Two years ago we said our prayers, left our jobs and sailed from Maine down to the Bahamas, looking for adventure and fun. Unexpectedly, we fell in love with the smaller living space and simpler lifestyle that go along with sailing on a very tight budget. About 7 months later, with emptied pockets, we returned to New England and 'normal' life. But not really. We returned to the workforce, and the comforts brought by weekly paychecks, but the desire to live simpler and free never left.
Eventually we figured out how to bring the sailors lifestyle to the land and with the support of family and friends, built a Landyacht. Which is basically an old Fed-Ex truck, we converted to run off waste cooking oil and designed to comfortably house four adults and a dog while living off the grid. The Landyacht uses solar electricity, solar heated hot water, outdoor shower, 12 volt refrigerator, propane stove/oven and an infallible composting toilet, all of which we were lucky enough to learn about and build(except for the solar PV panels). Since we love plants and gardening we also built a towable greenhouse.
About half of the lumber, and all of the finest pieces, used was salvaged from the dump or donated. We have oak hardwood floors, maple framing, and pieces of mahogany, cedar, and even some Nordic Track, scattered throughout. The floor, walls and ceiling were all insulated with reclaimed or factory seconds, 2 inch thick foam board insulation. The windows, stove/oven, sink, batteries, solar panels, and many other odds 'n ends were purchased through craigslist. The cushions were made from cut-up, used foam mattress toppers and custom made covers. After a year of research, hard work, and trial and error, we managed to build a mobile home with very minimal construction or mechanical experience and a budget of about $10,000 (half of which was spent buying the old Fed-Ex truck).
On the road, we seek out farmers' markets, universities, and environmentally focused organizations. Here, we demonstrate how the sustainable mechanisms of the van work, and how living earth easy gives a rooted sense of self. In exchange we gain incredible insight into many interesting issues and extremely valued mentorship. We look forward to working with other organizations we meet along the way and offer the Landyacht and ourselves to help further their goals.
Our experiences and feelings are documented and shared for a broader audience and as self motivation to gather this data on sustainable living. We see this as a kind of science experiment and earnestly hope it will help others as much as ourselves, live a more earth friendly, and so far happier, life.
-The Living Earth Easy Tribe
For more details and photo's of the construction process and our journey check out our website at:
Howdy Reilly, welcome to permies! When I was very young my dad bought an old "stepvan" and converted it to a camper. We traveled all over colorado in that thing and made many fine memories.
Looks like you have a very nice home there! Good job.