We don’t have an exact completion date for our tiny house on wheels yet, but our builder says that construction will start around the end of March. Since our house is partially built, the work shouldn’t take too long — about a month.
We continue to move forward, inch by inch.
So far, this process has been very stop-and-go, and I’ve felt mentally stalled at times. There’s been a lot of planning, not-doing, and living in my head since we embarked on this adventure a year ago, when we signed up for a tiny house workshop last January.
I’ve felt much better since October, when Nick and I discussed what we could realistically handle — which unfortunately wasn’t much — and decided to hire a professional to finish the house. Our builder towed our house to their site in Santa Cruz in December, just before the holidays. Now, after settling back into my routine post-vacation, I’ve slipped into limbo again, waiting for the next phase.
I’ve been humming along as usual, busy with work and things — and trying to stay sane living at my parents’ home — just knowing that at some point, everything will begin. Working with our builder to finalize materials, appliances, and finishings. Purging our existing belongings (again), as I still think we have too much stuff. Securing what we need for our new house. (I just ordered the Wonderwash, which we’re planning to use for small laundry loads.) Then, packing and moving.
And moving to where, exactly? We don’t know.
One key component of this plan — where we’ll park and live in this tiny thing — is unresolved. We have a “Where to Park?” page with a contact form for potential leads, while I’ve searched for listings on Craigslist and other sites. There are slim pickings, and with the exception of two legit potential hosts who have contacted us, most of the messages we receive are from people, like us, who are building a house on wheels and looking for a place to park it.
Have you found something yet?
We’re looking, too — can you help us?
Want to purchase land together and start a community?
From our talks, we’d like to move further out of the San Francisco Bay Area. I won’t speak for Nick, but I personally want — and need — a big change. San Francisco itself no longer speaks to me; it’s not the city I fell for when I was younger, and both the city and the surrounding area really rub me the wrong way. It’s a bit sad to feel displaced in the area in which I grew up — which is, by default, home for me — where all of my family and a few of my oldest friends live. But after traveling so much over the past few decades, I feel there’s so much more out there. San Francisco feels so empty right now: it’s still beautiful, but soulless. These thoughts are for another time, really. Just know that I long for something different right now.
* * *
As we’ve schemed this tiny house plan, I’ve generally had several regions within California in mind as “starter locations.”
We’re open to moving the house out of state in the future (Oregon? The Southwest? Across the country?) but first, the idea is to feel things out. To jump into this new life and routine but physically place ourselves in a somewhat-familiar setting. I think it’s important to start slow, as the location is just one change among many.
We have a few location leads, nothing of which we can talk about right now, for fear of jinxing. But I’ll say for the past few months, I’ve had several scenarios swirling in my head…
Parking the house on the property of a waterfront home, along a river. I imagine hopping in my kayak soon after I wake up, paddling first thing in the morning. Returning to find Nick on the porch, sipping his Chinese tea and reading on his phone. I think about friends visiting over a hot weekend, meeting them at the beach or the brewery upstream.
Parking the house on a sunny ranch or farm. I envision sitting at our breakfast table, sipping coffee and looking out the window, staring at rolling hills and acres of vineyards. Writing early in the morning, then heading into town to work for the day in a cafe whilst doing our laundry. Meeting my family on a Sunday afternoon, wine tasting and picnicking at a winery down the road.
Parking the house in the woods, up a mountain road. I think about working until lunchtime, as the fog burns off. Going on a midday hike in the forest, on a lush trail leading to a waterfall. Returning to work more and later spend time with Nick, playing cards or lounging and reading — silently yet together. On Saturday, we head to the coast to paddle and play, or go roadtripping along the sea.
For someone who has always loved to travel and try locations on for size, window-shopping for places to live, this tiny-house-on-wheels project is incredibly exciting. As I get older, I’ll admit I’ve become a walking cliché, wanting a mix of both worlds: of roots, of wanderlust. I’d like to keep exploring in the physical, geographic sense: to figure out what home means to me, to travel freely, to visit family abroad — while also being able to own a home outright and shape it as we go.
Our 131-square-foot tiny house on wheels is an experimental playground for all of this, giving my husband and me the ability to try and learn new things, and to — ironically — give ourselves the space to personally grow.
We need to be flexible and open to all opportunities that come our way as we look for a location to park our house. Early on, I had actual places — cities, towns, specific roads — on my wishlist:
The stretch along the Russian River between Monte Rio and Duncans Mills.
The woods of Healdsburg, within a fifteen-minute drive to the center of town.
A sunny patch of land in Anderson Valley, off of Highway 128, close to Philo.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, living steps away from state parks and dense forests, but also the beautiful beaches of the Central Coast.
It’s so easy to get caught up in daydreams, to romanticize all of this, to get lost in the fog.
But I realize I should be careful, dreaming of the perfect host location and plotting it on a map, blinding myself from other possibilities. It’s so easy to get caught up in daydreams, to romanticize all of this, to get lost in the fog. That’s what I mean about living in your head, which is easy to do when you “have a plan” — and when you have a house floor plan you can’t help but obsess over — but nowhere to put the house.
In these few months as we wait for construction to begin and secure a place to park, I’ll continue to shape these possibilities in my head — ultimately, I’ll permit myself to dream — but must keep my mind wide open. While we have a clear vision and firm goals, the beauty of this journey is paving our own path, winding as it may be, to get there.