Leavin' Home for the Open Road: Q + A with Stef and Jerimiah of American Frolic

I'm super excited to share Stef and Jerimiah's camper life story with you today. Stef and Jerimiah blog over at American Frolic.  Stef and I have been chatting over email for a while now and I wanted to ask her all about her decision to purchase and move into a vintage camper indefinitely.

Her story reminds me so much of Matt and I a few years ago. We didn't have a big plan or know exactly how we were going to make it work, but we did! If you take the leap, good things happen.

I asked Stef all about their decision to live mobile in the camper, what the biggest challenges have been as they transition into the camper life, and where they'll end up. I hope you enjoy this Q + A with these rad people!

 

COMET CAMPER: How did you guys decide that you wanted to live in a trailer? What other options did you consider? What motivated you - financial, wanderlust, ecological?

AMERICAN FROLIC: We had both decided we wanted to leave Chicago over a year ago.  We bounced around the idea of moving back to California or maybe to Colorado but knew we would have to put down a double deposit not matter where we went. 

Then we talked about maybe buying a camper to live out of and travel till we found a home wherever we went.  Then that turned into the idea of trying to see the country and find a place we would want to call home, broaden the search to everywhere we could hitch up and travel to...

Which is Better For You: Tiny House or Camper? 5 Questions to Help you Decide

Which is Better For You: Tiny House or Camper? 5 Questions to Help you Decide

The other day I got an email from a curious reader of this blog. Karen wanted to know:

"I was wondering your opinion on is a tiny house better or a camper? I could buy a camper now, but if I want to build a tiny house I will need to save up for a few years since I want to build it debt free. Thank you for your blog and support I always enjoy seeing something from you in my email."

Oooh, I thought, I get this question a lot. Both from clients, people I work with, and readers. So I’m addressing it head-on today. 

To start, I don’t necessarily think a tiny house or a little camper is “better” than the other - but they’re definitely different and are suited to different people with different needs and lifestyles. Today I'll give you a framework for thinking about this question yourself.

Obviously I went with a camper over a tiny house on wheels.

I chose this option for a few reasons...

"Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

 "Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

Today I'm excited to share a guest post with you by Ginny McKinney. Ginny completed the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course a few months ago (which is now open for registration for the session beginning on March 1st!) and I've asked her to share her story because it is downright brave, inspiring and fearless. When Ginny sent me an email update about where she's at now - I just knew I had to share her inspiring story with you.

If you want to join my 8-week downsizing bootcamp and join a lifetime group of friends and comrades on a similar journey towards simple living (either in a tiny house, camper, cabin, or even downsizing in place) - you should join us for the March 1st session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing.

I want to thank Ginny for taking the time to share her story with you today. I hope you find it as incredible as I do. Please note, this guest post does involve grief, death, and recovery.

I'll let Ginny take it from here.

The morning dawned with the typical bluebird skies of Colorado. Mr. Virgo and I had been knee deep in negotiations as to how we were going to spend our looming retirement years. We finally settled on getting a travel trailer and to start practicing early. Why wait for retirement to have some fun, right?

We had a leisurely breakfast then headed out to go trailer shopping. It was a lovely drive. We discussed the merits of different size campers and floor plans. We definitely wanted something big enough to take the kids and grandkids with us. We held hands and planned. It was a perfect day. 

Until... We were standing in the fourth trailer, trying to decide which one we liked best, when my sweetheart suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 62. In a moment, the life I knew, the life we had planned, was just...gone. The next few days...ok, the next YEAR, was a blur. I went to stay with my kids for a few weeks. It was spring break and my older daughter said, "Mom, we're all yours today. What do you want to do?" There was only one thing TO do. We went out and bought a travel trailer!

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

PS - TinyCamp, the learning community for people ready to live a tiny life, is now open for registration until February 10th. TinyCamp is 3 months of community, live calls, support, expert guidance, resources and more. So if you need help designing your PV system, or your tiny home, trailer, or RV, and you have lots of questions about this kind of thing - TinyCamp is the place to get answers and personalized help for your unique situation!

If you’re thinking about using a photovoltaic solar power system for your tiny home, trailer, camper, or van, this post is for you.

I have given many presentations and talks about simple solar power (I've spoken at more than 25 tiny house workshops and events in the last 2 years),  and I get the SAME question every single time. Everyone wants to know...

How to Stay Warm in Winter When You Live in a Van or Trailer (plus: alternatives for toughing out the cold weather)

How to Stay Warm in Winter When You Live in a Van or Trailer (plus: alternatives for toughing out the cold weather)

Ah yes, winter in the Comet Camper. Many people have asked how we stay warm and how we deal with our 3 season abode!

I recently received a question from a reader about what I do in the winter since living in the COMET. 

I figured some of you probably have the same question, so I’m going to talk a little bit about how we’ve lived the past 3 winters. If you’re thinking about living in a trailer or a van - I’ve got some good tips for you.

