For many of younger Millennial generation, having a place to call one's own -- whether it's through renting or owning -- ranks high on their list of priorities. But in the current economic climate and with rising rents and high house prices, many of this new generation are shucking convention and getting creative on the path toward a debt-free life by building tiny homes, engaging in mobile living, and essentially re-thinking what it means to live a full and happy life.
From our friends over at Living Big in A Tiny House comes this inspiring story of New Zealander Lily Kemp, who gives a tour of her colourful, modified pop-up caravan home, which she has parked on a backyard that she rents for NZD $50 (USD $37) per month.
Aiming to bypass the skyrocketing rents of Auckland, while still enjoying easy access to all the benefits of the city, Lily decided to downsize, move out of an expensive, rented apartment and remodel an old pop-up tent trailer she purchased off Trade Me, a site similar to eBay, for NZD $1,000 (USD $743), which she fixed up for an extra USD $371, replacing the rotting floor boards.
She explains that now, she is able to pay a quarter of what her roommates (living in the house) pay. Thanks to the money she saves and her choice to live light in a caravan, she is able to fold and move her home with her small car to travel, take off work for a couple of months in the summer, or easily go south of the country to work or north to visit family.
Kemp's conscious choices to really pare down her needs hasn't meant that she had to live without colour: her decorations are bright and fresh, and she grows houseplants inside to make it even more "lived-in." There's a galley kitchen, an upholstered banquette with storage underneath, and a large bed that transforms into a seated dining area. All her electrical needs (lights, fan, phone-charging) are met with a single solar panel that she got used online for a one-time cost of NZD $61. Her stove and refrigerator run with gas, and of course, with a pop-up caravan she has use the bathroom inside the house, but it's clear that Kemp's creativity to live a full life, free of the burdens of the rent trap, shines through.
Kemp plans to winterize her caravan next by replacing the canvas. In finding alternatives to the mainstream expectations of workaholism, mortgage, big house and zombie consumerism, we're excited to see how individuals like Lily are determining their own path toward more financial freedom and living a fuller life. More over at Living Big in A Tiny House.