Elizabeth Wynn moved to Spain five years ago. After finding her feet she decided to follow her dream and construct her own tiny house (on wheels) where she could live a life centred around creating and being outside. With overheads as small as her home, it meant she could focus on music, crafts and learning to enjoy a slower, smaller life.
"I wanted to live more simply and reduce my outgoings. Life is short and I believe that we should follow our hearts and not the way of the world," Wynn says. "I am a bit of a hippie at heart I guess. From being a little girl I always wanted to build my own small home. Something that was totally me and was full of everything I loved, like a little heaven. I didn't like the thought that if I built my home and then decided to move I would have to leave something so precious behind. That's when I had the idea to build a house on wheels. If I move areas, I can take it with me."
Credit: Elizabeth Wynn
Spain's not only more laid-back but the year round sun means she can live much more of her life outside, easing the facilities she needed in her tiny home.
When she started she'd never built anything more than a rabbit hutch.
" I figured a house was just a larger version. I watched lots of YouTube videos and talked to a few people I knew who had some idea about building and construction," she explains. "I drew a design and made a paper model. Then I bought some wood and I went for it. I found lots of things along the way. The whole of the mezzanine floor, I found by some bins. All the windows were found. The kitchen sink was free from someone who didn't want it any more. Lots of the furniture I found in skips and I re-made it in to other things. I used some tree trunks that were on the road to make the porch post and the table leg."
With space at a premium, Wynn thought she'd have to sacrifice some home comforts but a clever design meant she's actually got everything she needs and then some.
"For me, the things that were most important were a full size shower with a big shower head, an oven and hob, a big sink, a double mattress and a record player" Wynn says. "I didn't mind too much about anything else. In the end I fitted in a whole lot more. I have a small table with seating around it for three people, a comfy sofa with storage underneath that can be transformed into a day bed or a bed for a guest, a wardrobe and shelf storage, a place for two guitars and a mandolin harp, a small fridge, kitchen cupboards and shelves, a bathroom with shower and composting toilet and stairs up to a mezzanine level with a double bed as well as another small mezzanine above the bathroom for storage. Outside I have a terrace that can come off or fold up for transportation, a porch and a decked area to sit, eat, read and create."
Credit: Elizabeth Wynn
While she had help doing some welding, plumbing and electrics, everything else was sourced, measured and built by her.
"I couldn't afford to pay anyone to help me so I made the walls, I sawed the wood, I hammered over 5,000 pins into the outside skin on the wooden house and another 5,000 inside, I insulated the walls and ceiling, I screwed things together, I made furniture, I measured and re-measured everything."
She now spends most of her time creating jewellery to sell from stones and shells on the beach nearby or setting up workshops for people who are interested in living a more simple, sustainable life or who want to do more in terms of recycling and upcycling. The rest of her time is maintaining and tinkering with her house,
"There always seems to be something to repair or a different challenge to deal with in each different season. Recently there has been a lot of rain so some of the doors have swollen and need planing down a bit," she says.
Credit: Elizabeth Wynn
While Wynn certainly has the passion for a more old-fashioned way of life that focuses on a smaller slice of the world, she maintains that if she can do it, so can anyone that wants to.
"Don't be afraid to make mistakes because you will. Do some research of course, but you know what, you will find the answer to most things inside of yourself and you will be amazed at what you can achieve" Wynn says. "It's not always easy but if you have hope, nothing else really matters and you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. It's ok to follow your heart and not the way of the world."
Creating her own environment and giving up living in the rat race has given her a new lease of energy and a completely different take on life. It sounds almost too good to be true.
"I feel more free, and every morning I wake up and I am surrounded by nature, seasons, skies, plants, sounds, animals. It's beautiful and it feels like how it was always meant to be."