop in the first place! Really engrossing reading! (pun intended)

2305808096_b87c5550a2_mIf you’re super concerned about it, then take my suggestion and WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS BEFORE YOU EAT!  Oh, you do that already? Then why are people so damned concerned about composting poop then?

Good points of composting the Humanure way:  For one, it’s compost, you can grow things with it. You can safely use it on any kind of plant including vegetables. You’ll use less water if you’re not flushing, and you won’t need to have a septic system or a sewer line. You don’t have to worry about the toilet backing up, unless you get one of those crazy assed contraption compost toilets full of parts that are really expensive and it breaks on you!

Bad points? The ick factor. That I can’t help you with. You’ll have to get over it yourself. One I can help with? What to do with all that poop if you don’t have a compost pile.

So what can you do?  Well, you can dispose of the compost in someone else’s compost pile for one. (just ask first)  You can put the compost into a vault toilet, which you can find at a lot of campgrounds. (you can also empty portable chemical toilets into these, gross!) You can store the compost in a lidded bin for a year or two and let it compost that way. (there’s no way to know if some parasite eggs might still be viable in here, so if you have parasites please don’t use this on your garden vegetables, you could reinfect yourself.  Oh, what? you don’t have parasites now? then your compost is probably fine, but the ick factor and the not knowing, might still make you want to put it on ornamental only plants) You can bag the compost up and throw it in a landfill.  Not ideal yes, but given the alternative, it’s still less of a problem than using a sewer.

So there you have some talk about poop that maybe you haven’t seen on other posts.  There’s a ton of great ones out there, here’s some link love to my faves:

All the Reasons Flush Toilets are Gross and Why I Love My Compost Toilet

Composting Toilet FAQ and Debunking Myths be sure to read the other articles on this site regarding compost toilets.

And a review of my favourite toilet: Composting Toilet Options

Budget

Right now, my budget is more budget than actual… but it’s a great starting place for what I’m going to need, and how much it’s going to cost. I spent the better part of today working on it, and while it’s still not complete, and likely will change as I find better options, and learn more, I’m happy with it.

At this point, I’m liking the idea of going with a twin temp jr water heater/hydronic heater. It’s probably one of the most expensive things on the budget, but it hit a lot of buttons for me, in that I don’t have to put a hole in the side of the Airstream, and have a potential spot for water to come in, and it takes up less space than a separate furnace and water heater would. This will give me some much needed pantry space, where the existing heater is, and should give a much better quality heat to the entire trailer, rather than just one area.

I haven’t yet filled in the electrical, because I haven’t dug too much into what I’m going to need, and I think I’ll need a full day to complete just that part. That, and Amazon deleted my saved list… where all the solar that I liked were saved, as well as particular part numbers. So I’ll redo that research and update when I feel like I know a bit more about it. These are loose numbers at the moment, because I haven’t done a lot of shopping around either. I know Vintage Trailer Supply is the go to for everything, so I’ve just been trusting that, but, you know I’ll look for deals when it’s time to purchase. That, and they may be out of what I want when I want it (look at the nuvite now, I’d actually have to pay more than I budgeted if I needed it immediately, because I’d have to buy half gallons for more money, due to them being out of stock!)

I did drop my original budget for the trailer. I really thought I’d probably pay up to 12k for one, in decent condition.  And that might have meant it was polished before, but I would probably still need to polish it again anyway, so I’d save some time and effort, and maybe 100 bucks in polish, plus the compounding tool… but not 5000$ difference. Maybe you got a better deal on your Airstream, or think I paid too much, but I’ve been watching sale prices on them for a while now, and I’m happy with what I paid… and what I’m going to put into it!  The difference between this and a tiny house, is at least half what I would have spent, plus, I don’t need a really heavy duty truck to pull it around either!

So, even with some pretty big ticket items on it, I’m happy. There’s tweaks to make (I haven’t budgeted the vintage fabric yet, and I KNOW that’s going to be expensive) but I have a start.

You can view my budget here:

Flying Cloud Restoration Budget

Pictures!

A lot of people are asking for pics of our new acquisition, so here they are!

 

and some interior shots

 

Some details

 

and a cool video of how the bathroom sink works:

 

So This Happened…

 

The plan originally was to try to live in a tiny house on wheels, but in the hours and hours of research, we found that it wasn’t truly compatible with the lifestyle we wanted to lead. We were attracted to them first, because of the idea that we could travel in them and live wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted, pretty much treating them all like RVs.

