Initial Frustrations of My Tiny Home Project

So, about a month ago, I got this “Tiny Home” Project kicked off by posting that I wanted to be “Homeless” in 2014. About 12 hours after that post, I thought about it a little more deeply, and it already began evolving. About two days after that, I made my formal declaration page: Tiny Home Project. First, a quick recap of everything that has gone on since posting a month ago.

Starting Point and Default

I’m going to assume most of you didn’t click the link for the initial “Homeless” post so here’s the recap:

I will be traveling a lot for work in 2014 (and beyond) for about 4 weeks at a time. Don’t want to pay rent when I’m not here. Will just bounce around from room-to-room via Craigslist when I am here. Live out of my car if I can’t find a room before I return from travel.

No matter how much any of this other stuff falls through, I know that I can always come back to this plan. It’s my default, but I prefer to not use it. I’d like something a little more awesomer.

Idea 1: Living out of a T@B Trailer

T@B trailer/camperThis is the idea that came to me in the 12 hours after the initial post. I won’t detail everything a T@B has to offer, but it’s 90% of what I’d need. The biggest drawbacks of the one I went to look at, is readily available to purchase, and within my price range is that it’s not self-contained. Meaning, it needs a water supply as there is no holding tank for fresh water, it needs a place dump “grey water” as there is no holding tank, and there’s no toilet (just a port-a-potty).

There are ways around each of those things, but the lack of toilet and lack of grey water tank are the big ones. I don’t plan to be in my camper very often, but I would cook at least one meal there everyday (dish water and cleaning up). I would try my hardest to avoid the port-a-potty, but at some point, it’ll be inevtiable. Without knowing where I can park this thing, and what “amenities” are available, I’m hesitant to pull the trigger. I’ll circle back on this in a bit.

Idea 2: Living out of a “traditional” camper (but still super small)

Pursuing the T@B idea and scouring the internets took about a week. Towards the end of that week, I stumbled upon Fun Finder campers. They also make a 16′ camper, and it is self-contained! Woot!! I called an RV dealer that had one on their lot. Delt with him for a couple of days. Didn’t work out. It was too heavy for me to pull with my Outback. Then I found a smaller version yet on Craigslist. It was still self-contained and even lighter. But still, too heavy. Ugh. Back to the T@B and on to the next thought process.

Idea 3: Build or Buy a real Tiny Home on wheels

Keep in mind, all of these things are are being considered simultaneously and also interdependent. If I could find a place for a camper, maybe I could just find a place to put a real Tiny Home. With this idea, I kind of had to assume I’d find someone with land that would let me park there because there’s no way I’d be pulling this with my Subaru. I spent several days looking at plans, kits, “used” Tiny Homes for sale, etc. etc. I put out my first Craigslist ad seeking a place to park, house or camper. I’ve gotten three call-backs, but only one of them might work, maybe.

Idea 4: Buy or lease land myself

Off-Grid Cabin in the MountainsAs I was looking for land, I happened across an AMAAAAAAAAZING Tiny Home, off the grid, in the mountains, only 35 min. away from Boulder. It was cheap enough that I could have bought it as a weekend retreat and still afford rent in town, or live there temporarily between traveling when I didn’t need to come into the office. I was obsessed with this idea for 2 weeks straight. I contacted the seller; I looked for other opportunities exactly the same; I put out my own Craigslist ad asking for land to buy or lease; I contacted the seller again; I drove out there and tried to find the property based on the description; I refreshed Craigslist, Zillow, and Realtor every 5 min.

In the end, everything has gone unanswered thus far. Which brings me to today’s frustration…

Two likely scenarios:

1) Default to Idea #1

2) I’m still hoping and praying someone will answer my ad that has land for me to lease or a spot for me to park. I’ve started emailing people with house shares listed, wondering if they’d let me park. And, the “possibly, maybe” place from Idea #3 may still “possibly, maybe” come through. And then I could buy the T@B trailer I mention in #2. As for Idea #3 and #4….I’m slowly letting go. And that’s painful. Mostly for how obsessed I was for 2.5 weeks straight. (That’s how my personality works.)

Why having a place to park full-time matters

Unlike the traditional nomad dirtbags, I am still going to have to work full-time. I need to look professional; I need to drive to work; I want to have a normal life (other than sleeping in a camper). I keep telling myself that if it’s possible to live entirely out of my car, that it should be entirely possible to live out of a camper that has even more amenities than that. I could sleep at any of the numerous large pull-out areas on the canyon roads. I could sleep in parking lots. But I still need to commute to work. I don’t feel like toting a trailer everywhere I go, and I’d be leary of leaving it anywhere for multiple days at a time. I tried finding an RV Campground, but those don’t exist within an hour of Boulder.

Running out of time

By now, one thing you may be thinking is, “Dave, you’ve got 4 more months to figure this out. Why the hurry and frustration?”

For one: I always “need” to have a plan and “know” what I’m getting into so that I can mentally prepare for it. Yes, even 4 months into the future. There’s also logistical preparations such as storage units and modifying/prepping a camper or my car before the snow flies.

For two: there’s a very very good chance that I will be traveling for work for two of those months and possibly an additional several weeks of vacation in November and December for holidays and visiting family. So, I really don’t have that much time. Sure, some of this can be done remotely, and I can keep scouring the internet and talking to people, but when it comes to deciding on a parking spot or buying land or leasing land or buying a camper, those are things that need to be done in-person. Whether it’s real or perceived, I am definitely feeling the pressures of time.

Halp!

I feel a little better getting all of this down and letting all five of you read this, but I could still use some help to squash my fears and possibly point me in a specific direction. For those of you wandering types, please chime in!

How could again around parking? How can I find a permanent place to park? How do I get around the water and toilet situation? What else am I overlooking? What am I putting too much emphasis on? Should I buy the T@B? Should I just forget ALL of this and default to Idea #1? Should I just put my stuff in storage and sign a normal lease on a super cheap room-share? *sssiiiiiiiggggghhhhhh* This is hard.