Tiny Home Tours

The Rising Tide of Tiny Home Living: Insights from Tiny Home Tours Founder Chris Penn

January 25, 2024 Season 3 Episode 20
Tiny Home Tours
The Rising Tide of Tiny Home Living: Insights from Tiny Home Tours Founder Chris Penn
Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode Ayana sits down with Tiny Home Tours Founder Chris Penn. Chris shares the evolution of his nomadic journey over the past 14 years, as well as insights around tiny living as a whole. Chris and Ayana discuss the changing demographics and commercialization of nomadic living, the potential impact of artificial intelligence on remote work, and future prospects for the nomad community. As a bonus for listeners, Chris even shares one of his wackiest stories from life on the road!

To follow Chris's journey visit his Instagram @theoffgridskoolie, or his Facebook page @Chris Travels.

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Intro: Welcome back to the Tiny Home Tourist Podcast. The tiny house made me feel in my body this thing that I think I always understood, which is that there are no rules, like you're literally living in the moment. I know it's a cliches saying, but living this lifestyle consistently puts me in that mindset.

It's about keeping all of the things that matter to you and letting everything else go. I've been scared a lot of times. But I just, I jump anyways I guess. You have to jump. Join us each week as we share stories, wisdom, and practical tips from those who choose to have less and live more.

Ayana: Hey, everyone. This is Ayana. I'm back with another episode of the Tiny [00:01:00] Home Tours podcast. Today we have a very special guest. It's our founder, Chris Penn. We're going to get into his nomadic story, his journey, all the time he's spent on the road, all the good stuff. So thanks, Chris, for taking the time today.

Chris: Yeah, and thanks for having me. 

Ayana: Absolutely. So we've been doing this new season starting with two truths and a lie from all of our guests. So I'm very intrigued to hear what your two truths and one lie are. 

Chris: Alright, I've been on the road for, or been doing the nomadic life for 14 years. I've lived in every continent besides Antarctica, and I once lost my code for 20 Bitcoin, and it's lost forever.

Ayana: Oh, I really hope that last one is the lie. Um, but every continent besides Antarctica, like, living? 

Chris: Yeah, like not, not just [00:02:00] traveling, but like staying there when I say live, like we're talking like three weeks to a month. Okay. 

Ayana: All right. I'm just going to go with the one that I hope is the lie and say that you did not lose a code for 20 Bitcoin.

Chris: I did not. I did not. I have something similar though. I bought a lens. With the money that my friend was telling me to buy Bitcoin with and at the time Bitcoin was like 20 and I bought the lens for like 400. So anytime I see crypto markets going crazy or any of that. I'm just I Remember the cafe to where I met the Dukes of the secondhand lens and bought it and was so happy with myself And I'm just like if I could just go back and have a little conversation with myself at that point 

Ayana: Yep, if only we knew then what we know now about where crypto is headed.

Chris: I know, I know. But yes, thankfully that is a lie. I'd be so sad.[00:03:00] 

Ayana: Yeah, so 14 years on the road. Mm hmm. Tell us kind of your origin story. I feel like you always say like your comic book What's your, what's your phrase? Your comic book story number one or something? 

Chris: Your, your very first comic book. So that comes from Gary Vee actually.

It's like the, the idea of Spider Man comic book one, Wolverine comic book one. It's the introduction, it's the, it's the hero's journey's beginning. So that's, that's where I get that from. But so I, I should say it wasn't full time for some of the years beforehand because online income was, was not a thing.

So how it began was just working as a server in college in a RV and family was coming through. I'm from, I went to college in Terre Haute, Indiana, interstate 70 runs through there. There's a lot of restaurants in Terre Haute. I don't know how true this is, but apparently per [00:04:00] capita, it's the most restaurants and fast food restaurants per capita in the U.

S. Like, it's just like, that's, that's all that town is, pretty much. I'm, I'm not a, not a big fan, if you can't tell. But the, the RV family was traveling through, they stopped at TGI Fridays, I was chatting with them, and they were talking about just traveling, like they weren't full time, they were just on a trip.

And at that point, I had studied abroad two times So I had a taste for travel and I was wanting to see a little bit more of the U. S. I knew I couldn't afford an RV and I just thought it'd be cool to get like a soccer mom van and Build it out simply put the bed down as a futon because at that time when I was you know Studying abroad I was backpacking so I was staying in hostels I had my backpack and that was it so I knew that if I just had a place to sleep and a place to store food.