I found that they aren’t truly as mobile as originally hoped, unless we wanted to pay for a monster sized truck to pull it. Even still, they still seemed like a solution for living, that fit in perfectly with our version of “living lightly.” A smaller home, a smaller footprint, we could move it with us, just not travel, it seemed almost perfect. We looked at a lot of plans, even figured out a budget and a timeline, but as we got deeper and deeper into looking at it, it became clear, that at least in our area, it would be a lot more expensive than originally hoped for. More even than living in a tiny house we owned on land.

So we started researching different builds of tiny houses on foundations, and what it would cost us to buy land, and build.  We looked at moving in a log cabin onto a pier foundation, and were even offered one at the low cost of 5000$, we’d only need the land to put it on, and the permits. We looked at building our own timber framed structure. We looked at yurts. We dug deep into the building costs including adding electric, septic, building permits.  It was totally doable, if still more than what we originally expected, or wanted with a tiny house.

Thing is, we live in an area where there’s already lots of smaller homes, in the 700-900 square foot range. The idea of building for more than it would cost to redo something existing, wasn’t as appealing, when we could instead be reusing something instead of building new. This appeals to me on such a deep level, that I know I would have felt guilty building a new tiny house with all new construction, over living in something that is already built, and the cost of the existing home being less just made it that much more appealing.

So we had our plans on hold, until later this summer, when we would have a downpayment for a home, and could start looking for one.  In the meantime, the love of wanderlust has never left me, or my husband. We had discussed living in the home until retirement at which point, we’d decide if we wanted to purchase something like an Airstream and travel around in it, or just travel and stay in hotels.

But I’m working part time now, and really was just putting my money into savings, and thought that rather than buy a new Airstream in ten years, I could buy a vintage one now, which I love much more than the new ones, and renovate it to be livable once we retire, then sell our house and off we go. (This fits in perfectly with not creating something new, so the environmentalist in me really likes this route.) It even looked to be less expensive than buying one already done up or new, and it could be made exactly to our specifications.

So I’ve been saving for this. I have 2000$ saved up, and estimated that even with buying a house this summer, my savings would allow us to also get an Airstream this fall, and if we didn’t find one we loved till next spring, that would be fine because of how cold it gets here.

It gets pretty cold here. There’s no way that you could live in an Airstream in the winter time in this climate. It would likely ruin your Airstream and your belongings because of the condensation being so bad that everything would be constantly wet and moldy. That and the risk of bursting pipes, meant that once we jumped onto this track, we’d be definitely saying that we’re moving in ten years.

That would mean that whatever home we would buy, would need to be sellable quickly at retirement, and predicting the real estate market in ten years really isn’t possible. So we were talking about just staying in the apartment, and making the best of it. We’d even do some work to it to try to make it more livable, and yes, probably finally buy furniture. (We really really don’t have much, it’s very minimalist here)

So that’s what we were looking at. Until yesterday, when this happened:
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A woman named Tiffany, in Colorado not far from here, posted about living full time in her home.

In Colorado. In the winter. In a climate much like my own, and look, it just went through a massive storm where it maybe dumped 15 inches of snow!

My mind was doing somersaults. I immediately totally jumped on this complete stranger and spent the next few hours asking her how she does it, because “you can’t live in an Airstream here in the winter!!!”

Well, it turns out you can, and there’s more than just her doing it. There’s even someone up in Cody doing it, and that’s a little colder than here. The condensation? Not much of a worry, they never get any because the climate is so dry. Pipes? Oh they take care of it with an insulated box and heat wrapping the intake, and keeping the tank open. Nothing has frozen.  Staying warm? Well, they run a couple space heaters, and one looks just like a little fireplace.

So yeah… everything yesterday turned on its head for us.

Where originally we looked at living in a tiny house, but it was cost prohibitive because of finding a place to park it.. an Airstream is something that we can always find a place for, and even free parking if we boondock it. It’s also going to be a lot lighter than a tiny house, so we save the cost of the giant truck, and that makes it a lot less expensive too. So instead of waiting ten years to live in our future Airstream full time, we’ll be renovating one this summer, and moving into it as soon as my son is old enough to move out. That’s probably 3 years at the most.  We’re back on our original timeline, but it’s so much better because it fits the dream we originally had.

Yes, that dream of having a home we love, and I do mean love, that we can just drive around with when we want a change of scenery. The freedom to travel with it during retirement, but the ability to use it as a home in the meantime. There is no better choice for us than an Airstream for this.

You can bet that Tiffany is one of my favourite people right now. She’s just made my dream happen a full 7 years earlier, and we get to start looking immediately, instead of in a few months.

So I better get on this thing, we still need to decide what size we want!