Meet the Couple Who Quit Their Jobs and Took a Tiny House on the Road

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A couple of years ago, Jenna and Guillaume quit their jobs, built a tiny house on wheels, and are now traveling around North America to pursue their dream of becoming travel writers. Their journey caught our attention and our imaginations, and we had to hear more! Read on to hear the answers Guillaume Dutilh had to our most burning questions:

Guillaume and Jenna: tiny house, giant journey

Whose idea was the tiny travelling home and why?

Originally it was my idea but Jenna was on board right away. We were both unsatisfied with our current careers and lifestyles. She was an executive assistant for a movie studio and I was a motorcycle engineer, but we wanted to be travel writers and photographers. That’s when we found out about tiny houses and decided it might be a good thing to try!

Who designed the house?

The house is originally designed by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. We purchased plans and a trailer from them, we customized the plans and design to our liking and built it from the “trailer up”!

tiny house big journey interior

What are the challenges with living in a tiny space?

There are many challenges but all of them are really opportunities. We don’t have a washer and dryer for example, but instead of looking at it as a challenge, we decided approach the issue differently. We now own fewer better clothes, most of them being wool. The advantage of wool is that it doesn’t retain odor nearly as much so you can wear the same t-shirt several times, unless you sweat in it or have a stain of course. That allows us to do less laundry, save lots of water and time and not need a complicated washer/drier system. We just use laundromats!

It could also be challenging to live in 125 square feet with someone else and a dog, but when we take a step back and realize all the things we’ve experienced thanks to this project, it becomes really tough to complain about little issues.

tiny house travel and lighthouse

What are the benefits to living in a tiny space?

We are a bit of an oddity in the tiny house world. Most people don’t travel with theirs so their main benefit is to save a whole lot of money and have a much less impactful lifestyle on the environment.

For our case, we have made some calculations and as of today, our impact, even with towing, is half the impact of the average American couple. Once we settle somewhere, it’ll become a tiny fraction of it. The monetary aspect is also a huge advantage for us. We don’t pay rent anymore, our rent is our fuel bill and it’s less than half the rent we used to pay in LA. That only helped us free ourselves from 9-to-5 jobs and focus on building this Tiny House Giant Journey project. With our fanbase now, our affiliate links, YouTube channel and the few workshops we hosts, we make enough income to sustain ourselves on the road. It’s less than half of what we used to make before, but we’re twice as happy and are able to save money too. That would be the main benefit for us, it allowed us to take control of our lives and focus on what makes us happier.

 

tiny house bedroom

You throw open houses at all your stops. What are some of the reactions like when you show strangers your home?

We try to host open houses everywhere we stop indeed, but it’s not always easy. They have become more and more popular. We used to get 30 people show up, which was manageable, now we’ve had up to 600 — depending on how much the event is advertised!

People usually love the house and the project. I think they get it, we’re talking about “home” and living a better life. That usually resonates with them. As a matter of fact, it’s been eye-opening to see that no matter who you are, how much money you make, what your religious or political beliefs are or what the color of your skin is, people tend to react the same way and genuinely smile. That’s been one of the most amazing experiences we’ve had.

On a side note, it was amusing when a little eight year old girl was walking up our staircase to visit the house and stopped asking “Are you guys ok? Do you need money? I can ask my parents if you need help.” It was so cute, but we’re ok, thanks!

Would you recommend a tiny house lifestyle?

That’s a tough question. It’s definitely not for everyone. Our 125 square feet is a bit on the extreme side, especially compared to the average 2,300 square foot American house. But this lifestyle seems to work very nicely with people who want more time, more savings and are able to focus on those benefits vs. the challenges.

Is throwing a house party/dinner party out of the question?

Ha, no! Though the most we’ve had for dinner was six and we had to cook something that you could eat in bowls (our table is pretty thin). We’ve had up to eight or nine for drinks and chatting. We probably couldn’t do much more than six guests for movie night, though we can put our projector and the screen outside! And we could argue that one of our open houses was a “party”… with 600 guests!

The bottom line is that you make choices and decisions. People love the idea of entertaining, and so do we. But we didn’t think that heating, maintaining, cleaning and paying for a room that could fit a dinner for 15 would be worth it. If it comes to it, we’ll just have dinner at a restaurant, which means no dishes!

All photos courtesy Guillaume Dutil. You can follow Guillaume and Jenna's journey on their blog, Tiny House Giant Journey!

 

 

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