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CASITA LIFE

Back in August 2015 we were about four months into our full-time traveling life in our 42’ Itasca Meridian we called Sandcrawler. We were on our way to New Jersey for a family wedding and stopped for a week randomly in Northern Indiana at Indiana Dunes State Park. If you follow me on Instagram you may already know that this is when we met our friends Kate and Kirk Saffle. Kate commented on a picture I posted on Instagram saying that they lived nearby and we decided to meet up. And when I say meet up I mean they came over to our RV, brought steak and veggies and ingredients for s’mores and cooked us dinner. I think we provided the wine but hey they might have brought that too. Kate and Kirk (who Adam and I affectionately refer to as “the K’s”) were dreaming of a life of full-time travel as well so we talked life on the road and dreams and parenthood. We ended up staying another week in the area and hanging out with them a few more times. While we were there the K’s put down a deposit on a Casita with possible plans of full-timing in it in the future. Adam and I were excited for them to make progress toward their travel goals but we also thought they were completely NUTS. Once they spent time in it surely they would realize it was much too small to full-time in with two kiddos.

Fast forward five months and, surprise, we had ordered our own. When we decided to downsize (you can read more about that here) we explored a number of different options. Initially we looked at a lot of Winnebago products because we had a relationship with the company as part of the WinnebagoLife Blog Team and hoped to continue that. We looked at Minnie Winnies and Travatos and ultimately decided that for safety and logistical purposes we wanted to go with a truck/trailer set up.

There is a lot of debate about kiddos in car seats riding in RVs on the interwebs. Some things noted that were on our radar were RV’s don’t go through the same safety testing as other vehicles in the case of a crash, the seats themselves are not as sturdy or bolted down in the same manner as in cars/trucks, many seats are side facing instead of front facing, and things can fly out of cabinets while going down the road. Keep in mind plenty of people strap kiddos into car seats in RVs every day, we did for a year. We just decided based on this knowledge and our own experience we didn’t want to do it anymore.

Logistically a truck and trailer set up also seemed like it would work better for us because we could have a separate vehicle to explore in (going smaller we wouldn’t want to tow a car). I wasn’t keen on the idea of having to pack up everything every time we wanted to go out and explore, or run an errand. It would also allow for Adam to go out to work or for me to take Idgie out while Adam worked. Which on yucky weather days for us was a must.

We looked at Winnebago trailers, most notably the Micro Minnie but we couldn’t find a layout we thought would work well for us, as usual with most RV’s we weren’t in love with the design and while we had been impressed with Winnebago team we just really wanted to get something as simple as possible. Something with no slides and with the least about of systems/electronics (read  – with less to break). So we moved on from Winnebago products and briefly considered an Airstream. While we love Airstreams – it was after all the trailer we had initially dreamed of and thought we would get prior to starting this adventure – we ruled them out based on cost. One of our reasons for downsizing was to try to save more money.

For us that left the fiberglass egg style campers. We knew we wanted something simple and durable and this style of trailer fit the bill. We also knew that these style of trailers had an awesome resale value – unlike many stick built trailers – just incase it turned out we didn’t like being smaller as much as we thought we would. There are so many different kinds of fiberglass egg style campers (Scamp, Bigfoot, Escape just to name a few) and after Adam did a lot of research the main two that we ended up considering were Casitas and Olivers.

Casita is a small Texas company so we were able to visit them, get a tour of the facility, and spend some time in a couple different models while we were in Texas in January 2016. We also were able to meet an Oliver owner in Fort Worth and get a tour of his trailer. He also happened to have previously owned two Casitas and while he loved his Oliver he had a lot of good things to say about Casitas as well. The Olivers are GORGEOUS and a few feet bigger – no carpet walls, more modern design – but ultimately the design and tiny bit of extra space did not outweigh the fact that you could buy two Casita’s for one Oliver.

So we placed an order for our Casita in later that month and started making plans to sell our huge RV. We moved out of the Sandcrawler in April 2016, and spent almost 6 months essentially homeless, staying in hotels, AirBnbs, and with family.

We picked up our Casita at the end of September 2016 and named her Betty White. She has been our home on wheels for 9.5 months now and has proven to be all the things we have wanted – simple, functional, durable, cozy and warm. We can take her anywhere and I don’t even notice the carpet walls anymore.

So Kate and Kirk it is possible you are still nuts, but definitely not for the reason we thought. And thanks for unknowingly leading us to Casita Life.

This post was written for inclusion in the July collection of the Small Family Homes Blog Community. Read below for more writings on living small from our community of writers. Check back next month for a new topic and posts in the series and follow our community board on Pinterest for the latest small homes and family minimalism pins!

Minimalist Meg– “Our Story Behind Small and Simple Living” : Sometimes living simply and living small doesn’t happen because of a grand event. Sometimes it just happens and it’s not until after that you decide to keep it that way.

Little Bungalow– “Accidental then Intentional” : A visual tour of all the small homes we didn’t buy before we bought our most recent smallish home in beautiful Victoria, BC.

Fourth and West– “The Home That Chose Us” : Realizing the home we had was actually perfect all along.

Tiny Ass Camper– “Casita Life” : How and why we chose a 17′ Casita Spirit Standard as our home on wheels.

600 Sq Ft and a Baby– “How We Ended Up Living Small” : Looking back on why living small stuck for us.

Fancy Pigeon– “Why We Live Small” : A vlog on why and how our family has consistently downsized over the years.

The Streamlined Life– “Why I Fell in Love with Small House Living” : Sometimes our earliest memories have the strongest impact.

This Lovely Day– “Tiny Transitions” : Follow along with Kate Shaw, a retiring Air Force pilot, as she transitions her family of five from living in a 3200 ft.² century home to a 900 ft.² downtown high rise condo in the city.

The Justice Pirate– “Minimalism: My First Tiny House” : Once upon a time, a little girl dreamed of having her own tiny house and her dream came true…temporarily.

Family Pedals– “Finding Abundance in 1500 Square Feet” : In our culture it would be easy for us to view our house as a stepping stone to something bigger, something nicer. For us, the next step we’d like to take is to something smaller, something simpler.

 

About Jenn

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4 Comments

  • Victoria the Justice Pirate

    It seems like this whole year has been so exciting for you between living in various places all over before now having your Casita! I love that you guys call Kate and Kirk the Ks. Haha. Cute.

    It is so interesting to learn about the safety issues in RVs. I didn’t know all of that! I personally would love to one day own and live in a schoolie or an airstream that is renovated or something, but perhaps the safety can be improved upon in that way?

    I want to learn all about your new adventures!! Oh man, I love th eidea of Casita/camper life! Just all of the whole life on the road aspect of things.

    • Jenn

      Hey Victoria! We actually almost did a bus renovation and still have dreams of redoing a vintage airstream – even if its just as writers retreat or studio on some property. I saw your postcard request – I didn’t realize you were from NJ! It is where I was born and raised. Sending you an email soon!

  • Sarah

    I am learning so much about traveling as a family from this community! I love the idea of traveling for several months out of the year, but have no idea where to start. We are so attached to bicycle commuting that I think it would be hard for us to give that up while on the road. Though I suppose we could just bring bikes with us to use at our destination? Hmmm…. So much to ponder…

    • Jenn

      Hi Sarah! I imagine some day we will travel part-time. Sometimes traveling full-time is exhausting to be honest. Have you thought about doing a home exchange? Maybe in a location that is super bike friendly? It is something we think about when we think about what travel could look like for us in the future with a desire to travel more abroad. Just more food for thought….

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