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.

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!

The Bold Approach to Self Sustainability

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!

My Design Process – 3 Basic Steps to use in Life

Today I would really like to share with you how I work, my process and how I come up with my work. Now to clarify I am not a professional designer, I’m not contracted or working with anyone, I simply enjoy designing and work on it in my personal time. However I have found my process to work very effectively and I figure maybe this can apply to many other things in life. Once broken down I realize that there are many very basic ideas behind it.

So I want to go through my process, and how I come up with anything. I want to start with just what exactly I produce and where I get the idea that I have a reason to share this. I would self entail as an industrial designer, I mainly started creating out of need, then it became something I enjoyed and now I design anything from furniture to small items and space saving solutions. My obsession is with small spaces and efficiency in the home and I found that this was possible in design. I have found that from drawings to small scale mock ups and all the way to full scale models, design has opened a lot of creative outlets for me.

My first step is inspiration, I would hate to start any project without some actual inspiration. I start with an idea, my idea, I take whatever I need or want to create and keep that idea. Next I try and figure out what my idea is relevant to, I search for a while to find if there are any similar ideas and use those as guides to what I should do next. If the idea is a new concept, then I let whatever inspiration exists in my head and I find a way to make it a physical thing. Point being whether your idea exists or if it is brand new there are so many possibilities for it. Finding things that are relevant and can help boost your idea is beneficial. With new ideas you cannot give up on them no matter how crazy they can seem, you need to carry them out and finish them off.

Next is refining, I believe that I am constantly changing the original thought, improving, modifying, refining. This is the only way I can take any idea down to what it really needs to be instead of all the excess. Trying to create minimalism becomes a factor even in my designs. Most ideas have gone through multiple drafts before they become something I will even consider building, and once it is decided that they can be built they go through even more refinement until they are nothing but the bare essentials. So with every idea we need to refine and continue to work it through to get to a better result. Taking the excess out of an idea and bringing it down to it’s pure essence and nothing else.

Once we get through the basic phases we need to get to the point of actual application and putting it into use. We need to then take our ideas and make them a reality or otherwise you become all talk. Wouldn’t you rather accomplish something or at least try then just doing nothing about it? Putting our ideas into action is the biggest step that needs to be taken, whether it be art, concepts or even life changes. We all talk a lot however it is rare that we do anything that allows us to actually accomplish our goals. The main successful people in life have all taken their ideas and gone through these steps to achieve their goals. They have instead taken the action to take their ideas and implement them. They had such a belief that they went through all of the steps to manage to realize their abilities.

I started this exact process with the hope that maybe I could start realizing my ideas. I was tired of just having ideas. So I took my plans and started making them. Turning my ideas into real objects, it means I am finally realizing my ideas. Also for my field having a portfolio full of ideas and real world creations is far better than just drawings.
Anyways I hope you all have an amazing day! Happy Friday! I hope these 3 steps proved insightful if not helpful, thanks for reading!