I was gonna be golden. So I just, like, it pretty much dawned on me. I, I remember distinctly looking out at the parking lot. It was summer. And, just looking at my car [00:05:00] out there, and just thinking about how cool it'd be to actually have a rig out there. Like, just a van, the wheels started spinning, this was like 2007, 2008 ish, somewhere around there, yeah.

2007, 2008 ish. And the wheels just kind of kept Rolling from there, I ended up selling the car that I had, took all my graduation money, and two weeks before I graduated college, I bought a van off Ebay. A 1995 Ford Windsor with 180, 000 miles on it, and met them in Indianapolis, picked it up, and Converted it and started from there.

Ayana: That's so cool. It sounds like that family that you met was kind of like the portal of possibility. I feel like all of us have one of those. Like, we meet somebody who's doing something and then for whatever reason, it just sticks in our brain of like, that's where I'm headed. That's what I should be doing.[00:06:00] 

Chris: Yeah, I mean it's more along the, at least for me, the way I look at it is You're just in a dark room, like there's millions of rooms out there, and until somebody turns the light on to actually see what the room looks like, but you can look at 990, 000 of those rooms, and it's just like that's not really my thing, no, not really, but that one that kind of sparks a little bit of light then you turn that light on and then you get to discover what's what's in the room and Then all of a sudden you realize there's other doors in that room that just continuously go and go and go so it was more of just shining a light on the possibility of I Guess it wasn't the RV thing at that time Like I knew I couldn't afford it the making dollars a day as a server was not gonna cut it for an RV but it was more of My own room opened.

It was like, oh, I don't have to do it their way. I can do it my own way. So yeah, that, that family was definitely a a catalyst and I remember what table they were in. I don't remember what [00:07:00] they looked like, but I remember standing there at TGI Fridays and them talking about it, and it was just like, okay that's, that's what I'm gonna do.

Ayana: Yeah. I know like listening to some of the other podcasts that you've hosted, I know that it's like. not a new thing for you to decide that life is going to look differently. Like, turn the light on in your own room kind of thing. Like, this has been a thing for you since you were a little kid, right?

Like, I'm going to live in the woods with my dog and not pay rent. Where does that come from for you? Have you been able to, like, chase down the origin of that streak that says, like, I'm doing this my way?

Chris: It might be a little dark, but just my family situation growing up. Circumstances that have happened have put me in the mindset that the, the world is a lit house. People are in there, they're eating dinner, they're playing video games, they're playing board games, and I'm on the [00:08:00] outside and it's dark outside. So with a window. You can't see out like, and typically when you're, you know, in your house, lights are on, you're not even looking outside.

You're not even trying to look outside and I'm on the outside looking in. So ever since I was a little kid, I've always felt as though I'm looking in on people that people can't see me. So again, like that, if we use the metaphor of the room, like I've realized that I don't have to be part of that particular minutiae of things that people are doing, there's a whole world outside of that house that is open to me, that are outside of the typical rules and regulations that people within the house are living.

If that metaphor makes sense. 

Ayana: Yeah, no, it makes a lot of sense and thank you for sharing, you know, I'm sure it's not always easy to think about the things that happen in our lives that create different perspective [00:09:00] for us. At the same time, there's so much value in the perspective that's created, and it's it's cool to hear about the discovery of your own world outside, instead of feeling like you're on the outside of something, you're now just in the center creating something.

Chris: Yeah, I think I mean, I, I really don't mind sharing it cause yeah, it might be difficult, but I think that's where a lot of possibility lies within people because a lot of times it's, it's much easier to kind of shun that and not think about it. But if you're able to not necessarily harness it and use it for energy, but just if you're able to take a step back and look at it objectively, And see what that lesson has taught you, because it's already happened.

You can't, you can't change it. And by not acknowledging it, you're just giving it power. It's just something to be harnessed and [00:10:00] realized. And just to use the best way that you can. 

Ayana: Yeah, for sure. So 14 years on the road. I came into van life at a very different time. I was like, you know, a product of the pandemic van life boom, essentially we had bought the bus in 2018.

So it was kind of on like the, the beginning of the, of the boom, I would say, but 14 years on the road, you have to have seen like a lot of growth and change and yeah, just things shifting in the community. What has that been like for you? What have you noticed? What has changed the most?

Chris: There's, I guess to answer that question, I'll just do a Before and after and let, let, let the audience decide and I'll pick different aspects as I go.

