But… Where Are You Actually Going to Live?

This excellent question is one we have been asked by a few people, both through the internets and in real life. The answer, at the moment, is “we don’t know”. We didn’t just start this project with no idea of where to go- we had a spot lined up on a small farm, but that isn’t happening right now (though possibly in the spring).

One of the awesome things about the truck house is that we can go anywhere. We can stay in different towns every week if we want. We can take a ferry to France or Spain or Holland and have, quite literally, all the comforts of home. We’ve even talked about putting it on a ship and driving around the US.

All of these dreams are awesome things we’d love to do, but they aren’t why we are building this.
What we hoped for when we hatched this plan was to rent a little field, or corner of a field, or some woodland. Somewhere we could put our little home, get some chickens, plant a garden, be self sufficientish, live frugally and save for our next move.

That is still our dream, but is turning out not quite as easy as we’d hoped. There are a lot of laws in England, quite rightly, to protect the beautiful countryside. What this means in practice is that, even in something as demonstrably portable and low impact as a truck, you can’t just buy land and go live on it. There are various loopholes you can jump through, but none of them are quick options (the one we have our eye on involves living “temporarily” on land for four years while you build a barn, then demonstrating that you make most of your income from agriculture and THEN applying for permission to build a house). Hence why we are hoping to rent land on a farm that is already established and has people living on it.

Our current action plan is asking everyone we meet if they know any spots, and occasionally knocking on farmhouse doors. We have met some lovely people, but so far haven’t found a place for our little family.  I am confident the right place is out there and we will find it if we persevere and keep asking.

So, dear reader, do you know someone with a bit of space? Do you have any thoughts of how we should be looking? We are thankful for any and all ideas!

Jess, Henry and Annabel (+Keffie)

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Shifting Priorities

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We have finally stayed in the truck as a family!  It is a lot like camping at the moment, as we have no cooker or running water (though we do have an oven, warm bed, lights, and drainage).  Our first night was in a beautiful and peaceful little spot by the seafront in Brighton.  There are always vehicles parked there and it was a no-brainer for where we wanted to spend our first night.  All of our neighbours were really friendly and we went to the Ginger Pig to treat ourselves to an outstanding steak to celebrate being reunited in the truck.

We found that our priorities completely shifted in a week of living in the space.  Part of the reason is that the weather went from about twenty degrees to three, and also just because living somewhere lets you really get a feel for how you are going to use it.  For example, a back door shot up the priorities list, quickly overtaking a cooker and hot water.  Rolling up the shutter and lowering the tailgate every time we wanted to come in or out was not very realistic, and Henry finished our beautiful back wall and door today.  Also climbing the charts is a wood burner, which will be installed very soon.

One of the really awesome things about doing the build ourselves is the ability to do this- if we had hired someone to build this truck for us we would have had to decided what we wanted in advance, and waited for it all to be done.  It is great to be able to actually live in and use the space, before thinking “okay, we need a plug socket here, and another window there might be nice, and we probably need to think about doing this before that”.  It also means we are able to consider child proofing as we’re building, rather than running around trying to make safe everything in an old house.

It is a process that takes time, but is coming along.  I must just point out again because I’m so in awe of him that Henry is doing all of this himself.  I apologize for the lack of posts recently, I didn’t take my computer on our little jaunt, or my camera, but will be making sure I have both in the future!