Tiny House Movement

Joining the tiny house movement, kinda.

I’m pretty excited to see that there’s about to be a TV show starting called Tiny House Nation on FYI channel.

John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin of Tiny House Nation

I’m a huge fan of the Tiny House movement. I also love Earthships, Eco Domes and other forms of natural building. I love the idea of being off-grid, and leaving a smaller footprint. I’m not into stuff. I don’t collect designer handbags or watches. I don’t covet expensive things. I don’t need a mega mansion. I’d rather use my money to travel, or have experiences. I’d rather collect memories than stuff that will just sit on a shelf somewhere.

I first got interested in Earthships several years ago. I was wondering what we could build down at the ranch. It’s pretty remote, and I love the idea of being completely self sustained. If there ever is an actual Zombie Apocalypse, I want to be somewhere far away, and not be relying on anyone to save me. I’ve always said if there’s ever a major glitch in the system, while ATMs are down, and everyone is freaking out about no internet, or electricity, the Hamish will be fine. Well, until the guys with guns show up and take their stuff…


The Earthship is a pretty hefty investment, and one has to live in it full time for it to really work. So then I was looking at eco-domes. I thought about building one of those, until I started an earthbag kitchen at the ranch. It’s a LOT of hard, heavy work, and the summers here are just too hot for any kind of manual labour.


While I’ve been deployed, I have been living in a vintage Airstream. I loved her. She is old, and was pretty gross when I bought her. I’ve done lots of work on her, but she’s really small.

My 23' vintage 1972 Airstream Safari
My 23′ vintage 1972 Airstream Safari

I absolutely loved living in her. She was small and cozy, and had everything I needed. It’s perfect for the dog and I. However, when Matt would come visit, it wasn’t fun. It’s got twin beds, so not so romantic. It’s also very small, and Matt is claustrophobic. He would hit his head on the door every time he stepped inside, and he grew to hate it with a passion. I think it set back my quest to get Matt to join the tiny house movement.

One day though, Matt woke up, realized that since he works from home, and could work from anywhere, while I work in a city 2.5 hrs away, he decided he’d rather live small with me, than live in our 2400 sq ft house in San Antonio without me. We knew we couldn’t live in the Airsteam together, and so we started looking at more practical options.

5th wheel toy hauler

We didn’t build a tiny house. Matt is a Texan and I just don’t think I’ll ever get him in a true tiny house. We did however end up with a 5th wheel toy hauler. We wanted something to be mobile, because we still like the idea of traveling. When I’m tired of working here, we can pick the next place on the map, and just move our house there. We love the idea of moving to Florida, but not packing boxes and unpacking boxes. We ended up getting a toy hauler, because it has the garage in the back, which Matt uses as an office. After traveling in a Class C motorhome for a couple years, we understood it was important to have a separate room for him to work. Plus, when we do finally move, we can put all our outdoor stuff back there while we’re moving.


It’s not really all that tiny either. At 44′ it’s actually pretty damn big. Probably the biggest one in our RV park! But it’s certainly way smaller than our house. In fact, it’s probably smaller than our Master Bedroom at home. It’s got everything we need though, and find we are actually way happier in it than we are on the weekends we go home to our stick house. I’ve even got veggies growing in pots down here. We’re still on the grid, but figure we’ll get off grid eventually. Baby steps. At least it’s got a big generator in it for if the power goes out. It’s even got it’s own gas tank with pumps near the back.

Lots of room inside
Lots of room inside

So now we’ve got our house in San Antonio for sale, and we hope it sells quickly so we can just enjoy being full time RVers. We love living in the RV park. No, it’s not the same as a trailer park. There’s a trailer park up the street. They are “mobile homes” but there’s really nothing mobile about them. RV parks have a great mixture of people. Where we are, there’s full timers, who are mostly retired people, and there’s a bunch of oil field workers. Then in winter, we get all the snow birds, or “winter Texans”. There’s also regular travelers who pass through for a few days while exploring the nation. We don’t have to mow the lawn, or clean the pool. Everyone is social, and people get together for pot luck dinners, or a beer after work. We pay a monthly slip fee, but it includes everything except electricity. No more property taxes, water bill, cable TV bill or trash collection fee. Being fully self contained, we got a traditional mortgage, so it’s not even a huge monthly payment for the RV. This one is high end, but my airstream was under $7k, with repairs. It was cheaper to live in that than an apartment. (Yes, I’m very frugal)

We love the RV life so much, I’m actually thinking of buying an RV park if we ever do move to Florida. Even more than that, I’d like to start a tiny home community. I’d buy some land, or an existing RV or mobile home park that has lots of green space. Then set up a tiny home park, with communal vegetable gardens. – I must sound like such a hippy!

Anyone else dream of getting rid of their solid home, and living small? Or anyone already gone off grid? Do you love it, or hate it?

  • Johnno

    Speaking as a guy who has lived in a dozen different countries for work …. My original moves were monumental exercises, and always very stressful. I’ve learned to purge before a move and travel with baggage on the plane, and maybe one or two boxes Fedexed ahead. Living in furnished apartments provided by work helps. And so did the advent of the e-reader (bye heavy books!). But I love the idea of living in a tiny house once I’m finished! And I’d forgotten all about the joys of the caravan park …. When I was a kid, there was nothing better than a few weeks holiday in one, I might have to check them out again as an adult. A great read, thanks!