So when When I first got on the [00:11:00] road, there was definitely very little to no online information. For example, the very first night I was so excited to get on the road. I forgot to bring my blankets and pillows. Like I was just so stoked. I was ready to get on the road with my Husky Searcy. And I ended up having to go to Walmart.

I was checking out and I asked them where people camp around there. Cause I thought I was going to do RV parks and they were like, you can, you know, you can just stay in the parking lot. Right. So that, that, that was like my very, just thrown in. Thrown into the world, born into fire, getting on the road.

There was no real information out there, and there were a couple people, Jeff the Canuck, Kyle Pounds, some guys out there that were just like making very rudimentary videos, and they were huge inspiration for me. So we're now It is very much a leverage for people to [00:12:00] live a life of freedom in terms of the online content.

I've seen that drastically change, whether it be the platforms themselves like YouTube Partner Program. Was massively different. Anybody listening to this, they probably are in the world and they have their favorite YouTuber that's living on the road. Which I think is absolutely fantastic. The opportunity for people to do what they love and be on the road and travel is really amazing.

I start with that because it is like the commercialization is just It happens with, with everything and it's definitely got to that point, but I don't belittle it at all. I think, I think it's great that people are able to do it. Another change is just the, the demographic. When I [00:13:00] first got on the road, I was always the youngest person.

wherever I was at. Because it was, you know, your typical RV years, retire, retirement age, you know, that are doing it full time and You know, a lot of them, a lot of those people took me under the wing and showed me the ropes and different, different aspects of the lifestyle, but definitely a big change in the demographic of people out there, a lot of younger people.

And, you know, obviously with COVID, we've seen the massive boom of online work and the amount of people interested in that or able to fulfill that dream of living on the road and working remotely. So I would say the demographic of people on the road now has changed. It's almost flip flopped. You know, I think there's a lot more younger people on the road maybe more so than than older people now.

Granted, I'm starting to get to that older mark. And then the the commercialization for sure, like that's been something [00:14:00] that I kind of anticipated, but it went above and beyond, I think, after, after COVID.

Ayana: Yeah, it's hard for me to imagine van life without that piece, because like I said, I kind of hit it right at that, like, when the wave was cresting and everyone was getting into it.

And I can imagine it being like a much more wild experience and a much more solitary experience 14 years ago. 

Chris: Yeah, yeah, I would, I would say so like I said, I wasn't full time on the road because the online income wasn't there. So I would stop and work at different places, whether that be spring break, whether that be a restaurant in Arizona, like I was just, I'd work for six months, but I just work every day.

I could take up like pickup shifts, whatever I could to make money to get on the road. So that actually was. I spent with people because you're living and working in that environment and you're some dude living in your rig and [00:15:00] people are like, what's, what's this guy up to? You know? So people want to hang out and go travel with you and do, do all this stuff.

But yeah, when I was actually on the road, it was fairly solitary. But I really didn't mind it being a little bit of an introvert myself. It was nice recharge time, getting out on the road. Just kind of hiking, backcountry stuff, doing all that, and then going to town every once in a while. But it was a nice balance.

I'd get my social time, especially because I worked in the service industry. So you're talking to people every day, you know, you're socializing. And then after about six months of that, I was ready for about four months. Out in the middle of nowhere. 

Ayana: Nice. I appreciate you not assigning value judgment to any of this, right?

And I see that like, it's the before and the after. It's the difference between then and now, but it's not like a good or bad or a like, mourning the loss of how things have shifted and changed because change is just a part of life and reality. Is there anything [00:16:00] that you're like, a little bit bummed about?

Is there anything that you're like, I wish that aspect of van life or of being on the road had been left untouched, I guess? 

Chris: Not really. The only thing, and this is just selfish and personal, but it's like a 2 3 percent thing. Like, it's such a minute thing to how awesome I think it is people are able to live on the road and work remotely and just how it's shifted.

Because there's two points with that. The only thing that I miss, and it's absolutely selfish, is I felt like I was doing something unique. Like, it was cool to be the one dude in a grocery store parking lot, stealth camping. You know, like, there was nobody Else that I saw out there as a stealth fan, you know, I was like, okay I'm gonna be sneaky down here and like You know It felt like I was in a clubhouse that nobody knew about and not [00:17:00] like a country club clubhouse But it was like I had my pillow fort out in the world and nobody else knew about it Like I was doing this thing to where now you can't like if you have a solar panel on your roof Society knows and again, that's that's absolutely selfish, you know, but overall I do miss that but again, it is such a Like, if I had to trade that for the amount of people being able to live this lifestyle and do it, it's not even close.

