The Inspiration and Freedom of Downtown Living

Never before in my life have I felt like I am in such a comfortable place, I am relaxed, easy going, focused, hard working and generally pretty happy. Even on the slowest of rainy days I am still in high spirits and feeling great. I took a moment to take a look around me and see if maybe my surroundings could be playing into this happiness and my overall joy. From looking around I have discovered that living in downtown Guelph is one of the greatest things I have done to date. There is so much to downtown living that I would love to share with others and hopefully see more people transition to living in the core of their city.

So to start off Guelph is one of the safest and happiest cities around, everyone is always in a good mood and there is always something happening, it’s a very happening city and here I am lucky enough to be sitting right in the center of all that is happening. The building I live in is easily 100 years old, high ceilings, hardwood floors and stone walls, it is a gorgeous place to live, work and play. Despite it’s location right in the center of the city it is quiet enough, it is peaceful and it is relaxing. There is a private rooftop terrace that can be enjoyed on nice warm days and provides a beautiful view of most of the city. There is a lot to the building that is convenient and helps provide the feeling of relaxation and happiness, as opposed to all the thoughts that downtown living is sketchy or loud.

The next major benefit is ease of access and convenience when it comes to the downtown lifestyle. Literally everything you want is at your doorstep and everything is within a walking distance. Whether it is food, coffee, restaurants, entertainment, stores, hair stylists, and offices, they are all located in the core of the city. The options are vast and the choices are endless. There are markets and grocery stores in a quick walk and I could essentially live out of the downtown area without much need to leave. With all this convenience I have chosen to not get a car, and save the time, money and costs associated with driving. Nothing is too far to walk and if anything is further than my preferred walking distance then the public transit hub is down the street from my apartment and is a convenient and relaxing way to get places. I also like many downtown dwellers own a bike and use it as frequently as possible to get to my destination near or far.

The title states the freedom of living downtown, this freedom is derived from the simple fact that anything is within reach, there is everything I need nearby, no travel time, no commutes, no traffic jams, it is a brilliant place to reside. If I get bored of sitting in the apartment then I can go for a walk, go explore, go socialize, both inside stores and out on the street, there is always something to do. When it comes to entertainment there are festivals, shows, concerts, and live events all over the downtown area and as a matter of fact the downtown core is the place for entertainment. There is a constant opportunity for a change of scene, between the nearby parks, the outside architecture, the street, the roof, and inside of stores. There is no dull moment if you choose to be constantly out exploring and busy.

The simple things like waking up and going to work in a coffee shop is beautiful, to be able to enjoy the scenery of the bustling downtown core during everyone’s morning rush while sipping a coffee and working away. The number of days where I spend a couple hours in a coffee shop to write, sketch or work on a project is great, it is slow going, quiet and relaxing is just amazing. Knowing that an experience like that is just steps away is great, it also helped me create a stable routine to get out of the house and keep busy during the mornings. Something to inspire me to leave bed even though I don’t need to is a good thing to have, being productive the whole morning is a good feeling. At the end of the day I can look at everything I did and realize that there is a lot that has been accomplished and that is something to be proud of.

The inspiration of living downtown is all around me, everywhere I look there is something to be inspired by. Whether it is the people I meet during my morning, the things I see when I look out my window, the buildings around me, the stores and all their wonders and so on. There is so much that is around me to inspire, a change of place is always nice and if I wanted to go work outside or anywhere it isn’t far, it isn’t cumbersome and it is fun.

Overall I would have to say that living downtown has been extremely freeing, the benefits outweigh the cost of an apartment. You save on transportation, and you make up for things in convenience of the location over anything else. There is so much and if you have a nice downtown area try looking for an apartment there, it is a competitive market and with good reason.

Working for Change, Why Change

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So this is exactly it, we all know that changes are everywhere, literally all around us, however many of us wonder why change? I’m personally wondering this with the bus project that is coming up in my life. I see the benefits and all the fun things that could happen but at the same time I already live a really cozy lifestyle. I have a big downtown apartment, an easy job, a fancy wardrobe and expensive tastes. I am always out, I’m always busy and yet I want to give it all up to live in a bus. If I waited till later this would sound like a mid life crisis, except I’m 18 so it’s not that big of a deal. However why would I go through all of this, why would I change so much in my life and for what? Let’s try and work this through.

