Over the past two years that we have been on the bus, we have attended multiple Tiny House festivals and meetups. We absolutely love showing off our bus and meeting the amazing people that are part of the community. Here are a few interesting things that I have discovered over the past year or so.
Sharing Community Of Tiny Home Dwellers
This is my absolute favorite thing about the “tiny” movement. Ashley and I have been a part of numerous subcultures over the years (school, extra curricular groups, churches, coops) and have never found a community more inviting and accepting that the tiny home community. Especially the DIYers. Everyone seems to share similar values of living sustainably and treating others with love and respect. It’s absolutely incredible.
Often we are asked why we spend our time and money to attend tiny home shows/meet-ups. Usually, they are unpaid gigs that involve quite a bit of work for all of the folks attending. My response is always to spend time in community with other tiny home dwellers.
Almost out of no where, each night after the guests have left, a huge party materializes. Everyone in the show brings food to share and there are often (sometimes obscure) musical instruments that get pulled out and an on-the-spot band is formed. I feel like we are immediately among family after knowing these people for less than 12 hours.
Huge Difference Between DIY Tiny Homes And Tiny Home Builders
I’m totally not knocking on people who have their houses/busses/vans built for them or the builders who do it, but there is definitely a difference in the mindset between the two. Most of the festivals have separate areas for DIY vs Corporate.
A few other observations about the actual structures of DIY vs Built:
- DIY tends to have more character while manufactured feels like a “home builder”
- DIY people tend to be more savvy as they have acquired the skills needed to build their structure
- Cost: The cost to have a tiny home or bus built for you is almost double that of doing it yourself
- Reasons for living tiny: I feel that DIYers are more inclined to be living tiny because of the movement instead of the trend (again there are plenty of exceptions, I’m only speaking in generalities). Also, the DIY community seems to be more “stick it to the man” in this regard.
People Think We Are Poor
So, Ashley, together with a few super talented friends of ours created this super cool logo/sticker for Trebventure. She had a cool idea of selling stickers at $3 a pop to go into our gas fund (we get 7 mpg so we can use all the help we can get). Well, people purchased about $60 worth of stickers, however every now and again someone would slip me a 10 or a 20 and not want a sticker. When I pressed them on this they would say things like “I know what it’s like to have kids”. I humbly accepted the money (and put it into the community beer fund), however I really want to convey to people that we choose to live this way.
One other time this sort of thing happened, we were in Washington. The Nomadic Millers and us had pulled into a parking lot at a local laundry mat to get some laundry done when a car pulled up. The woman got out and proceeded to give us a case of water and balls for the kids. Again, while we were super grateful for the generosity, I’m still not super sure how to react in these situations other than to say “thank you”.
We are houseless not homeless.
Everyone Has Road/Traveling Issues
“How much have you spent on bus maintenance?” – This is an extremely common question we get asked. While we have been incredibly fortunate to have less than $1,000 in maintenance so far, many of our peers haven’t been so lucky. We have heard stories of multiple transmission replacements, clutch jobs in parking lots, rebuilds on the side of the road and more. Almost every time we are all ready to leave a convention, someone’s bus won’t start.
Road issues aren’t just common in the busses either. Many of the tiny home folks dealt with flats, truck issues, near misses on bridges, etc…
Tiny Home Dwellers Love To Talk About Poop
At every convention I go to, I ultimately find myself in a conversation (not started by me I promise) about human waste / disposal. We use a composting toilet and absolutely love it (OK maybe I start some of the conversations). Since it’s such a unique thing and way of disposing of waste, people are always intrigued. Not to mention, there are still a few challenges associated with it that only frequent users will understand. That post is for another day.
Some Final Thoughts
We absolutely LOVE attending tiny house jamborees/festivals/conventions/meetups. If you know of one in your area, we absolutely encourage you to go (also let us know and we might check it out ). Building our bus has been a labor of love and an expression of our creativity. Nothing brings us more joy than being able to show case our hard work to the world.
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