It was some time in my late 20s that I started to daydream about buying a little boat and living in the country, creating my own little gypsy-artist fantasy life. It was the freedom of time that really appealed to me.
I soon discovered though that there are lots of barriers (legal, financial) to living on a boat. Such a pity. I wish we had a community of gypsy boat-people playing Django Reinhardt. Sigh.
But the idea of creating a simpler, low-cost lifestyle really got under my skin. Ideally, I want to create a life where I am free to be creative, work for myself and explore different opportunities. And I know that I would struggle to do that with the financial constraints of renting or buying in Melbourne.
With these ideas in the back of my mind, I was lucky enough to stumble across the tiny house movement. It was so nice to see other people who not only had the same idea, but were making it work! And they were happy. And enthusiastic. And it all made so much sense.
Reading Tammy Strobel‘s book ‘You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap)’ locked everything into place – I needed to make some changes in my life for the simpler. And blogs like Derek Diedricksen’s relaxshacks.com and Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith’s Tiny – the movie just added to my excitement (Deek is a pretty exciting guy).
Anyway, somewhere between the books and the blogs and the daydreaming, I made up my mind to find some land near my family where I could plant some fruit trees, grow veggies and spend the days in a little home drawing and making. I like the idea of being away from it all, but at the same time being near my family. And tiny little border towns are one of the few places left that I can afford to purchase a property.
I kept my ear to the ground (and the real estate websites) and eventually up popped a small piece of land right behind my Dad’s house. Convenient! It is on the edge of town, right near the creek and the National Park. And in November 2012 it became mine.
The land had been used as a holiday shack by the previous owner and had an old 70s caravan (trailer) set up, with a carport over the top. It also has a fully plumbed toilet and shower ‘shack’ next door. Plus an extra van.
The plan became to spend my holidays and weekends renovating the old van (it is structurally ok and quite large, but the interior was a bit grim) to get it ready as a holiday place until I can transition to being there more of the time. It is not your traditional ‘tiny house’, but it is a good start. And so far, I have only paid for the land – the house is a bonus!
It surprised me, but there really is a lot of comfort in knowing that I am doing something about creating a lifestyle that is within my means. I am excited to do the things that make me happy – making things, growing food, being closer to nature and being part of a community.