When Andrew Strauss built a home on wheels, he intended to live in it full-time. While the Victoria man ended up keeping his apartment, he says the unconventional “van life” offers many people personal and financial freedom. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

VIDEO: Victoria man builds ‘home on wheels’ for personal, financial freedom

Andrew Strauss took his tiny mobile home on adventures across Vancouver Island

A Victoria man says part of the reason he transformed a 14-foot long old truck into a “home on wheels” is because he doesn’t want to be shackled to the debt that comes with buying a home in Greater Victoria.

But that’s just one of the reasons Andrew Strauss created a miniature mobile home. He’s taken the truck on plenty of trips, including to the world-famous Nevada-based festival, Burning Man.

Strauss intended to live in the truck full-time, but after a land sale on the Gulf Islands fell through and his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he is selling the truck and plans to build a garden suite on his parents’ property so he can be nearby. Currently, he rents an apartment in Victoria.

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Still, Strauss says “van life” is an amazing adventure, and one that many Islanders are taking up in the face of unaffordable housing. The truck, which is only eight feet wide and provides 132 square feet of living space, is still bigger than many of the vans dotting Dallas Road.

“I wanted to create a space that I could truly see myself living in,” he said. “I completely commend people who live in the smaller van builds, they’re very ingenious and there’s a lot of really resourceful ingenuity.”

“I needed some realistic space and so everything was built very purposefully, for example all of the storage is in corners…rather than in the walkway… people always comment on how spacious it is and that’s for a reason.”

From the outside, it would be easy to mistake the tiny home for a grungy construction truck – something Strauss has used to his advantage when looking for overnight parking in his travels.

But open up the back doors or slide through the entrance behind the front seats and find a simplistic, resourcefully-built home, complete with solar-powered lights, sun roof windows, a full-sized bed and colourful paneling built from recycled material.

Even the kitchen knobs have a cozy, floral touch.

“I can’t imagine… ever paying half a million dollars for a house. That’s absolutely terrifying, I will be shackled to that for the rest of my life and it will be a decision that will constantly stress me out and be on my mind,” Strauss said. “I personally don’t want that. The idea of being able to build your own space for… a fraction of the price was extremely appealing to me.”

Strauss is putting his truck on sale soon and still determining a price that considers the hours of labour that went into its construction.

RELATED: Living tiny in a big city: Victoria workshops drive momentum for tiny homes



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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