And like, with Tiny Home Tours, I mean, it's like There's, there's multiple facets to it, but showing people that it's possible and how awesome it is. Cause again, if we go back to the metaphor of the dark room, it's like, I want to, I want to at least put a little bit of out into the world of that light switch.

It goes on for people to realize it, you know, the people viewing it, and then also give the people that we feature giving them the opportunity to make money on the road and live this lifestyle because. While I was in my little tree fort, I really did want to [00:18:00] exp Like, I wanted to expand it and show people how awesome it was, because it's like an absolute dream to be born at this time to be able to do that.

And as many people that want to do it, it's not for everybody obviously, but as many people that want to do it, any person that we can just get over that line is the goal. So, that's just a small, like, a long way of saying, I do miss that a little bit, but the upside of the opposite of it is so much greater.

Ayana: Yeah, and I think I'm constantly surprised at, because the community has grown so much, I think it's easy for me to fall into the place of like, oh, what we're doing isn't that unique. Because it doesn't feel that unique, we're around people who are doing the exact same thing almost all of the time, but then as soon as I step a little bit outside of the bubble or talk to like, the one on two lives.

And wherever, and tell her about the life, it's like you can see [00:19:00] that, that light bulb go off. You can see that you're shining light on a part of, of life that hadn't been considered before. And so I think no matter, like the pond that we're swimming in is getting bigger. And so it makes it feel like it's the whole ocean, but then you remember like, oh no, there's so many folks out there who are still like delighted and intrigued and stoked to hear about.

The pillow fort, even though now it's like a pillow 

Chris: mansion. Yeah. Yeah, it, it does get a bit bigger, but the more people that are doing it, I think it's great COVID as, as you said, definitely was, was a massive boom. Pre COVID, I was just thinking about what that thing would have to be. For people to work remotely and get into the lifestyle, like it's something that I consistently thought about.

Obviously if I could wave my magic wand and COVID never happened and all the Terrible things that came from that. I would not trade it for [00:20:00] that, but that did happen. So I'm, I'm wondering, and you know, we talked about crypto. I was just thinking not too long ago. We had the, for those that don't know, there was a big push in crypto in 2017 and then again in 2020.

I'm wondering if there's going to be a second wave or if that was like the highest point. Of this lifestyle, you know, that's, that's, that's a whole nother conversation. 

Ayana: Well, it's funny because the next question that I had for you is where do you see it going? Like, okay, we've kind of taken stock of where the last 14 years has gotten us to van life.

But I do, it is interesting to think about like what, yeah, where do you see this all headed? 

Chris: Well, there's this new technology called AI. And I'm wondering if that's gonna be the cov, the next covid of the job market. You know what I mean? Like, and I have no [00:21:00] clue. I never try and make predictions 'cause I'm just a dummy living in a bus, you know, like, and I'll fully admit that.

So I have no idea. But I, I, I do wonder with AI and jobs and just. the Pong version that we're exposed to right now with AI and how powerful that is, and augmented reality coming up. I'm very curious about the next shift in the job market and what that looks like. And housing prices, like there's, there's a scaffolding being built for the nomad lifestyle and I never want people to be forced into it.

There, there is a dark underbelly of this lifestyle of people that are absolutely forced into it. Living in their vehicles, they get, you know, priced out of their neighborhood. I'd never want that to happen, but I think there's going to be an interesting balance. [00:22:00] a fascinating balance that's going to happen within the next four or five years with work and mobile work and AI and housing prices that could lead to something very interesting and In the nomad community.

Ayana: Do you think that right now the community is still growing or do you think, like, do you think more and more people are still getting on the road? 

Chris: I think that COVID allowed a lot of people to try it that have been curious about it. I, it's almost like one, one plane has already taken off. People that wanted to do it, the opportunity was there.

They were working remotely. Like, there was a big influx of those curious. I think there is a bit of a reprieve right now, because you might know people, I know people that built a rig, they tried it, and [00:23:00] now they're off the road, they're selling their rig. 

Ayana: Okay, so a little bit of a reprieve right now, potentially, from influx, but you think there's like another wave coming?

Chris: If I If I'm backed into a corner and have to give an answer, yes, I do. I think, like I said, AI, remote work, people being phased out. people being priced out. I think the, there's, there's a there's an interesting push against, I say push. I would say a desire for work life balance, for meaningful work or lifestyle minimalism.

