Comprehensive VanLife How To Guide

Jayme & John from Gnomad Home have put together a comprehensive VanLife How To Guide which you can find on their website.

In the guide they cover the benefits and challenges of living in a van full time, building out a van for living, where to park, bathrooms, showers, laundry, cost, earning money, getting mail, insurance, and they share helpful resources for living on the road. If that sounds like a good read, go see the VanLife How To Guide now.

They bought their van in August 2016 and converted it into an off-grid mobile dwelling. They’ve been on the road since April 2017 and in that time they’ve learned a lot about building vans and living in them – which they share in great detail on their website, Gnomad Home and in their new VanLife How To Guide.

Talking to Kids about Downsizing Can Be Challenging

In this episode of the Tiny House Podcast, Ethan Waldman speaks with Rebecca Flansburg and BA Norrgard about their new book, Sissy Goes Tiny.

It’s a children’s book, written to help kids learn about tiny house living from a kid’s perspective. Click here to listen to the podcast. Get a copy of Sissy Goes Tiny directly from the publisher.

Image via the Tiny House Podcast. Book cover credit to the authors and publisher, Audrey Press.

Interview with Zyl Vardos

Ethan Waldman recently interviewed Abel Zyl, the man who creates the unique handmade tiny homes from Zyl Vardos.

Abel Zyl handcrafts each fairytale-like whimsical tiny home. The quality of the woodwork in these homes is amazing and everything including the windows, doors, roof rafters are custom made.

Listen to this interview at TheTinyHouse.net. If you like podcasts list this be sure to Subscribe for Free to Ethan’s Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast. Image via TheTinyHouse.net.

Digital Nomad Trades San Francisco Condo for VanLife

Kirsten Dirksen visits Eric Kennedy, tours his off-grid Mercedes Sprinter Van, and learns how and why he chose VanLife over traditional housing.

For many, the lower living costs of living in a van are one of the major draws. I don’t think this was the case for Eric. For Eric freedom, quality of life, and a quiet place to work with lots of fresh air seem to be what drove him to VanLife.

It’s a good reminder that while this kind of extreme downsizing comes with many trade-offs, it also comes with many benefits that are not easily replaced by traditional dwellings or work spaces.

Eric moves with the seasons. In the summer you might find in the Pacific Northwest, in the winter, the Southwest. He always has an open-air workspace instead of a stuffy cubical. He chooses the view and he works and plays when he chooses.

His computer and internet connection keeps him connected to work and an income. His wheels take him anywhere he feels like going.

Image and video by Kirsten Dirksen. Be sure to follow her Faircompanies YouTube Channel, and you can find all her videos at Faircompanies.com. To learn more about Eric, visit EricKennedy.org.

Van vs Bus – Which is Better?

Jordan & Kaylee and Trent & Allie have been traveling together in Mexico and Belize for about two months now; and they’ve gotten to know each other’s vehicle well. Jordan & Kaylee live in a converted micro bus and Trent & Allie live in a Ram ProMaster van conversion. In this video they compare and contrast these two vehicles and explain the pros and cons. It’s a useful overview for those considering vanlife and buslife. Photo via Jordan & Kaylee; to learn more about them follow them on YouTube. Also be sure to check out Trent & Allie on YouTube.

Why Two Tiny Homes Are Better than One Big One

Why two tiny homes are better than one big one – my life in a van and on a boat

The following is a guest post from Kristin Hanes, a journalist and writer in the San Francisco Bay area. She writes about alternative living – campervans, RVs, sailboats and tiny homes – at The Wayward Home.

I became a minimalist by accident. At first, I didn’t have a grand scheme of living with less, ditching consumerism and going small. But I did have one major goal: pay off debt.

It was 2015, and I was paying a ridiculous amount of rent near San Francisco for a tiny studio cottage. Even though I made good money as a radio news reporter in the city, I was still in debt – loans with exorbitant interest rates. So, I took a huge leap of faith, determined to pay off debt once and for all and save an emergency fund. I was 35-years old with hardly any money to my name.

So, I gave 30-days notice on my cottage and my boyfriend Tom and I started living in his Toyota Prius. Talk about tiny living! For four months, we stealth camped near San Francisco, and sometimes set up a real tent among the trees in Marin County. I barely told anyone; we did this before “van life” became a trending hashtag. Sometimes, I battled with feeling low about living in a car. Friends offered their spare rooms with concern.

I emerged from the experience of living in the Toyota Prius as a changed person. No longer did I need stuff to feel happy. I wanted to be in nature, have freedom and adventure. And best of all, I learned Tom and I can successfully live in a very small space.

