Working for Change, Why Change

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.

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Creating Sustainable Mobile Homes

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!

Getting Over The Excess Barrier

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!

Some Thoughts on Simplicity

I talk about the simple life a lot, it is something I am also trying to allow to consume my life because the simple life is in my mind the easier and happier life.
Some famous quotes to inspire you on simplicity!

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication ~ Leonardo DaVinci

If you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it yourself ~ Albert Einstein

Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated ~ Confucius

The greatest step towards a life of simplicity is to learn to let go ~ Steve Maraboli

It is not the daily increase, but the daily decrease, hack away at the inessentials ~ Bruce Lee

Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful ~ John Maeda

These are just some nice thoughts, that the way we are living with our excess and material possessions isn’t the best way.

5 Minutes a Day to a Better, Happier You

I stumbled across a beautiful product the other day and the greatest part is the product isn’t exactly something you need to buy, sure you can if you want to support the creator. However the creator also offers the entire contents of his product in a pdf and says you could simply jot down the same steps on a piece of a paper and go about it that way! It is a journal filled with tips and steps to self improvement and positive life. The journal section offers a quick page that allows for 5 minutes a day that in hopes will help you be happier, more productive and more positive about your life. Give it a look here http://www.fiveminutejournal.com
Or look through the PDF here http://issuu.com/fiveminutejournal/docs/five-minute-journal?e=7883150/2480158