Why I decided to build a Tiny Home
(The long version)
September 2015 my family went on our first, and only, overseas trip. We travelled around England for just over 3 weeks and ended with a couple of days in Paris. My whole life had been spent consuming English literature and media: Peter Rabbit, Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice, The Bill, Time Team, Doc Martin, so you can imagine I was in raptures about having the opportunity to see it first hand. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. But regrettably, or maybe thankfully, this is not a travel post. So I will fast forward through those magical three weeks to our last days in England. These were spent at a family friend’s home- a large plot of land in the country, as visually ‘English’ as you could get. Completely enchanting. They ran their home as self-sufficiently as they could and lived simply, working hard but taking the time to enjoy the everyday. Here was the place where the idea that I could strive towards such a lifestyle took seed. Indeed, it would take a while for me to truly embrace the idea, yet the fact that my favourite moment of the entire four weeks was harvesting dried coriander seeds, (a trip, which I might add, included a visit to Warner Bros Studios), was a reliable indicator that the fast-paced retail environment that I was to return, wasn’t the life for me.
After High School, I had studied Visual Merchandising at TAFE. It was a pretty unknown career path to me, but seeing as every man and his dog was studying Graphic Design, I thought I would try something a little less typical. Turns out every man and his dog was studying Graphic Design for a reason. Let’s just say that there isn’t a massive demand for Visual Merchandisers, and therefore a job as a fashion retail assistant was, at least at that point, as close as I could get. Over the twelves months, I was there, I could never get into the retail swing- as a girl who thrives on routine, I hated that we worked to a continually changing weekly roster. It also involved excessive car travel and encouraging big sales of poorly made product. Upon my return home, delighted by my newfound appreciation of ‘slow living’, and appalled by my role in promoting the consumption of fast fashion, I quit. As it would turn out, it is ill-advised to quit a job when you don’t have another one lined up. And so began a new chapter.
It took me FIVE months to find a new job. To be fair I gave myself December off because you know, Christmas(!), but then spent every other weekday applying for jobs- companies with at least some positive attribute, whether ethically or environmentally. First looking as a Visual Merchandiser, then as a retail assistant, then admin, then ANYTHING. It was an awful period. I could put together a good-looking resume, but I was young, shy and genuinely terrible at interviews. My esteem was crushed, and I was so disappointed that I had failed at my chosen ‘career.’ In the end, all I wanted was a full-time job so I would at least meet the expectations of society.
Eventually out of desperation my mum asked if they needed a hand at her workplace and, fate would have it, they needed some filing done, so offered me a four-week contract, Monday to Friday, 5 hours a day. Predictable and ordered. Needless to say, that was the best day of my life. There was no way I was letting them get rid of me, so I kept my head down and worked hard for the next four years. (Though be assured the role did evolve- I mean filing is grouse, but there is a limit.) That said, I had made a compromise in accepting this job- it wasn’t creative, and it certainly didn’t benefit the environment. It gave me satisfaction, but I didn’t want it to be my entire life.
Whilst I was unemployed, and during my part-time stint, I had filled my down time with new hobbies and interests: gardening, blogging, skateboarding, embroidery and researching zero waste solutions. All in all, exercising my creativity. It was during this period that I began toying with the idea of building a Tiny House on Wheels. I had seen them pop up a couple of times while I was researching sustainable living and it’s nest-like quality appealed to me immensely. It seemed a project that would encompass many of my interests. A worthy challenge that would exercise my mind and muscles, and all the while, providing me with a way of moving out of the family home. So began the biggest project I had ever undertaken.