I’ll get right to the point: our two years of living tiny in our 5th wheel camper are over.
All good things come to an end. At least, that’s what say (although I’m still not entirely clear who “they” are).
It was a hard decision made easier because of a number of factors. We tried hard to keep living tiny, but in the end, it was easier to just settle into a rental house. More on this in a moment.
First though, how did this all shake out?
In February of 2014, we signed a two year lease with a farmer friend. He wanted back up in case he ever got sick or just wanted to go on vacation. The lease was in writing, because “good fences make good neighbors.” We bought our 5th wheel camper, moved it to his land and connected ourselves to every modern convenience (sewer, water, internet, with solar back up already built into the camper). Yukon even ripped out the downstairs carpet and put in hardwood floors, which were super nice!
It was a really good two years!
And this past year, the feeling of “it’s time to move on” started creeping in. This fall, we talked to our farmer friend. He concurred that it was time for us to go because he’d hired a farm manager who’d be moving into the spot we were vacating. February 28, 2017, was our very final move-out date.
So we began our search for property with focus and intention. We searched and searched for property that was unrestricted so we could just move our tiny home somewhere new that would be “ours.” Did I mention we searched and searched? Sure, our parameters were specific and our budget small, but that’s because we were determined not to be house- or land-poor. One of our core values in life and marriage is to spend as much time traveling as possible, and it takes our discretionary money to do that.
After several months of looking, we came up empty handed. So we started looking at fixer-upper houses and posting on Facebook and Craigslist asking for a place to park our 5th wheel for a year or two.
Still, empty handed. Mid-November, I had a complete and total meltdown. “Why is this so hard?” I wailed. “How can it be this hard??”
We looked at each other, feeling completely defeated. “Let’s stop looking and talking about buying land or a house for now,” Yukon said.
As I looked around our tiny house, my eyes stopped on a map I’d printed out and taped above the stove.
It was a map highlighting a driving route around the country to visit all the National parks.
I looked at Yukon and pointed to the map. “That’s what I want to do,” I said, “but chucking it all and doing that scares the shit out of me.” I started crying even harder.
Right before Thanksgiving I looked at Yukon and said, “Maybe we should just see about renting a place?”
And this suddenly opened up a world of new ideas for us.
And it also forced some truths out of us…truths that we had stuffed down in order to live in our 5th wheel camper. Truths like:
- We were cold. Our 5th wheel is a three-season model. And in the winter, it doesn’t hold heat well. We weren’t suffering, but dang, we could be definitely be warmer. (Underpinning the thing would have helped, we know. We just never got around to it.) If we had stick-build tiny, this would not have been the case. But, alas, we had what had — and it was COLD.
- We missed having a bathtub, especially in the cold of winter.
- We missed having counter space – we both like cooking and had an entire 18″ x 18″ counter to cook on (that also doubled as the cat feeding station).
- I missed having an office. With my consulting, coaching, and writing work, I have stuff. With Yukon’s construction business, he has a LOT of stuff. We were cramped and frustrated sharing one single work table for eating and working.
- Living on someone else’s land added a layer of…something…that we couldn’t describe. It wasn’t our place, so we didn’t plant flowers or a garden for ourselves. We missed that.
- When you live tiny this way, there are NO secrets and there’s no way of getting away from each other (or our three pets). Every sound, smell, and movement is un-escape-able, especially in the winter with all the doors and windows closed.
With all that and more now brought to light, a week later I called a rental agent who’d helped us before. “Yup, I’ve got a two-bedroom with a huge shop at the end of a dirt road. Pets are okay.” Yukon and I went and looked at it and leased it that afternoon.
Now, we’re “resting in place” for at least the next six months.
AND – we’re making plans, which include selling the 5th wheel (wanna buy it?) and instead considering purchasing a smaller camper we can pull behind our Ram ProMaster van.
We’re keeping mum on the other future plans because we both still run businesses here. But, we’re spending our time serving our current customers and doing the work that will help on the next adventure we’re dreaming up. And Bean is in the very beginning stages of writing her 5th book.
While that’s all happening, I’m tickled pink to have an office and Yukon is using the heck out of the bathtub.
Life is very, very good.