I think, again, I'm just seeing all these little pieces of scaffolding being built up for this. [00:24:00] So I don't know exactly what's going to happen. I just think there's a lot of aspects that are coming together that are going to be an inflection point. That'll be very intriguing for, for this, this community and people that are either forced into it or people that are curious about it.

I think that the people that could jump off have. Now we're going to see when other factors are thrown in, how many people are going to do it, because that, all those factors aside, we're not even factoring in inflation in a, in a possible recession as well. So, I, I, I think it's going to be interesting. I'm, I'm very, I'm, I'm personally glad I have my 40 foot raised roof bus.

Ayana: Yeah, I'm glad that we're in the position that we're into and my hope is that we figure out a way as a community to continue to have [00:25:00] access to all of these places because that's the other factor that I think we've seen over the last two or three years with increased numbers There's increased usage and people who live around the places that we hang out the most are getting grumpy about it And there's trash being left there.

And so it'll be interesting to see over the next Three years how we negotiate and navigate more more and more people doing this and figuring out a way to Maintain access to all the places that we've called home.

Chris: Do you do you listen to Joe Rogan at all? I don't so he Was talking about people in different clubs and groups when there's no barrier to entry You're gonna get assholes.

So out of a hundred people one person's just gonna be an asshole And, that's kind of what we're seeing with the community cause I was just walking the dogs over here and looks like somebody gutted an RV and just left it on the ground over there. There's a [00:26:00] ravine over there, just a bunch of garbage. Like, chairs, there's a wheelbarrow down there, like, there's always gonna be assholes so yes, I I absolutely agree. As more and more people get into it. It's almost like everybody else has a responsibility to pick up the slack and clean up and try and mend what the assholes do. Mm hmm. 

Ayana: Yeah, and I am wondering, this is just me going on another rant, but it does feel like people today are struggling more, whether it's like, financially, with inflation.

Whatever the factors are that are contributing to people having a harder time, it feels like people are having a harder time right now than they were two years ago. People don't, don't seem as, like, stable, happy, taken care of, and whether it's, you know, just Climate change, or political turmoil, [00:27:00] or inflation, or AI, all of those factors.

I think there's this interesting opportunity for us as a community. We're kind of like this microcosm of the bigger society to figure out how are we going to navigate all of the change that's headed our way together and how are we going to do it in a graceful way that, that helps everybody. That like keeps us all afloat and buoys us instead of I don't, I don't want to get dark here, but like, instead of turning on each other and starting to be shitty to each other.

Chris: Yeah, that's, that's very true. The person I was in 2019 versus the person I am right now is radically different.

And again, I don't know if this is a societal thing or me personally, but yeah. Since 2020, things have definitely changed. Obviously, I mean, any span of anybody's life for years, people are going to change. Hopefully. But,

I like the [00:28:00] sentiment of what you said. But what I've learned is you can't change people. And the only thing you can do is concentrate and invest In those that you can trust. The amount of people you, you can't trust. Like I'm looking at it more as the people within my sphere that are good and solid.

Absolutely. I'll buoy them 100 percent raise ships, but I'm like people outside of that. It's, it's like just, just giving people opportunities and trying and hoping for the best has got me, I don't want to say nowhere. It's got me negative, you know, I'm moving backwards. So I, I, I'm hoping that maybe, maybe this community is that, that circle.

And then we, [00:29:00] we can do it together, if I'm trying to be a little optimistic here. But, goodness. I, I, I agree with what, what you're saying. But, I'm, I'm hoping that we can pull it together. and get something sorted because if we do lose BLM public land there's a lot of people out there that can't afford a 20, 000 down payment on 100, 000 piece of land that May or may not have water just for a safe spot to park. So what are we going to do with all that?

Ayana: At least we're getting it all figured out here, Chris. 

Chris: Yeah. Saving the world. 

Ayana: Okay. Tell us what, what you find most nomadically these days. Like what is, what is really kind of igniting your soul? 

Chris: Well, more recently, I would, I mean, shout out to my partner, [00:30:00] Linnea, of Linnea and Akela fame. You can see Akela behind me.

She's in South America. Just what she's been able to do with going through some stuff in her life, and then deciding that she was going to go after the nomad lifestyle, record it, create, like, become a videographer, build her own rig, Create a following, save money, buy land, take a risk, drill a well for thousands upon thousands of thousands of dollars, hit water, and then have land with a well, and then just bop off to another country for a little bit and explore.

