Tiny living come in all forms, can be on land or on water, mobile or permanent. Tiny is making an impact. It’s a game changer. Tiny houses are now trendy in the US. So trendy that there is a program on the American Home&Garden cable channel.
On a boat the purpose of downsizing is to fit into a performance space. Everything needed for living like seating, beds, closets and a kitchen, is built into the dynamic, streamline form of our hull. Like tiny living pioneered by the Japanese born of the finite space of their islands, where beds are rolled up and are stored away during the day to double the function of one room. Even larger boats only compare to tiny apartments or tiny homes. On our boat is thirty-seven foot long (eleven meters) and ten feet wide (three meters) boat and with a length at the waterline little over twenty-six feet, we live in roughly two hundred sixty square feet or twenty four square meters below. That is also is about the size of the average RV.
Somebody said today, that we live in an RV on the water. I call them land cruisers. We have seen many campers, RVs, trucks with popup tents on the roof on the Baja. Many Americans retire in Mexico either in apartments or in homes on wheels. They migrate north in the summer and come back for winter. Communities form, people meet back in Mexico for the holidays.
A couple picked me up hitch hiking in Mulegé, who has been on the road the last four years. Tim’s ninety-year-old mother joined them. Assisted living on wheels, Norma joined them in her last year. Their commitment and stories on what happened are fascinating and naturally their Facebook page went viral (link here). It hit a nerve. Then Norma died. The pain still in their eyes, they told me about the whirlwind of fame and launch of their book that will come out in May 2017 and will be translated into nine languages, the responsibilities and financial freedom in the midst of loosing her. Everything had changed, it seemed they were jolted out of the life they loved, still startled what was happening. Somehow I wish they could just rent RVs in Europe for their book tour. Land cruising seemed to be their pace, their way to experience the world.
In Bahía Kino, we met a singles club of land cruisers, who meet every year in winter. They set up camp in an RV park at the beach, meet for sundowners, organize trips. They occasionally pair up, it seemed, but live separate. Those guys were a fun bunch! They adopted us couples for a couple days, driving us out to a Seri village nearby. They were spontaneous, up for anything. A harmoniously amorphous group, forming, splitting, meeting again, each one was totally free. Very inspiring bunch.
In their tiny house show, HGTV shows people searching for a tiny house. Some are first homebuyers, others downsize. Some want a mobile tiny home on a trailer to be able to move occasionally, others want it in a permanent location and have found ‘the perfect spot’. All want to pay cash and own without mortgage, and at budgets of twenty five thousand to one hundred thousand dollars, every one of them found their perfect home.
Their reasons were diverse, from ‘financial freedom to enjoy life’ to ‘It’s not the material and the money is in the family and the heart in the end’. ‘Being mortgage free to be able to travel’ and tiny utility bills made a single father with his teenaged daughter choose a tiny home. A family of four found an outfitted school bus to teach their kids ‘the value of experiences and not things’. A family of five downsized into a tiny home after a long vacation in an RV to continue to ‘pass on memories not stuff’ and to be close again. Returning to their five-bedroom home, every one went into their corners, so they decided on shorter distances between those corners.
Most, if not all, US communities require houses to be a minimum of five hundred square feet big (fifty square meters), to be hooked onto the power grid, even if the home produces all the energy it consumes, and to be attached to city canalization. Tiny houses can dodge these laws by being movable and classified as RVs or mobile homes. Or you can find a community, which allows tiny houses, as an article in the Huffington Post (link) on legislation loopholes suggests.
Some like the ‘reduced dependency on the grid’ use a composting toilet and like the ‘green living’ and ‘living light on the land’, with as little impact as possible. After learning how to move in a small space, purging container loads of stuff and buying European size tiny appliances, they have all they need and don’t miss anything they owned. Some still store some things in a corner in someone’s garage or a small storage, but all took the plunge and ‘traded things for freedom’.
Everyone seems to be inspired and spirited. The boaters, RVers, the campers, and the tiny-house-dwellers all seem to say ‘I am me now!’