Here’s Why I’m Building a Tiny Home Truck

By vaughn
October 26, 2018
7 min read

I left Los Angeles, California in July 2018 to go back to Maryland for two reasons: to spend some quality time with my mom and to build a tiny home…inside of a step van (think FedEx type of truck). That’s right, inside of a step van truck. Let’s explore why:

This has been on my mind for a while since I traveled the country last year and witnessed the beauty the U.S. has to offer. From camping in Alberta, Canada to witnessing wild horses near a river in Montana, it sparked up my kid like curiosity to continue exploring.

When I got back to Los Angeles, after traveling, I asked myself some vital questions:

  • What does the concept of “stability” mean to me?
  • Is my current way of living sustainable?
  • Can I live a better life with a smaller “footprint”?

Months would go by before I realized I had  the answers to all of these questions. As a person looking for constant evolution into a better individual and contributor to this world, I immediately started planning my exit strategy from the templated system of economic standards set forth by our American society.

Societal Socialization

The Setup

If you’re unfamiliar with how it operates, it’s something like this:

  1. Go to school for 7 hours a day from ages 6 to 18 years old
  2. Graduate high school
  3. Get accepted and attend college or university
  4. Graduate college
  5. Get a job as an employee at a company
  6. Work for 8+ hours a day (sound familiar?) – more like a 10 hour day if you’re lucky
  7. Buy a home somewhere
  8. Establish a romantic relationship with someone
  9. Have children with said person
  10. Continue working until you’re 65 years old (you can retire if you can afford it)
  11. Die

How does that sound? If you’re in phases 4 through 10 and want to escape, setup a call with me here.

What does the concept of “stability” mean to me?

I’ve never been one to bend to rules and I have this habit of questioning everything which can create tension for some people. For me, it has given me clarity and understanding about how to build my ideal life.

School

The list above absolutely frightened me once I understood that was setup for me to follow. So I decided to change it. The first 2 items are out of the control for most children who have guardians around because you’re usually going to be forced to go to school. And let me be clear: I support learning and education until the day you die (see #11), however, the overly structured environment and standardized teaching methods in the American school system aren’t applicable to every child’s learning style. The system also caters to families of the upper and upper-middle income households. Resources in some middle and lower income households are not available, thus the environment is one of which:

  • Teachers are not paid enough
  • Students do not have access to proper materials or materials are outdated
  • Access to technology like computers, calculators, etc is not available
  • After-school programs to engage (and even keep students safe) are sparse because the funds and human resources are unavailable

This list goes on. I’m grateful to have had most of these things, but I also recognize where they’re lacking.

Another thing to note is that I feel like our system is setting up our children (and adults) to be drones essentially to power the country. This is insane. Think about it.

Work

Americans are conditioned to be in school for 7 to 8 hours per day up until high school. In college, students have marginal freedom. After you’re ushered into the workforce as an employee, you’re back to an 8+ hour day and you have no objections because you’re used to that routine anyway. [Gotcha] It’s a strong case of conditioning.

The reality is this:

  • We do not need 7 hour school days to actually be effective in learning, retaining, and applying information – read this article
  • We do not need 8+ hour work days to get the same amount of work done. We’re terribly inefficient for this very reason.
  • Most people actually work a solid 4 hours at their corporate jobs with the other hours attributed to (getting coffee, lunch breaks, chatting, unnecessary meetings, random internet browsing on company time, etc

What kind of life is it when you’re working a 8 hours of the day, sleeping 7 hours of the day (if that), 2 hours per day (1 hr to get ready for work and 30 min to/from work)? That leaves you with 7 hours of the day to eat, be human, learn how to love, enjoy living, etc. Over generalizing for illustration purposes but there are people reading this that have this exact schedule.

This is not what I want. I’ve been in a corporate environment and worked for companies…amazing companies. But I always knew it was not something I wanted to long term.

I set myself up for a life that most people want but are unsure of how to tackle it. Daunting to say the least. It takes courage. It takes work. It’s fucking scary. But you can do it.

I believe we’re supposed to be happy and purposeful beings.

Living

This brings me to living and paying rent to do so. Yes, I know, things cost money. But I realized I can control a certain amount of what I pay and who I pay it to without sacrificing my life experience factor.

I understand that quality of life is relative to the individual, but if I told you that you can have free electricity and travel (locally and beyond, at will) would you be interested in a lifestyle modification? The concept of tiny home living is nothing knew. It’s been around for hundreds of years (I’d venture to say thousands). As long as I can remember, my grandfather has been living in a van or small camper towed by a truck. Even to this day, he’s 81 and living in a camper, utilizing every inch of space inside.

Paying $2,000 per month, for an apartment I will never own, seems unsustainable to me. Owning a home, under $350k, in a desirable location is almost impossible, and the job market isn’t keeping up with the cost of living so what do we do?

Enter the tiny home – a portable home (some are parked on land) anywhere from 100 to 350 sq ft (varies) that has all of the elements of a standard sized home, but every inch of space is utilized. Efficiency at its finest. For a while, I was considering a container home, which I will still build, but for now a tiny home in a truck is the next phase.

The Goal

Ultimately, I’m going to build a tiny home/office inside of a step van truck that will serve as my home as well as my vehicle. I will travel the country and speak at schools, share what I’m doing, and live pretty much off grid using a solar power setup.

I have already purchased a truck, however it looks like I’ll need to sell it and get another one I found in Indiana. My current truck may require too much work and in the long run, will cost me more money than I’m willing to spend.

*UPDATE: The new truck has been acquired since creating this post!

I want to live in this tiny home truck for at least a year. I’m grateful to be able to work from literally anywhere in the world so in return, I’d like to share and educate anyone interested in challenging what the term “stability” means. Stability is a mindset. It’s also important for me to share what I’m doing with other people of color. The current state of the American economy is in rare form because our current government has handed out permission slips to be blatantly racist and discriminatory to pretty much every non-white citizen in America. It’s always been clear and present, it’s just exposed now more than it has ever been. If I can show others how to build AND OWN a home for a fraction of the cost that is more sustainable than what we’ve been shown, then that’s what I’ll do.

Make sure you subscribe and follow along with the blog as I’ll be posting how-to videos and the entire process of building this tiny home truck. If you have any questions feel free to email me at tinyhometruck [at] gmail

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