Like, I think just seeing what, what she's doing is like, reminding me of what it felt like when I first got on the road. So yeah, I, I would say overall, What's inspired me recently, I'd [00:31:00] say my partner, Linnea. She's been she's been doing some, some amazing things. And it's just a reminder of, of this lifestyle, what opportunities it affords because I've also met Elsa, Ray, and Baron.

They're building an off grid awesome house. They're about three quarters of the way done and they're living in it now and seeing their property and what they've done. They were able to afford that because they lived on the road and built a social media. Again, the commercialization of tiny home living.

No judgment at all because they're, they're out there getting after it. And it afforded them property that's off grid. They have a beautiful home now. And they were just saving money living on the road. So the lifestyle was the, was the ability that got them out of the rat race, rat race. To live the way they wanted to, save money, and fulfill their [00:32:00] dreams.

So, I, I would, yeah, I would say Linnea and Elsa Rae and Baron has got me inspired to see the possibility that the bigger, long term goals people are achieving. It's been good for me to see because, again, different person from 19 to 23, now 24. And It gives a little bit of light and hope, I would say.

Ayana: Yeah, is that kind of your dream, ultimately? Is a chunk of land in an off grid place a longer term dream for you as well? 

Chris: I don't think so. With, with Tidying Home Tours, I want to do that just as a spot for people on the team to go to, but I have no desire of staying there long term. I've, again, this might be the inside.

The house, outside looking in. I took a flight to Vegas with my grandparents when I was 14. [00:33:00] And the one thing, well there's two things that happened. On takeoff, I was still, I was about to start college at Indiana State. It has an amazing pilot's program. I was like, maybe I'll be a pilot. And the second I thought that, on takeoff, the wing hit.

Like I was looking at the wing. And a gust of wind hit and a white, like it was so strong, a white, you, you could see the wind, you know, when something is going super fast and the plane tilted and I was like, okay, I won't be a pilot. But, but another thing that happened was during the flight, I was looking down and it was again, first flight, I was absolutely loving it.

It was the coolest experience. Little farm boy from Indiana. I was just looking at all these towns and I saw all these lights and I was just thinking each one of those lights is a, I mean, it might have been a traffic light, but I was looking at them as houses. I was like, that's somebody's life and they're going to be there and they're just going to rotate in and out of that house.

And maybe they might move, maybe they might not, but they're going to spend time there. And I was just like, I want nothing to do with that. Like. [00:34:00] That, like, I'm thinking about it now, and I'm getting the feeling in my stomach. Like, I don't want to necessarily have one solid spot. And, you know, if things continue to go well with Linnea, we'll be sharing that for a very long time.

You know, I'd like to spend the rest of my days with her. So, we'll have that, but that'll always be her thing. I don't really feel the desire to experience that or have that. If I'm able to provide that for other people, That feels better for me than, than actually owning it myself. I really have no desire for that.


Ayana: yeah. What do you find most difficult about nomad life these days? And how has that changed over the time that you've been on the road? 

Chris: I mean there, if I'm being completely honest, there's nothing that's difficult. I think the only thing that's changed, and the older I get the more [00:35:00] comfortable I am with just being like, this is how I am, like, and just being honest with it, is In the earlier days, I would force myself to be at events and talk to people.

I am a massive introvert. Like as we speak right now, like we're just talking before I'm about a mile and a half away from the event. I went there yesterday and chatted with people. Some people stopped by and I was absolutely exhausted. When, when I got back, like I almost fell asleep, but I didn't want to cause I wanted to go to bed later.

Like when I take naps, I can't sleep. So at first I would force myself to go to events and talk with people and that was kind of rough on me. Like I would have to spend two weeks and I would just turn my phone off. Like, you know, Tiny Room Tours time, Allison Would like know to email me like I'm just going off grid like I'll get back to you when when it when I can [00:36:00] So that that was something that was difficult at the beginning now I'll show up hang out for a little bit once I start getting sleepy.

I'm like, okay. Peace guys. I'm I'm gonna go back out and Recharge my batteries. So that's that's the only thing it's changed for me Like the the lifestyle itself like I was looking around the rig trying to think of something that's difficult and it's like I have Absolutely everything I need right here.

Yeah. Like, I'm, I'm happy, I'm content. Pups are here. It's, it's, it's a dream lifestyle for me, for sure. 