 

This whole situation might make sense if I was soon to be homeless, struggling or without options. But I’m not, I’m simply 18 and doing all of those things for myself, I support myself and I enjoy the lifestyle I live. It is simple but it works, it has its perks and it has it’s pleasures. If you have read the previous articles, I am going to then give all of this up for little to no luxury, working bare bones and living in a form of primitive style for a bit. The question still stands, so why am I giving up all these great things?

 

The truth is that sure this is nice, but it isn’t sustainable. I’m not necessarily talking about the kind of sustainable that is eco conscious, but financially, space and for my own health. There are many ecological reasons to this as well but those are their own subject entirely. These are the main reasons I see change as a good thing and this is where my reasoning for change comes from. We all realise the changes around us and we sometimes have a hard time figuring out what change we need in our own life and why we may need it. I’m fully aware of this change and here let me explain a bit of why these things could use the change.

 

First I mentioned finances, there is a financial reason for a lot of people to do a lot of things. Most of us want to spend less, some of us want to spend more, it all really depends on your habits and your goals. For myself, I can tell you I really do enjoy spending the way I do, as I please and when I want, no limits and no criticism. I like my irresponsible spending and I enjoy how I live, that isn’t something I want to change, so where can I cut some major expenses? The biggest expenses in anyone’s life is vehicles and homes. These two things cost us the majority of our income, well to begin I don’t own a vehicle so I looked at my housing to cut the costs. Rent is really expensive and I understand its competitive and you are paying for location, so what if I didn’t have to pay rent? Well beautiful but owning is even more expensive, so I have to look somewhere in between. Well if I can build or create something to live in without the need to buy land well I would be cutting all the main stuff, no rent, no land costs and no utilities. Then I can live in something I own, and cut a lot of the main costs in my life.

 

Next I mentioned space, well going with statistics and going with tradition there is no reason we need 1000 plus square feet, even my 800 square foot apartment seems like too much. So part of this change is bringing my space down to what I need and nothing more or less, finding the perfect amount of space that will allow me to function properly and also allow me to live with just what I need. I don’t need the excess, well at least not in space, it is just wasteful. I’ve come to figure something around 200 square feet is perfect, compact, multi functional and organised. With less space, you find there is less room for junk, with less junk we find ourselves being more organised and productive and clean. These are all things I think necessary in such an environment and in my own life.

 

Finally I mentioned health, we all see the benefit of an active lifestyle but I also believe in peace of mind and a simple style. All of my ideas are small, making room and reason to be out and about during the day, whether it is working, or writing or enjoying the outdoors. The less space we have and things to keep us at home the more we may end up going out and exploring. So this will lead to a healthier on the go lifestyle, it will give me a reason to be out and moving as much as possible and it will lead to new discoveries all around. Next I’m very concerned with the peace of mind that there is with a small space. There is little cleaning, little work, everything is organised and you know that you are in a financially winning spot. All of these things lead to a relaxing life at home and the home becomes a place I can go home to and relax.

 

All of these factors are contributing to my desire to change and see this change through, it is a massive step to be taking and it is a big project to take at such a young age. However, to clarify I am not giving up on life, I’m not changing to be cheap or to change things too drastically. I am changing because I like my current lifestyle and the home I live in doesn’t really define my outwards view. Most people you meet in your day to day would never know where you live and this is okay, not that I am ashamed but because it is new.

 

Keep coming and checking back to read more about this journey as it unfolds. Over the next couple weeks I will be making the actual purchase of the school bus and this will put me into the position to start realising my goals. So we will start seeing more posts about the actual progress and expect photos and updates!


Thanks for reading, and coming to check back in! I look forward to sharing more on this project, any questions feel free to ask.

Creating Sustainable Mobile Homes

The front of the soon to be bus home, pre editing
The front of the soon to be bus home, pre editing

So yesterday I posted an article regarding the nature of the bus idea, my bold approach to a self sustainable lifestyle, today I want to discuss how I plan to create this self sustaining machine on the go. So here I want to go through the basic design, the essentials and the necessities and also some of the big roadblocks. Because creating a self sustaining machine is a fairly large task and well since all of it is currently in the theory stage this could not all be 100% spot on.

The bus is somewhere around 30 to 34 feet in the back, which is the living space, the dimensions are roughly 7 feet by 30 feet creating a space that is 210 square feet of home. This of course will be filled with all the things a house needs and will certainly restrict the available floor space. However there is still plenty of useable space, since what is added still is useable. Let’s start right in the back of the bus, we will start with the bathroom and move forward through the kitchen, living room and finally bedroom. Keep in mind this is a bus, everything is designed to keep as much of the windows available for a 360 degree panoramic view of the world, plus all the additional natural light. The centre of the aisle is kept clear of anything to allow one straight line of sight throughout the vehicle, there is little privacy but in the end privacy isn’t really needed.

