It's been yet another week since my last post, and a lot has happened. This post will be a fairly quick one that serves two purposes;
- To let you know that I am still alive
- To tell you about my stay in a Tiny House
As the first point has been addressed by the mere existence of these words, lets move on to the second.
Do you remember, right at the beginning of my travels, that before I flew out of the UK I spent a night in a very tiny room in Yotel!? And do you remember me writing the following sentence?
"I might even by the kind of person that could spend extended periods of time living in a space like this."
Well since then, I've done some research into what I've come to learn are called Tiny Houses, and it turns out they're quite a big thing. Big, in a popularity sense of course, there's a Wikipedia page about them and everything!
After spending my night at Yotel! I started pondering the idea of needs vs. wants when it comes to property. I had owned (40% of) a two bedroomed, terraced house, with a garden, and a garage, before selling it to fund my travels. But how much of it had I actually needed?
A while back I could have told you I needed all of it. I had a bedroom filled with bedroom stuff, an "office/studio" where my computer and photography gear lived, a front room with stuff for sitting comfortably and dining if needed, a nice sized kitchen and two bathrooms (one of which contained a bath).
During the preparations for my travels I sold a very large quantity of my belongings, threw stuff away, and generally cut everything down to what I needed, rather than all the stuff I had accumulated over time and had grown accustomed to.
After doing that, I could fit myself and my belongings comfortably in the corner of my front room. I still used the kitchen and one bathroom, but the things in those rooms that I needed would probably have fit in the front room too.
Upon reaching the conclusion that I probably didn't need a full sized house to live, and keep all my possessions in, it occurred to me that given the right circumstances, it'd be possible to create a well designed living area that maximises the use of space and employs nifty tricks to compact all the necessary requirements for living.
On top of that, if you were to design and build it yourself you could make sure it was well insulated, used solar power (and maybe wind power), maximised power efficiency, used rainwater, and other eco tricks to create a very environmentally friendly placed to live. Heck, if you had a decent plot of land to put it on you could grow veggies, and maybe even keep livestock. It'd be a self-sustaining wonderland!
It is at this point in time that I started conducting my research and rapidly discovered that people have already done this. It's a growing trend, mainly in the US currently, but also in Australia (handily enough). One company in America; Tumbleweed Tiny Houses is doing rather good business building property on trailers, complete with all the necessities for comfortable living.
So now I have the desire to live in a Tiny House. Preferably on a small plot of land that would afford me the option of growing/raising food. I'm probably a long way off, but I can always start by really thinking about future living spaces; a studio apartment is probably all I'd need, and it'd help me acclimatise to living more economically.
Anyway, over dinner one evening here in Adelaide, I was discussing my new found interest in Tiny Houses with my WWOOF host, who replied with a rather unexpected statement.
"Oh, I know some people who built a Tiny House at an eco-village near our other property. I can see if I can arrange for you to stay a night."
And so it came to be. After getting in touch with one of their friends, my WWOOF host confirmed that I would be able to spend a night at said Tiny House, and provided me with the phone number for one of the guys who had helped build it. All I had to do was call them to arrange some of the finer details, and that bit wasn't too difficult.
So in the afternoon of last Friday, I arrived at the Aldinga Arts Eco Village and made my way to a little plot of land that plays host to a rather cute little house, constructed by the community from recycled and sustainable materials.
This Tiny House has been built as part of the Happy, Simply lifestyle, made possible by a guy called d'Arcy Lunn. I could tell you all about it, but I'd worry that I'd get something wrong, it'd be better if you had a mosey over to d'Arcy's own blog to read all about this project in South Australia, and the one that preceded it, in New Zealand.
What I will tell you though, are my immediate impressions of my one night stay in a Tiny House.
Firstly, it's worth noting that this Tiny House isn't fully operational yet, there are still bits and pieces to finish off which add some interesting little quirks. The electrics weren't quite right, there wasn't any cooking equipment available at the time I stayed, and the toilet wasn't fully functional.
Even without those things however, the place was remarkably comfortable.
The house itself is built on a caravan trailer and has a 10 square metre floor plan. This, as you can probably imagine, isn't really very big. The place has been designed to really maximise the use of space though. The bed for instance, large enough to sleep two if required, is elevated above a small "office" space with simple storage for hanging clothes and keeping a few odds and ends.
The main portion of the Tiny House consists of a sofa along one wall which happens to fold out into a bed if you'd like it to. Next to the sofa is a small desk area with drawers for storage. Another small wooden desk folds up from the opposite wall, I found that it was just the right height to act as a standing desk so I got that new experience too whilst I was editing photos.
A picture is worth a thousand words though, so just for you, this is what the interior looks like.
Dinky isn't it?!
The experience of staying here for the night was a good one. I would have preferred to spend a bit longer there in order to get to grips with what's possible in a place of this size as I'm sure there are little niggles that I'd find, and most likely some interesting challenges to overcome.
With the lack of cooking equipment or a fully operational toilet and shower I feel that this property isn't particularly suited to extended living at the moment, but this could easily be managed with some work. Work that will undoubtedly be carried out in the future.
Personally, if I was to live in a Tiny House, I would like somewhere a bit larger than can more easily accommodate a designated kitchen, and allow a bit more space to move around. But as a concept, the idea of living in a tiny house is still one I would like to pursue in the future.
There seem to be so many benefits to living in a Tiny House, beyond being environmentally friendly. Living with such limited space forces consideration into the purchases of material possessions, changes ways of living to be more efficient/economical, and in a strange twist may increase the desires for people to get out of the house and be sociable, and experience the world around them.
I'll certainly be keeping my eyes on the Tiny House movement wherever in the world I end up, and will work towards compacting my own living style in the future. Maybe you will too...