I am so excited to introduce Frankie, my 1968 (what I think is a) Franklin camper. I have seen a few other trailers around that it could be. It doesn’t really matter though cause I try not to conform to labeling and titles 😉 All in all Frankie is my going to be home and a foundation for a new way of living.
I have been wanting a camper to call my own since high school. I lived with my grandparents in a fairly posh area of Pasadena, Ca. One day my grandmother came home with a 1967 Aristocrat Trailer as a cheeky gesture towards their camping honeymoon back in 1968 after they got married in Vegas one winter. The Aristocrat was going to be her garden shed to her rose garden. I helped pick out the most vibrant flower upholstery and sewed up campy striped curtains. With a little TLC my grandmother had a very large piece in the backyard to add to their “back woods / White Trash” aesthetic.
Since this I have been excommunicated from said family. Through my feminist awakening I find the appropriation and objectification of others ways of living off-putting. However, it did give me the experience to dive into fixing up my own camper. And so the adventure of an independent life in a tin can without very much money ensues.
There are some key components that have built this dream aside from the story above.
- Back-to-the-Land: Helen Nearing is an idol of mine. She moved to Vermont/Maine with her husband Scott and they started a sustainable farm for the two of them back during the first depression. They didn’t want to struggle to live in the city, they didn’t want to become refugees in another country and they didn’t to participate in the war machine. They forged a new way of life that many of the 60’s/70’s youth followed. It was “Simple Living”.
- Self-Sufficiency: I was raised to be a leader. Rather than lead a business into profit though, I would rather lead myself into freedom and independence from an oppressive system. I want to be able to live without the dependence on mono-crops and corporate stores to determine what I eat, I don’t want to depend on someone else to manage my waste into landfills and oceans, the idea of living under someone else’s roof paying another persons mortgage (rent) is crippling without any long term reward. Buying a house creates a lot of dependence on banks and townships and a job that doesn’t exist. I also want the means to come and go across the land as I feel. I left my home at 18 proclaiming that I wanted something that is “mine”, with Frankie I am that much closer to a life that is set up and defined by me.
- Off-Grid: You produce, you consume. However, I want to produce as much as I consume and live as consciously as I possibly can. Off-grid doesn’t represent the survivalist/apocalyptic idea as feminism doesn’t represent the “femi-nazi”. Off-grid means I can live anywhere at anytime by collecting energy from the sun for power, water from the sky to grow my food, growing food that is safe for consumption, wood from the ground to stay warm and composting and recycling everything that is a byproduct of my own personal eco-system.
- Freedom: The less I spend the less I have to make. I was raised and am still reminded that money is freedom, but if you aren’t careful money makes you a slave. You would be surprised how comfortably you can live without very much. It takes a radical shift/awakening to figure out what that means for you though, not everyone has the same needs and wants to be free. For me, it means I don’t pay rent, I don’t pay for power, I save on growing my food and not producing waste. It gives me the choice to put my money other places, travel and art. It gives me a break from the stress of day in/day out hustle and grind of our system.
To some I sound like an anti-conformist radical, anarchist, hippie with grand ideas and conspiracy theories. Quite frankly, I don’t mind. I am 29 years old. I am young, but not impressionable. I have a long road ahead of me and I don’t want to waste anytime participating in something I don’t believe in. Our system is flawed, people starve and live without a roof over their head. The rich get richer while the class gap widens and the people at the bottom have to work harder and harder to make ends meet. I haven’t figured out how to make this less of the reality but I don’t want to do it by pretending it doesn’t exist.
Be the change you wish to see in the world -ghandi
By getting Frankie, I am experimenting on a new way of living. I am leading by example and I am joining the growing number of other enlightened (or hip) people out there in the Tiny House Movement.
As far as it stands now, I am a lifetime of waiting to start this adventure and one week into it. I don’t have very much money. So rather than take the whole thing apart I am going to work on it incrementally. The front/living room will be first because it looks easiest and I can stay warm while doing it. The back/bedroom will be when the weather warms up in a couple months. It has the most work so I want to gain some experience and momentum. The middle/kitchen and bathroom will be as soon as I source free/inexpensive rebuilding solutions.
I am excited that you have an interest in this process. If you are interested in sharing your knowledge or want to ask questions I am approachable. This is a learning experience.
You can follow this adventure down below. I will be updating as I go so don’t expect a post everyday but anticipate many follow ups.