The washroom consists of two rooms at the back of the bus, I figured it would be best to keep the undesirable near the back and allow for the front portion to be communal and open. I hate the number of places that create a wet bathroom, where everything is in one, the sink and toilet get wet and so on. So I made the decision to split the bathroom and create two rooms in the back. One room is completely designated to the shower, a full room encased in metal to create a waterproof shower stall. On the other side there will be a room with dedicated vanity counter and storage as well as the toilet. I chose to put in a composting toilet out of pure frugality, a composting toilet is the simplest of toilets and costs virtually nothing, browse around and you’ll find an article about them on my blog. So the two rooms allow for two separate bathroom spaces that are private enough and could both be used at the same time if needed. Behind the washrooms there will be two closet spaces on either side, these will store the water needed and also they will store any overflow storage and items that need to be hung up in a closet space. I want to keep a spare tent in here for extra people to camp with us, however to is hard to evaluate what can go in there until it is built.

Next section we have is the kitchen, it breaks the clean line of the bus and I am not sure how bad this will look but it narrows the counters down creating almost an extra foot of aisle space, which in my mind is needed when there are two counter surfaces and potentially multiple people to work with. The main utility will be the sink, most likely powered by a high pressure foot pump. This way the water isn’t wasted because you will pump exactly as you need, there will be a water tank and I would hate to be wasteful. Next up I plan to have two regular power induction burners that can be stowed away as to not waste counter space. These will plug into a regular socket and will run off the solar power, I would recommend these are only used during the day as they would probably drain the batteries really quickly. Other than these two things the kitchen contains no real utilities, nothing is grid tied and there is nothing like that. I am looking at hand powered espresso makers and blenders, we will see how that plays out. Otherwise the kitchen is comprised of plenty of open counter space and a system of drawers that allow for extended counter space, as well as space to store all food and utensils needed.

The most versatile area of the bus will be the seating area, this is a general living room that also becomes the dining room, work space, and a spare bedroom if needed. The idea is to ensure all the furniture serves a double purpose, which is important in any tiny home lifestyle, of course this is suited to my needs. There are two rows of seats, each one with 4 seat sections, these serve as the living room, a communal seating area. One of the sections on both sides will lift to become a table, that each can seat 2 people meaning that this will allow for a dining room area without obstruction. Next there is one seat on either side that is simply dedicated to storage inside of the seat, that idea is still in the works and I am debating maybe adding the potential for an extra bed. Finally the two seats that are covering the wheel well in the bus fold out and join together to form one large queen size bed, measuring 5 feet by 7 feet. The cushions are all made of a high density foam and will be custom made with slip covers to provide a finished look.

Finally we reach the bedroom, which is actually the front of the bus, this section opens up to the driver’s cabin and serves as seats when driving so the driver doesn’t feel alone. So this section comprises of two beds, each one is fairly high up because inside the bed is flat storage and underneath there is drawers for additional storage. In total we figure there is enough for two or three wardrobe’s worth of clothing inside the bed. One of the beds slide over to create a queen size bed and at the same time they reveal a second single mattress hidden below, meaning you are never sacrificing a bed space.

The driver’s cabin remains as is there isn’t much too it, I plan to re panel the front to create the same natural wooden look. Just use thin plywood to finish off the cabin and create a nice friendly look the whole way through. This may also help the appearance as you enter the bus as I am keeping the main access to the front, this will allow for more room and a cleaner look all the way through, also I plan to include the driver’s cabin in the bus instead of completely walling it off.

When it comes to some of the huge roadblocks that I will cover in other articles there are things such as the power demand, creating energy, drainage, and keeping enough water on board. The space is fine it is mainly the utilities that worry me.

Thanks for stopping by and reading today’s bit on the bus, if you like this keep checking back I plan to keep a very detailed log of this journey and how it all works out.
Have an amazing day!

The Bold Approach to Self Sustainability

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I talk all the time on here about the different ways to minimise your life, simplify your life, relax and be simple. I talk a lot about self sustainability because in truth it is really important, there is so many aspects to it that are important to know, however even more important to practice. However sometimes self sustainable lifestyles can be new, hard to start and costly to begin. There are no doubts of the long term benefits, it is simply just taking that first step. For example solar power, we realise it should be a part of the future and we accept it’s benefits however the startup cost is audacious and no one wants to take that leap.

