Interview with Tiny r(E) – American Trip

This is an interview with Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E) who with his wife Crystal built a 240 sq.ft. tiny home, and now are traveling in the U.S. by RV. They have an excellent podcast series of interviews with other tiny home dwellers and designers on the site, you can listen to past episodes here: Tiny r(E)volution Podcasts. Contact them on Facebook or Twitter.

1.   Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you came to the tiny home concept. was it a whim? A necessary move due to job loss? Or simply a lifestyle choice in deciding how you wanted to live and raise your family (your daughter is adorable btw)?

My name is Andrew Odom and I am 1/3 of the Tiny r(E)volution team. The others are, of course, my wife and daughter. Tiny r(E)v started out in 2010 as just a way for us to document our own personal journey of designing and building our tiny house.

As we researched though we found there were more unanswered questions than anything else so we decided to go a bit more mainstream and write about our own discoveries and research thereby giving those who would follow us more resource.

We came to the tiny house concept, as it were, because as a recently married couple the housing market was a bit scary.

I was working a pretty bum job but somehow we were still pre-approved for an astronomical sum that would leave us still very much in debt after 30+ years of financing. We wanted no part of that and so began to research alternative housing.

It is important to note that we met while full-time missionaries so it was no big deal to have only about 4,000 cubic inches of personal space. There was nothing dramatic about our decision to go tiny. We just felt like it met us where we were and we liked the idea of paying cash-on-the-barrel without being put in financial dire straits.

You can read our full story here: Tiny r(E)volution Manifesto

Interview with Tiny r(E) - Road Trip USA. The Odom Family in Front of their Tiny Home
The Odom Family in Front of their Tiny Home

2.   You and your wife successfully built a tiny home, I love the yellow paint job 🙂 Can you give a brief description of how long it took, how much it cost (I read $12k in one article) and any advice for others. Is your house permanently parked or can it be moved?

From start to finish it took us 14-months to build out 30’ long, 240 sq.ft. tiny house. The yellow paint job was what we thought would make us feel like we lived in a beach cottage which is what we always wanted.

After subtracting the sponsorships we had in place we spent just at $12k. You can see the majority of our budget here: Tiny r(E)volution Budget.

It is important to note that our budget and the $12k does not include the interior decorations, our custom cabinetry, or our appliances. It basically depicts the cost to move in.

Our house is semi-mobile in that we chose to put it on cinderblock piers and strap it down using mobile home auger straps. We love our location and don’t foresee leaving there soon.

Interview with Tiny r(E) - American Trip
Andrew Odom Working on a Podcast Recording

3.   Is there a page on your site where folks can go to view photos and maybe planning information (house plans, building permit if any, etc.)?

Our site is full of resources. Our FB page is loaded with archives. Our photos live on our Google+ page here: Tiny r(E)volution Photos on Google+

4.   You are now traveling in an RV – how I came to view your site and learn your story. You give a nice breakdown of the costs for your first adventure to Florida (during high season), escaping the cold winter of North Carolina (just under $2k monthly). Are you giving up the tiny home homesteading lifestyle for a life on the road now?

We are not giving up one lifestyle for another even though we are currently in a travel trailer. Every house has its pros and cons.

Part of our tiny house lifestye is that financially we have more flexibility to do things that a lot of American families do not. This includes being nomadic. We love adventure and experience and while our daughter is at her most inquisitive age we want to share the world with her.

That is why we are going so mobile at this time. It isn’t one versus the other. It is one along with the other.

5.   Can you offer tips for road travel with an RV? What have you learned driving across the country? what would you now do differently?

We haven’t driven across the country….yet. In fact, we are pretty new to all this. We are learning as we go and we are back to research, research, research.

If I have learned one thing though it is that traveling is only as fun as the amount of gas you can afford to put in your tank! LOL

6.   What are your top money saving tips for others wanting to take off and adventure in an RV? I will soon have up a post on free places to park overnight – other than just WalMart! Any other thoughts for our readers?

We recently boon docked at a Cracker Barrel. From that experience I found out that you can have unlimited iced tea at CB if you keep your drink cup.

Aside from that though one way we save money is to create a weekly menu prior to going to the grocery store.

Eat deliberately and make use of leftovers and bulk purchases. Just because you are limited on space doesn’t mean you have to eat all processed foods.

Don’t be afraid to purchase a sealing kit (Foodsaver or Ziploc), buy in bulk, and then portion package. You can save freezer space, maximize meal options, and save a little money this way.

7.   I see you are now thinking of spending time in New Mexico… how do you and your wife decide on which locations to visit? So many amazing places in the United States to see and spend time in, it is hard for me to think of chosing at this point where I will be soon in my new little vintage RV!

We are choosing locations based on weather primarily. We are chasing the sun. If the sun is not there and the daytime is not above 70 degrees we want no part of it at this time in life.

We also think about the opportunities available to our daughter in a certain location and what will benefit her.

8.   You are able to work online, which allows you to be location independent. Have you learned any tricks of dealing with spotty Internet coverage or weak WiFi signals? For many RVers getting decent Internet is a must-have yet in most RV parks the service is not great.

The RV WiFi debate will be never ending I am sure. For me though I tell everyone that having a secondary system is essential. Don’t just depend on the campground service or even the cafe up the road.

Have a reliable cellular phone with both data options and tether options. A mobile hotspot has helped me tremendously in several situations.

Thank you!

Thanks very much for participating! Best of luck to you and your family on the road, Molly

Photographs courtesy of Andrew Odom, all rights reserved.

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