We paid off our debt, saved money, and he bought a 41-foot sailboat with cash.

Our journey into the sailboat life

At first, living on the beautiful 1972 CT-41 ketch felt like camping in a teak box. We had no working toilet, a hole where the stove goes, no hot water and no heating. But still, I felt happy. I’d cook using our JetBoil Flash backpacking stove in our tiny galley, the companionway wide open. The feeling of fresh air on my face while I fried up turkey burgers felt like a dream.

I felt close to nature, in tune with the wind and rain. Being in the boat during a rainstorm is still one of my favorite things in the world.

Sure, we also had our difficulties. We don’t have a “legal” liveaboard slip in our marina, so we spent a lot of time sneaking around. I would pet sit so we’d have somewhere else to stay, or we’d travel and go camping or backpacking. Sometimes, we’d go back and sleep in the Prius.

Cooking on a backpacking stove got old fast, so we upgraded to a hot plate. Finally, one year after living on the sailboat, Tom installed a stove. A few weeks ago, almost three years after moving aboard, we have a working refrigerator.

Living on the sailboat with hardly any amenities has taught me a deep sense of gratitude. Never before have I been so grateful and so amazed by a working refrigerator! I felt the same way about our toilet, our stove, and hot running water. I will never take those luxuries for granted again.

Over the course of three years, Tom has restored the boat almost to the point where it can take on oceans. Our dream is to sail the world.

Why we also have a Chevy Astro van

While I deeply love the marine landscape and can’t wait to go cruising, I am also a forest, mountain and desert girl. And for that type of exploration I would need a land yacht.

Enter my 1994 Chevy Astro van.

I found the van on Craigslist with only 57,000 miles, and knew it had to be mine. I picked it up in Sacramento and moved all my belongings aboard. The van felt huge compared to my small sedan! Now, the van is where I store all my clothes and shoes. It’s my living room and also my bedroom.

Sometimes we use the van to sleep in San Francisco, or we take it to hot springs or national parks. The van is small, but cozy, and has so much character, like wood paneling, a 90s-era television and a high-top fiberglass roof.

We love cuddling up in the van to watch a movie with the little windows open, letting fresh air wash over our faces. I’ve gotten addicted to this fresh air, so that now when I sleep in a house, I miss it dearly.

Why we love our two tiny homes

The other day, we were housesitting a mansion in San Francisco. I was cooking in a gigantic kitchen with a five burner stove, double ovens and huge center island.

So, what was the problem? I couldn’t see Tom.

“Where are you!” I wailed.

“Out here!” he called. He was sitting in a chair in the living room, reading. Just on the other side of a wall, but oh, so far.

“You need to be closer! I’m used to seeing you while I cook.”

So, he came into the kitchen and sat near me on a bar stool, and I felt so much better.

I’ve realized I don’t like big houses. So much wasted space. So much stuff. So much to clean. Now, I think about the nature ruined to build such a big house. It’s too bad our society has evolved to put more importance on big homes than trees, creeks, salmon, wildlife, flowers.

I’ll never, ever be able to live in a big house.

One thing I can see myself having one day is a tiny home in the woods. Then, we’d have three. A van, a sailboat, and a cabin.

I don’t know what in life could be better.

If only everyone could experience living tiny. The connection to nature, to each other, to simplicity. The world would be a better place.

BIO: Kristin Hanes is a journalist and writer in the San Francisco Bay area. She writes about alternative living – campervans, RVs, sailboats and tiny homes – at The Wayward Home.

Magenta Micro Tiny House – $2,500 in Materials

Pin-Up Houses has created a low cost mini tiny house. Their estimated cost to complete it with labor is $11,000, but materials cost only $2,500. It’s just 70 square feet but light weight and can be towed by many vehicles.  It’ has an insulated wooden structure. Inside the house features a sofa bed, stove, a spot for a chemical toilet, a small kitchenette, and storage space situated in clever built-in furniture. Oh and you can finish it in whatever color you like! Learn more about Magenta.

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Video and photo by Pin-Up Houses.

Greenhouse of the Future

The Greenhouse of the Future is an innovative and strategic design, built of recycled and natural materials. The technologies and concepts that have inspired the design of this greenhouse have been proven by over 40 years of research and development by Michael Reynolds’ Earthship homes as well as the many studies on passive solar greenhouses.

To learn more visit the Greenhouse of the Future.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvgCucsBke0[/embedyt]

Below is an excerpt from the how-to documentary.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=almIpNLN6Kg[/embedyt]

Videos and images by Greenhouse of the Future.