 

I have the same problem in my life, see I live in a rental apartment, and i have for a while now, meaning I can’t change much, I can’t take the same steps I’d like to be taking. There are things like gardening, composting, sustainable energy and downsizing that just are not possible in a rental property. With today’s economy it is not a feasible option to buy a house or buy my own property, the costs are too high and I am a single working person. Even still though, I’d love to stop paying rent, stop paying outrageous bills and start saving for a better future. I’m not alone in this, many young people of my generation realise all the great benefits of a sustainable lifestyle however we are not in a financial standpoint to do so.

 

The title lists, a bold approach, that is what is necessary for someone my age to take a sustainable approach to life. I’ve looked into numerous options and most of them require having land, which for me is currently not a possibility. So instead I have to look at mobile living options, I’m not talking trailers or campers because personally I find this “trashy” and not exactly the way I would like to be living. So how bold exactly are we talking? Well the kind of bold that involves sacrificing everything I currently have to create a brand new lifestyle in a short, quick and brand new way. I would in part say that I am doing this out of desperation and part because I want to change and I want to change now. I am young and allowed to make mistakes so why not try these big ventures now and see where they take me? That is the beauty of a young age, we are allowed to mess up and it is simply considered natural and actually good learning experience. So I’m going to take the bold step, completely drop every luxury I currently have and buy a bus. Yes that is it I am buying an old school bus to turn into my home on the go.

 

So yes, a school bus, the same long yellow school bus that takes countless children to school, well as it turns out they can only run for so long then they are put up for sale. They are cheap, not pocket change but cheap with all things considered. Now I just mentioned above that I was giving up all luxuries for this leap, what exactly do I mean by luxury? Well running water is a luxury, so is heat and gas, having an at home internet connection, having a full washroom and having a proper living space. None of those things will be in the bus when I first start, it is an empty vessel for whatever I decide to put inside. So depending on finances, because I’m doing this using savings, we can see how much can get done and how quickly with the finances I have but to do this I am ready to sacrifice all of those things in order to achieve my goal. This isn’t to say that it is forever, I plan to add in a full washroom, add in a full kitchen and add most of the regular utilities and luxuries everyone else just takes for granted daily.

 

Why though? Why would anyone want to suddenly put himself into this situation? Well as I said it is a bold step to self sustainability. The hope is that everything that can be made on my own should be. I should rely on a separate company for my electricity, I don’t need gas to heat my space, I don’t need a massive apartment where I am paying far more than needed. All of this can be solved on my own and it just requires a bold step. You can read more about the full plan for the bus in another article but here I’d like to highlight the important features. So there will be on board water storage for the sink and the shower, it will be very precise amounts designed to fill certain amounts of time. The toilet is not your usual toilet, there is no water and it is completely composting, a simple and seemingly primitive solution. There is one sink in the entire house, there is no oven, just stove burners. The entire bus is powered using 3 or 4 solar panels and a battery bank. There is almost no need for lights as everything is naturally lit by windows surrounding 360 degrees. Everything is natural wood, no harsh finishing, no chemicals and no need for weak materials, and the entire thing is inside of a moving vehicle combining two of the largest costs in life into one place. The bus is still designed to run on diesel but we will see about changing that with time. Overall the bus is a self sustaining vehicle and does all of the necessary functions on it’s own. This eliminates utility costs, rent cost, and other things like that. My main costs will become gas and food. Leaving a lot of money to save or spend as desired.

 

If my journey interests you please continue to check back here as we will be posting some updates and eventually we will start a new blog dedicated to the project. If you are interested in my full walkthrough of the project then feel free to find the article describing the full planning of the bus on this same blog.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope this journey is something that intrigues and interests many.

Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!

Getting Over The Excess Barrier

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Today I want to discuss the excess barrier, that spot where we start learning to let go, minimize and bring our life to the comfortable, simple aspects thatI always talk about. The reason this is coming up today is recently I discovered that I too have a problem with the idea of letting go. For those who don’t know I plan to renovate a school bus into a mobile housing solution and while doing that I need to remove almost everything I own because it doesn’t fit in with the design.

Now I have been looking around my apartment and realizing that more than 50% of it will not be included in the new place. Meaning there is about to be a lot of stuff that I need to let go. Alright so let’s discuss getting over this barrier to let go of our things.

