Matthieu Klein | Author
Travelling with your house on your back may seem a little off-the-wall. And then building the house yourself? Call us crazy, but that's what we decided to do to achieve our dream of going on a family road trip in our tiny house.
Approaching our 30s, we felt ready to settle down and have a family without giving up our sense of wanderlust. The arrival of our son Milo made us rethink the way we roamed the world.
As people accustomed to travelling with nothing but a backpack and finding places to sleep through chance encounters or couchsurfing, we had a hard time giving all that up cold-turkey.
Here's how we turned our somewhat cuckoo dream into reality.
Step 1: figuring out what we wanted
My spouse Amélie and I were intrigued by the tiny house movement. We were instantly drawn to the notion of travelling at our own pace and living locally. That way, we could feel at home no matter where we were, and get a change of scenery whenever we wanted.
Step 2: crunching the numbers
We were already used to putting money aside for our travels, and we had some savings, but we needed more! A few sacrifices would be necessary to reach our goal, which meant: cutting back on dinners out and movie nights, and more importantly, making certain choices.
. Tiny house
Not surprisingly, this was our biggest expense. To save money, we decided to build it ourselves. At the end of the day, our "Tinid" cost us $30,000.
6 months on the road takes some planning! In terms of sleeping, we're hoping to couchsurf mostly. We estimated our overall expenses at around $10,000 to cover the cost of renting the truck, gas, insurance and campsites for when we can't couchsurf.
To offset the expenses related to our condo (mortgage, tax, utilities, etc.), we decided to rent it out during our absence.
To avoid any problems, we reviewed all our coverages: healthcare, travel, home (condo and tiny house) and vehicles (our car and the rental truck), and notified our insurer about our plans to see if there was any extra protection we might need.
Step 3: putting it all in motion
We summoned up all our courage, rolled up our sleeves and got down to work. Tiny or not, building a house is a complex undertaking and all of the standard construction steps had to be followed.
We did our research, took our woodworking classes, designed our 3D plans and ordered our custom trailer. A year later, the almost 5-ton structure is ready to go.
Building the house ourselves allowed us to customize it to suit our needs perfectly (kitchen, bathroom, living room and separate bedroom). Our 250 square-foot home has all the comforts of a traditional home.
Step 4: arranging our sabbatical from work
Becoming parents is a huge event and we wanted to spend as much time as possible with our little Milo. We're so fortunate in Quebec to have such long parental leaves.
We spoke with our respective bosses about our idea soon into Amélie's pregnancy, and it was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from colleagues and bosses. The originality of our plan even encouraged several of them to help us make it happen.
Step 5: planning the itinerary
We're both originally from France and decided to move to Quebec because we love the relaxed atmosphere here. Aside from the beautiful countryside, the warmth of the Quebec people and their openness really attracted us.
Travelling from one spectacular area to another, discovering national parks, cliffs, waterfalls and wide open fields...going from one lake to another along mythical roads winding along the St. Lawrence River. And then driving down the Atlantic seaboard of the eastern United States.
You might see us in your neck of the woods this summer!
Step 6: packing our bags
A minimal home means minimal consumption. Living a compact life requires you to live more simply and environmentally-friendly, which can be a challenge for a family. In keeping with our values, we looked for products made by Quebec companies that we could bring along in our bags. And we found a lot of them! These companies became partners of our adventure and we'll have the pleasure of introducing them to all of you who follow us on our journey this summer on Facebook and Instagram @TinyHouseTinid and on our website.
We actually hit the road in our Tinid. See you on the roads of Quebec this summer!