The Slow Pursuit of a Simpler Life

pc: Alana Jamison

For the last five years, my husband and I have been talking about living in a tiny house. The conversations stemmed from a life long pipe dream I’d had of owning only the primary essentials, only what I can carry in a backpack. I wanted the freedom to travel and I wanted to live simply. And more and more that idea of living simply began to drive everything that I chose to pursue.

So, two and a half years ago we decided to sell our car and buy a school bus. Soon after purchasing it we began the process of gutting it and re-building the inside to become our “tiny home on wheels.” Our goal was to complete it within the year, preferably that summer and move in shortly after our second child was born. He is now nearly two years old, and we still have not finished.

It’s been a difficult process for us. This is our attempt to gain back some financial freedom. We’ve spent the past several years drastically cutting back our expenses so that (one) I could be a stay-at-home mom, and (two) so that we could travel more. Things haven’t gone quite as planned.

Our house bus is a vision for our future. It’s our symbol of freedom. It’s a big effort to continue cutting back our expenses so that we can do more of what we really want to do. It’s a small stepping stone into other dreams of living a simpler life, and it’s been a huge investment of time and money for us. Mostly, building our tiny home has been a huge lesson — all dreams take time to realize, even the dreams that seem like small foundations for our bigger dreams.

What’s amazing to me is how difficult a process it is to making a transition to living differently in the U.S. Legally, it is difficult to live the way I want to live because out-dated city codes prevent many tiny house dwellers from being able to park and live legally within city limits. This forces many to build their own tiny home communities, purchase their own land, or move into a mobile home/RV park that allows tiny house dwellings. Still none of those options are guaranteed to be legal or permissible.

Slowly, many cities are starting to change their codes to allow more alternative dwelling units, and here’s the thing, I get why some of these codes are in place. And it still baffles me. For us, it adds another difficult piece to our already difficult process, but we’re unconcerned with it at this point. We have a few options in place, and we’re just holding onto the feeling that when the time is right everything will happen as it should.

The Jamisons are a family of four converting a Chevy Blue Bird school bus into their tiny home. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter @_thejamisons or on YouTube. Also, if you want to support this publication or their YouTube channel consider becoming a Patron.

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Writer, English teacher, MFA holder

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Alana Settle

Alana Settle

Writer, English teacher, MFA holder

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