What sort of barriers are holding us back when it comes to stuff and changing our lifestyle, well typically we are attached to these things or we believe that absolutely need them. Then there are the sentimental items, the functional pieces, and clothing. Then one of the biggest problems in my mind is furniture, which is strange because most people seem to let go of their furniture every time they move.

Let’s start with the items we absolutely need and are attached to, these items are pretty difficult to let go of because we have used them a lot and they have become something we cannot let go of. I have come to the conclusion that I will be keeping my clothes, kitchen utensils and some close things like books and writing. Everything else becomes irrelevant to me because it is part of the lifestyle change. The barrier for things we are attached to can be overcome by assessing the things we are attached to by true need and absolute use. Things that are not used in more than 3 weeks is something that should not be kept. Things need to be in constant use and in constant need otherwise you don’t need to keep them. This is how life gets cluttered and eventually you can look around and realize there are things you haven’t used in months, clutter means forgetfulness and you actually lose the use of these pieces.

The hardest one being sentimental items, these are definitely hard to choose and I don’t blame anyone for having a hard time. Well alright when I moved out I kept the things dear to my childhood with my parents, who are much more fond of the memories anyways. As for things that are with you currently you should look for different ways to either incorporate them into your space, like as a focus piece or art piece, otherwise I would advise you find somewhere safe to store them. And if all else and you can find a way to let go of these items then I mean do so, find a way to either make something from them or find someone else who will cherish them. I think that is one of the hardest things, because when you sell off your items to someone else you want to sell them at their value to you, when in reality they are not as expensive to anyone else.

Getting rid of functional pieces and clothing, this includes everything from multi purpose pieces or gadgets, and well your entire closet. I group these two together because when it comes to gadgets and clothing everyone thinks that one day they will use this and they should keep it around for that one day that it will be used. Then in reality it never gets used and you continue to use that excuse. So we need to try and find a way to get over that barrier of swearing that things will get used. I mean I’d love to say that the one month rule still applies here but that doesn’t remove the excuse, I want to find out how to actually get over that barrier and let go of these things. Alright well I am aware that we think these things and we need to convince ourselves that the piece will not get used and could apply to someone else much better. Most people don’t keep their closet on display so it isn’t like you are proving anything by having a huge extensive closet, so I mean who are you trying to impress? Yeah, no one, so just let it go to someone who will use it. Donate, sell or hand down, they all benefit someone else. Create a look, stick to that look, and use that look all the time, if a clothing piece doesn’t fit into that look or isn’t in regular circulation then get rid of it. I keep one giant sweater that doesn’t fit my look in case I need one around the house, but that’s all, everything else is used all the time and the moment I find something that isn’t in circulation I get rid of it too.

Lastly furniture, I find that people who become attached to their furniture are the ones that end up having cluttered or gaudy spaces when they move. I realize furniture is expensive but that printed leather couch doesn’t fit in every space in the world. Sometimes you need to change things. For the most part large furniture isn’t a problem, but say a comfy chair, or a piece of decor seems to stick with people even if they aren’t used. Why? I’m not really sure if it is a memory thing or just attached to the piece in the first place. Either way we need to figure out if it is used enough to keep otherwise get rid of it. For myself every time I move I figure it is a brand new start, I let go of the memory of the old place and allow for a brand new opportunity to create and design a new space. So other than the functional items like electronics I choose to get rid of everything else, plus hey it saves on moving costs, I move everything in a car, in a couple trips.

Overall we need to learn that excess isn’t good, it doesn’t provide good space, it doesn’t promote a relaxing lifestyle, it inhibits creativity and causes multiple issues with our space. So figuring out that we don’t need or use something often is a good thing to figure out and it actually proves to create a great space, that is easy to upkeep, easy to use and easy to move. I, myself am working on letting go of some of the larger or less functional items and either repurposing or transforming them, if this doesn’t happen I will sell them to someone who can use them. The idea that the stuff I don’t need can be someone else’s benefit is a good thought and one that keeps me motivated to get rid of and simplify my life. Try it out and see how it feels and what it does to your space.

As always thank you for reading, I hope you learned something or gained some cool ideas!
Have an amazing day, keep it simple, and stay classy!