First off - our primary “home-base” area is Massachusetts and the New England area - yeah, it gets COLD. As I write this it is 0 degrees! (I’m inside - I’ll tell you more about why in a minute)...

Simple Living for Everyone - I don't care how many square feet you live in

Simple Living for Everyone - I don't care how many square feet you live in

I want to have an open and honest conversation. 

Not about tiny houses or vintage trailers or living in a vehicle, though I think that those things are wonderful. 

I want to talk about simple living, the power of elimination, saving for later and producerism, without setting any rules about what size home is "right" or "good" to live in.

Simple living looks different to different people. If you have a family, my way of living might seem absurd. I can’t imagine living in a small house with my family growing up - we would have murdered each other for sure. If you are older or disabled, a tiny house might not be a good fit for you, or it might be perfect. If you run your own business, like I do with my vintage clothing store, your needs might look different than someone who works for a company and leaves their work at the office.

I just want to shout out that the number of square feet you live in doesn’t matter. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you smart or dumb. It really doesn’t mean much.

Life in a 70 sq. ft. Pop-Up Camper: The Cricket

Life in a 70 sq. ft. Pop-Up Camper: The Cricket

Today, I'm really excited to be sharing a guest-post with you by Alexis of Curious-Crickets.com. Alexis is a recent graduate of our Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. Alexis and her husband have decided to downsize and travel extensively in the Cricket Trailer - one of my favorite campers! I met with the owner and designer of Cricket Trailers, Garrett, a few years ago on our first Tiny House Road Trip. These are really cool, very innovative campers. I'll hand it over to Alexis, so you can read all about her experience. If you need help downsizing, you can check out the e-course here.

Hello there!

We’ve been dreaming about it for months now, and going through our things in anticipation. Thankfully, our recent visit to see a Cricket Trailer in person has confirmed our hopes: the green and orange popup will be a great home for me and a very tall guy when we embark on a year of U.S travel.

 

How to Build a Tiny House (or trailer) on a Shoestring Budget

How to Build a Tiny House (or trailer) on a Shoestring Budget

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s finding good stuff for cheap.

I built a business on this particular skill (buying and reselling high-end vintage clothing online) and have translated what I know about buying quality vintage clothing into buying/acquiring/finding really quality building materials for cheap (or free). 

I’m also REALLY frugal, in all aspects of my life. I kind of hate spending money. It’ just part of my lifestyle - save as much as possible, don’t spend unless absolutely necessary.

I mean, the original reason I started thinking about living in a renovated, off-grid trailer wasn’t for the noble environmental stuff, but because I REALLY didn’t want to pay rent or utilities. Basically, I didn’t want to have a real people job (I don’t do well with “authority”) and all the expenses that go along with that lifestyle. 

But when I started planning and building my tiny home, the COMET Camper, 5 years ago, I noticed one way that I didn’t really fit in.

Most people that I talked to about building and living in tiny houses were older, they were living in 3,000 sq. ft., 4-bedroom houses, they had 2 SUVs and a boat. Their plans were to use the money from the sale of their old, consumerist lifestyle to fund their tiny home. Well, this was GREAT for them, and good for YOU if you’re in the same situation, but it didn’t apply to me at all. 

I was broke (like, I had a $100 of my own money) and a college student, I was living in a room in a shared house. I didn’t have “assets” and I didn’t have any “savings” at all. 

What I did have was motivation, a need, desire, persistence, and a little bit of luck. Oh, and I had a plan. You’ve got to have a plan. 

This Couple is Living in a Vintage Trailer While They Build a Tiny House

This Couple is Living in a Vintage Trailer While They Build a Tiny House

Kathleen and Greg are a young couple living in a 1969 vintage trailer (same year as the COMET!) while they build themselves a tiny house on wheels. Kathleen and I connected a few weeks ago, and I was so excited to meet another couple who lives like Matt and I do! I asked if I could share their ongoing story here, and so here's what Kathleen has to say about their life in their trailer so far. You can read more about Kathleen and Greg and their tiny living adventure on their blog, "Tiny House, Tiny Footprint."

 

Tiny Changes

Since living in a 140-square-foot camper trailer, I have received a variety of questions. I thought it would be best to answer them here and help alleviate concerns for those who are considering tiny living. If you're nervous about embarking on a new adventure like this, I think it's important to remember that you can test it out and if it doesn't work out, you can go back to living how you were previously.

8 Vintage Trailers That Will Make You Swoon

8 Vintage Trailers That Will Make You Swoon

Finally! An excuse to show you some of my favorite vintage campers that we saw on our #tinyhouseroadtrip.

I typically hate "list" blog posts like this, but I needed a way to show you some of the random cool trailers and campers we saw along the way, in between, and on the road.

All of these photos are mine, I took each one. Enjoy!

SEE ALL THE VINTAGE GOODNESS AFTER THE JUMP!