Ayana: Yeah, that's awesome. What a cool place to be to look around at the life that you've built and say, like, I'm completely satisfied with this. I don't think that's an experience that many people get to have in their lives, so.

That's pretty sweet. Yeah, 

Chris: it's it's it's a blessing for sure. Yeah, I don't take it lightly. 

Ayana: So something that. I've definitely experienced in interviewing people, and you've talked about on the podcast before, [00:37:00] too, is this idea of, like, people taking the leap into this lifestyle.

And it does seem like we were talking about earlier, like, the people who wanted to and could jump have jumped. And then I feel like there is another group of people who are, like, kind of tiptoeing to the edge a little bit and, like, looking off. What do you think it is that keeps people Assuming that all of the circumstances line up, right?

Like Assuming you, you know, could have some sort of remote work that you do have a little bit of savings to buy a rig or have someone build a rig, like assuming that those things are lined up, what do you think keeps people from jumping in?

Chris: Well, I'll turn the question back to you. So you're hosting the podcast?

Maybe. [00:38:00] So we at tiny home tours. are doing a physical challenge every quarter. And we have a myriad of things that we do. We run, we do handstands, we do planks, we do push ups, and it's just something fun, gets us in shape, little competition. So Ayana, everybody knows that it's good to run and work out and get into shape.

Why didn't you participate? You're lighting me up 

Ayana: right now, Chris! You're lighting me 

Chris: up! You're blowing my shit 

Ayana: up right now. 

Chris: No, like, like, it's a legitimate question. Like, you know that it might be good for you, but you don't do it. 

Ayana: I did throw my back out on Thanksgiving and couldn't run for a while. So those were my biggest excuses.[00:39:00] 

Chris: It's like, it's a very valid reason if you're back going out. I've had back issues. I couldn't put my socks on in the morning. Like, it was like, absolutely terrible. I totally get that. But, It is still a reason not to do something. Yeah. And for whatever reason in their life, maybe they're a caregiver, maybe their job won't go remote, there is something in their way that is stopping them from doing it.

It could be judgment from friends, it could be fear from taking the leap. I think that's, that might be getting smaller and smaller with the amount of people posting and everything. Yeah. But everybody, you can always find a reason not to do something. And whether it be big or small, being a caregiver is not a small thing.

Your job, not going remote and having to find another job to do that to, to go remote. It's not, it's not a small thing. It's a big leap. And I think that for whatever hurdle is in front of [00:40:00] them, it's too big right now. And I think what we saw with COVID is those walls, those self imposed reasons why they can't do something.

was absolutely shattered. And what I've learned is typically for humans to change, people in general to change, there has to be a catalyst. There has to be something that forces them into it. You know, it's the direct feedback loop. It's just, just the way we're wired. So, the pain of whatever is holding them back has not been great enough for them to take the leap yet.

That's, that's what I think it is. 

Ayana: Hmm. What advice, I know we always ask everybody what advice they have for people who are interested in the lifestyle. And in general, most people say some iteration of just do it. What is your advice to folks who are interested [00:41:00] but haven't taken the leap yet?

Chris: If it's something you want to do you have 27, 000 days.

Depending on how old you are right now, it's either cut in half or a quarter. Probably more than, probably somewhere between a quarter and three quarters of your life's gone. One day you're gonna die, and that's indisputable, and people regret what they don't do, versus what they did. So, that's something that risk taking, and thinking about the fears.

We're, we're all gonna die. We're on this wet rock, floating, floating through space. And it's like, You know, when we were walking around Linnea's land, there was an old homestead there. We're just finding remnants of those people, and they were just as excited as Linnea was when they first purchased it.

They did a hand dug well. It was gonna be there forever, but now, [00:42:00] now they're gone and somebody else has it. So, I just continuously am in that mindset that we have limited time, and it's a very You know, a very What's the word I'm looking for? It's a very cute thing to say. It's very easy to say, but when you actually feel it and live it and remind yourself of that a lot, it really frees you up to take actions and take risks because, at least for me, I know for certain if I didn't take risks and I'm If I'm lucky enough to live to 70 and my joints hurt and it sucks to wake up and I can't really do much, I'm gonna absolutely regret.

The risks that I didn't take. I would give anything to go back and just play and take risks and live a life that I wanted to. Rather [00:43:00] than being a slave to the things that were in my head that held me back. 

Ayana: That's a mic drop. Alright, tell us your funniest, wackiest, or most bizarre story from the road. 

Chris: Oh, goodness.