Smart Spaces and Mobility – A Quest

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I’m young, this is a fact, matter of fact I’m just turning 19 and I have the whole world and a life ahead of me. However I’m frightened and I’m scared, I’m actually terrified of debt. It’s statistic that nowadays most people spend the most of their income on rent, many young people are going into credit card debt that is more than 5000$ of what our parents had, we are spending money at an irresponsible rate and realistically we will never fully pay it back. Add student loans on top of that and it is just impossible to ever make that kind of money back. So yes I am terrified of debt and I have made it part of my priority list to make it through my 20′s without getting into debt. I’m not about to tell you some crazy budgeting plan where I live off of ramen noodles. Matter of fact I don’t plan to actually change my outrageous spending habits. I am just going to cut out the major costs and the things that put most in debt. I plan to remove rental costs, no mortgage cost, minimize credit spending and avoid student loans. Yeah, that’s the plan, not to spend differently just remove the most expensive items.

How exactly do I plan to do this? Well I plan to leave a rental situation, I will get out of the dangerous and expensive trap that is renting. When we really look at it, I for example spend 1125$ a month on rent, this making up 13,500$ in a year. I make just a little more than that at my current point in life, so spending such a huge chunk seems a little irresponsible. So I have made it my main goal to make it through my 20′s without modifying too much of my lifestyle, without sacrificing luxury, without losing education and while still enjoying life. I have gone through a frustrating task of trying to figure out what would be the best way to do this an the best way to live. I finally feel like I can say I found a solution.

I had recently come across an inspiring story titled Hank Bought a Bus, see Hank Butitta is an architecture student and he was tired of making projects that never existed beyond the page. He felt that his creativity wasn’t really going anywhere and he wanted to build something. So for a final project he bought an old school bus, gutted it, removed all the old stuff and completely redesigned it. As an architecture student he wanted to further explore the idea of the mobile living and its many misconceptions, he tried to demonstrate that renovating an old vehicle was possible and actually could work great. His project really did just that and he created a beautiful living space, finished with wood, and it was functional and well designed. His project went from something he wanted to try and it turned into a inspiring project. Multiple websites featured his project and he received attention from all over the world. He inspired me to take this concept and push it further.

So when I took a look at how it would be possible to live rent free and mortgage free for my 20′s I had to explore two different options. Both beyond the practical way of life, but both still luxurious and personal. The first option was a tiny house, a small house that is built on a trailer with the same building principles as a full home. They are roughly 150 square feet, they have everything necessary and can be towed and placed wherever. The second option was Hank’s bus, building my own bus and recreating his idea to make a functional long term living environment.
Both options cost overall less than 15,000$ at a maximum, and this would be a one time expense. The one time cost would allow for a mobile living environment for however long I needed.

One of my main aspects of living rent and mortgage free was that I wanted to start making money. I work, I actually work a lot, sometimes one job, sometimes multiple. But at the end of the day I am still basically living pay cheque to pay cheque. It isn’t bad but it isn’t saving. I wanted to receive a pay cheque and actually make money, instead of having temporary funds that allowed me to pay off rent, bills, and so forth. I wanted to make the money I earn, not spend it all at once, and both of these options allowed for that to happen, a one time cost and then just move on with life.

So I made a decision after multiple pros and cons lists, multiple re thinkings and redesigns. I decided to choose a bus, because the framework existed, there was more square footage and I didn’t have to buy a car or truck on top of building a house. It was a large mobile structure which I could take with me and the house would come with, it is the ultimate all in one solution. With little inspiration other than Hank I have to design most of it from imagination and see what I can dream up. See Hank never finished his concept, there are many things it still lacks and it is not a complete living situation. I want mine to run on its own, be completely independent and replace any other living situation I have.

The next step is to create a smart space within a bus that is functional mainly for me, but can support up to 6 more people. The bus needs to have ample storage, and functional space, it must have a full bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom. There can be no dividing walls because the space needs to remain open, there needs to be unfiltered natural light and it needs to be functional off and on grid. It shouldn’t matter if I am in the middle of nowhere or the middle of a city, either way I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my living situation or my quality of life. I want a space that is beautiful and brilliantly designed as well as something comfortable and functional. Hank made a great opening statement by creating a beautifully designed, functional space but he didn’t finish all the actual workings. For example his doesn’t have a functioning washroom, but the space exists.

So how does mobility become a potential quest? Well here is my problem, in a 2 year period I have moved 7 or 8 times between houses, apartments and so forth. It isn’t that my living space was bad, but that I got bored of the surroundings. Having mobility and a fresh space is fun for me, sure it is expensive but I just can’t settle. The bus allows me to travel when I wish and where I stay will always be different. There is nothing tying me down to a property or space, I am mobile and can be wherever I please. Hotels would never be a thing, because my home would just come with me. Owning a vehicle and renting are the two highest costs, so by combining them I am simplifying everything and really only paying for the vehicle portion. So my quest is currently to last a minimum of 4 or 5 years in the bus. I want to make it through the university stage of life without living in an apartment or rental space. I also want to travel, this doesn’t mean to other continents since I am still fascinated by what we have here, the idea of a road trip seems like fun and being able to really go anywhere in North America is nice. I can just up and travel anywhere during my free time which is a nice feeling.

