Let's try and start at the beginning. Kaitlin and I graduated from Florida State University in the Spring of 2011 and married in September. We were fresh out of college and were lucky enough to find jobs in Tallahassee. The first few months of our marriage were a whirlwind, we had moved all of our stuff into our small rental home and were trying to figure out married life, while settling into our new jobs.
I consider the two of us subscribers to the puritan work ethic, work hard and good things will come. When work started to get difficult we buckled down and worked through it. Everytime one of us would feel down about their job the other would be there to help them through it. All the while we accumulated more stuff. Sometimes I would have a hard day at work and I would come home to Ebay and find some great deal on something, decide I couldn't live without it, and buy it. Somehow I thought this would make me feel better. Heck, if I was working so hard to make this money, I may as well buy the things I wanted.
I feel as if we really started to get into a rut. We were just running on auto pilot, working to pay the bills. We decided we needed a change and started to look for options. One of our biggest expenses was our rental house. After about an hour with a calculator we realized we needed to get out of the rental game. The first place we looked for a solution was the housing market. With the way the economy is we found out we could buy a pretty decent house for under $200k. So $20k down and a thirty year mortgage and we could be on our way to the American dream.
In the middle of all of this decision making, I was lucky enough to talk my boss into letting me take five weeks off work to ride my bicycle from Maine to Florida. This has always been a dream trip of mine so I jumped at the opportunity. Kaitlin, being the awesome wife that she is fully supported my adventure. Riding 2000 miles by yourself affords you the time to think about a lot of different things including asking yourself "what do I really want out of life".
When I got back, Kaitlin and I really started to put our heads together and started thinking of what we were going to do. Our first thought was a Dodge Sprinter Conversion Van. This seemed very appealing, enough space to live and it was mobile. We could get jobs that we could work from home and travel the country. The only downside was the price, we were looking at $70k-$90k to get the van and set it up the way we wanted.
We went back to the drawing board and mulled it over for a few months until we came up with a "Tiny House" which is a sub 200 sq foot house usually built on a flat bed trailer. We started doing as much research as we could. We found "Tiny House" people from all walks of life. People like us that wanted to live simply, not become a part of debt culture, all while reducing their carbon footprint. Needless to say we were intrigued, the biggest question was could we do it? Were we willing to give up our current lifestyle in exchange for financial freedom?
After long conversations of going back and forth we decided that at this point in our life we needed a change and we were at least willing to try it. If worst comes to worst we would sell the Tiny House and start renting again.
Well once we decided what we wanted it was on. Since then we have done hours and hours of research and began selling the majority of our possessions. Today we decided to go public with our decision, telling friends and family. It has been received with mixed emotions but people always seem to end with "That is crazy". I was blown away by how many people came out of the wood work to call me. It always started the same "hey how are you, it's been so long" but quickly transitioned to "so whats this I here about you and Kaitlin building some small house". It did feel good to talk to others about our desire to simplify.
My sister (she thinks we are nuts) said that if we do this we have to start a blog to document our transition. We plan on using this blog to share ideas we have as well as show the transition from "normal living" to "Tiny House living". We are not sure how this will work out but that is what makes it exciting. Let us know your thoughts, we would love to hear from you.