So, wackiest thing that happened on the road, I had the, well, this is, like, I, I would have to think about this, but one that just comes to mind, pertinent I had the bright idea of going over to Scotland and renting a camper van, and the only one they had available was a manual, and they drive on the other side of the road, and I've never owned a manual vehicle.

I know how to drive them. I'm obviously here and alive, so I, I figured it out. But, I was in this small little [00:44:00] town up in Scotland, and when you get really far back, they have single lane roads, and it is just brutal. Like, I would have to psych myself up. Every time I started that van, like it makes me, like, my hands are getting a little sweaty thinking about it, like, legitimately.

And I was psyching myself up, I was getting ready to leave the parking lot, and instead of, like, I was so, like, During that day I was going through these back roads and there's like locks up there and literally it was just a drop off to this, this lake and I'm like swerving in and out trying to make it.

And those vans are massive over there. It's like trying to drive a 40 foot school bus here on a Like in San Francisco is the best way I can think about it. It's just hills and you're maneuvering. And I was, I was spent, I had to stop for lunch. I was getting psyched up and I go to start it. I put it in first gear [00:45:00] unbeknownst to me because I was all psyched out.

I had it in reverse and I start to go forward and I back up and I almost hit two dudes on their motorcycles. Like, and we're, we're talking like I had the rear view camera on. I literally could not see a gap, like it looked like I was on top of their bikes and I think I missed them by a couple inches.

And then I had to drive off because they were all mad at me. So I was like shaking, like my, my legs were shaking. And I ended up like, I ended up surviving, I didn't wreck it. But when I dropped it off at the rental place, I literally just looked at it and I was like, never again. I am not doing this ever again and yeah, that's, that's the wackiest.

I've had, I've had, I've had more scary experiences, like not, not like with people, but like 40 foot bus, the brakes are smoking and I'm just still going downhill and [00:46:00] like, and just drop offs on both sides. I've, I've had those experiences, which I wouldn't recommend, but wackiest is almost running over two, two motorcycles in Scotland, renting a van that drove on the opposite side and manual.

Ayana: Yeah, I guess that's true. You have to shift with your other hand then, right? You're shifting with your left hand? 

Chris: Oh, God. Right. And everything's backwards. And the roads are, like, they drive on the other side of the road and they have roundabouts everywhere. So I'm like, manual, trying to do the roundabouts.

Like, I automatically look this way, then I have to look this way. And people are, people just ride your butt there too. So it was

My hands are Sweaty. Yeah. Yeah. That was an experience. 

Ayana: Ugh.

Anything else you are excited to share with our audience or you want to share with our audience before we sign off? [00:47:00] 

Chris: I would say just personally just getting back into shape, doing the challenges with the team. I'm excited for the Next three or four months, my partner and I are going to be just kind of hanging low in southern Utah, getting work done, working out.

And then, yeah, we've been, we've been bouncing around a lot. There's been a lot of family stuff on both of our sides popping up. We've been having to travel a lot. And I'm just excited to get out in the middle of nowhere. Hang out with the pups, eat good food, go hiking, do some backcountry camping. And we'll be doing that up until May or June, so I'm excited for that.


Ayana: Yeah, that's the good stuff for sure. I think that's what, that's what got a lot of us on the road in the first place, so it's nice to return to that space for sure. 

Chris: Absolutely. 

Ayana: Yeah. Tell everyone where they can find you [00:48:00] specifically online and anything that you want to share. Social media wise, newsletter wise, anything like that, for yourself.

Chris: Yeah, if you go to Instagram, The Off Grid Schooly, Facebook, Chris Travels and that's about it. I haven't been posting too much, but hoping to get back on it. Like I said, it's just been an interesting little bit of time here, just been concentrating more on health and, you know, getting that alone time, recouping time, more recently.

Ayana: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Well, thank you for taking the time to chat today and yeah, it's fun to, to get to know a little bit more of like the ins and outs of your journey and how you're experiencing all the changes that we've, we've gone through collectively and where all of this is headed on this wet rock hurling through space at a million miles an hour.[00:49:00] 

Chris: Yeah, Like I said, I think the next three or four years are going to be wild beyond our current imagination. I think there's going to be some interesting stuff going on and how that affects the nomad community is going to be a very, very, very intriguing experience. 

Ayana: Yeah. Well, thanks so much, Chris.

Thank you. Yeah. And thanks everyone for listening. We'll see you back next week for another episode of the podcast. Bye. 

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