In theory a one time cost of under 15,000$ and then afterwards gas and food is the only expenses for my lifestyle. It would allow me to actually make and save money after that one time expense. I wouldn’t sacrifice my lifestyle which seems luxurious but is really just dressed up to look nice. I wouldn’t have to sacrifice much other than an apartment in a convenient location. I would get to design my space and do what I will to make it my own. All of these are appealing to me and provide the kind of financial freedom I am searching for. I plan to continue this discussion and I would love to hear some feedback or advice from others.

As always thank you for reading my random mutterings and articles, I appreciate it so much!
Have an amazing day and stay tuned for more on this topic.

The Obsession with Space

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As an industrial designer and an eco conscious vegan I’m constantly concerned with our footprint and this directly relates to the space that we use. The space seems to become bigger all the time and we are using so much more than we need. This is making our cities, weaker, our spaces seem more crowded and it is expensive. Space is expensive, real estate is expensive, having a lot of anything is expensive and yet we are so obsessed with it. Why? Between the 1900′s and now there was suddenly a shift in what we believed we needed and we suddenly started collecting space like it was something real special.

Since the late 1900′s and now we are using 3 times more space than before, our dishes are 22% larger than they used to be, a small family now uses over 1000 square feet as opposed to under 600 previously. Not only that but people are getting married later, getting divorced sooner and many are living single longer, on top of that everyone is living longer. All these factors and we are still using much more than needed. Even young singles or professionals are using upwards of 600 square feet, when that use to host like a whole family. So what is the need for so much space, where did we decide that it was the norm to have more than what we need.

I understand wealth and wanting large houses as a manner of showing off, having multiple garages, maids, butlers and like 2 different wings to your house, however that is another subject all on it’s own. I’m talking about the average everyday person, somehow even the average families are living in spaces with an excessive amount of space. One of the biggest problems is that real estate doesn’t even support smaller, we are forced to buy larger spaces and it puts a lot of people in bad situations. Houses aren’t cheap, mortgages aren’t cheap, and although they used to be, they no longer are. There was an old book that taught how to diy a dream home for under 4000$, this was a basic family home suited for 3 or so people. Now understanding that money has changed over the years and value has differentiated a bit, that is still amazing that a home of such size could be constructed for such an ideal price, where now most homes are well over 200,000$.

This space phenomenon has also applied to cities, this is actually one of the biggest concern in space management and excess. We see things like urban sprawl becoming an acceptable norm, which isn’t okay, expanding cities so far out ad making them ultimately impossible to navigate without a vehicle is wrong. Suburbs are probably one of the worst concepts that have ever been birthed. The idea of creating individual sub cities within a larger space is just absolutely stupid. They are expensive, inconvenient, bland and boring, they are far from the necessities and everyone there is obligated to own a vehicle because no public transportation system can service all that. I personally choose to live either in or within walking distance to downtown. Most downtown cores have been designed with sufficient necessities for everyone. There are shops, restaurants and markets that allow all the necessary things to be provided. People have adapted the mindset that all the larger commercial brands and so forth are the ideal and this matches with urban sprawl. If you create a suburb you also create a grocery store, banks, restaurants and some stores, it is inevitable.

So not only do our homes get bigger but our cities expand to fit this demand, we create inconvenient cities and we create problems for the general people by distancing things so much. We are really disabling people and this is making our cities harder to enjoy. Who enjoys a gridlocked, busy city where you need to drive half an hour to get anything? They aren’t idea, people are drawn towards places where walking is possible, when the space is friendly and people want to move about and explore your city becomes a much happier place to reside. There are a few cities that have worked to make their area more “walkable” basing your city on walk score can really improve infrastructure. For example the city of Portland, Oregon has thinner streets, bike rentals, city transportation in many forms, local shops, designers, restaurants, bars, entertainment and so forth. Many young graduates and professionals choose to move here, it is an appealing city. Where most of the world is spending the majority of their income on cars and vehicle transportation, Portland is spending that amount on local shops and entertainment. People are drawn to Portland for it’s unique design and the fact that walking is acceptable, it is easier to explore and much healthier overall. If cities were to redesign based on walkability instead of commercial interest and suburbs then maybe their city would be more desirable.

For example I live in a city that is fairly walkable, however recent expansion has built multiple suburbs and the city has lost some of its charm. I still live in the downtown core, and overall the downtown is fairly walkable, you can access a variety of local shops, food, and grocery within walking distance, realistically I could never leave downtown and live perfectly fine. However our walk score is actually a 93 out of 100, pretty decent, compared to Portland which is a 98, both are described as a walker’s paradise. The daily errands and everything you could absolutely need is all within 20 minutes of walking. But this walk score applies strictly to the downtown area, if you were to evaluate other areas of the city they would be very low scores. It is near impossible to walk around the other areas of the city.

My city undergoes road improvements every year, the city is congested with construction all through the warm months and all this money is going towards infrastructure, but we are ignoring the walk score. What if this money was redirected? We could instead work on narrowing the downtown streets to better support pedestrian traffic, many of our roads are 4 lanes wide and all streets support angled parking, which together takes up a lot of space. Widen the sidewalks, erect more attractions in the downtown area and make the space somewhere where people want to stay, not just walk by. Adding pavilions, benches, green space and more beautiful space would increase our score. To add desire to the area we should support pedestrians, we are more likely to receive business if someone walks by and sees it as opposed to driving. Foot traffic is the easiest to attract and the city should work to help these local businesses thrive. This requires that the downtown core space is attractive, friendly but this also means that the businesses need to work to create attractive store fronts and spaces that people want to visit. Overall I would say the city is beautiful, filled with old limestone buildings, large windows and vintage shops, but many of them are dying slowly due to the lack of foot traffic anymore. When there are malls and people who live at opposite ends of the city, it is hard to attract them to the downtown core and keep people here.

Instead of space, and expansion we need to work on the appeal of space, there is plenty of space downtown but it isn’t always friendly. Let’s stop worrying so much about suburbs and that space, and instead work on beautifying the local space. Help make our businesses thrive, our downtown bustle with excited people, make the space beautiful and attract all types of people. It isn’t hard to add some better benches, a pavilion or some extra green space, so what is stopping us. I look around the downtown space daily and I see so much room for improvement, as one of a small population who loves this city and wants to stay here, I would like to see some changes to make the city more attractive, and help keep people here. We have a constant rotation of 17 thousand people coming into our university and instead of just being here for school we should give them a reason to stay, to see that the city is a great place to be and allows for all the things that people want, we should try to attract this educated young generation to help the city. Like Portland, where people want to move there, many young educated folks move there out of choice because it is appealing. With 17 thousand people we should try and create space that is welcoming and invites a more long term commitment to the city, with an inflow of young minds think of the innovations and possibilities. The inflow of ideas and new thinking is great and could benefit the city.

Overall we need to rethink space and how it is being used, stop supporting expansion and instead support beautification. Making space friendlier not bigger, making things attractive instead of spaced out. I would much rather a space where I can easily walk around and do my daily tasks instead of needing to waste money on gas and transportation. Many people now would much rather walk, bike or use public transport to counter the high price of gas. If our cities support that then it will draw more people. This same rule goes for homes and living, instead of making things bigger let’s make them more beautiful, more attractive, and more functional. I would much rather live in a smaller space that has great looks, functionality and is close to everything. Great spaces are easier to sell than big spaces. If you can offer the benefits of downtown living in beautiful space then why wouldn’t you? Selling people on the fact that they won’t need a vehicle and are close to everything seems so much better than explaining how far they will have to commute or the distance they are from everything.

So together let’s start to rethink space, let’s start to really think about how much we are using and for what. Let’s work on creating beautiful space instead of large open space. It is my belief that beauty and functionality will easily attract more than large open concrete space. Let’s focus on walk score, the pedestrians and the locals. There is still profit in creating friendly space, because you will be attracting a new wealthy crowd of people who are willing to pay to be in such an area. By working on our appearance we are attracting the right kinds of crowds and making the city more beautiful instead of more busy. By working on our appearance we are creating an appealing space where people want to be, what city doesn’t want to be the “in” thing, be popular with the young crowd and be attractive to everyone? It isn’t hard, let’s start making the shift today.

Once again thanks for reading and I hope you picked up some useful concepts.
Have an amazing day and keep reading for more ideas on space, beauty, simplicity and functionality.
Thanks!