by Melia Robinson
Three years ago, Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard realized they didn’t want to spend another day chasing careers they didn’t love.
The adventure junkies’ passion for travel journalism led them to quit their jobs and pursue life on the open road. They ditched their homes in Los Angeles and built a tiny house on wheels that now serves as their permanent abode.
A year into their journey, the couple — along with their dog, Salies — has racked up 22,000 miles and visited 34 states and five Canadian provinces. They document their experience on their blog, Tiny House Giant Journey (http://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/), and on their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/tinyhousegj).
Dutilh and Spesard shared some memories from their micro-living journey with us.
For the last year, Guillaume Dutilh and Jenna Spesard have lived in a mobile tiny house of their own making.
They towed their 125-square-foot home from Florida to Alaska and through eastern Canada, documenting the journey on their blog.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona.
Three years ago, Dutilh was an engineer for a motorcycle manufacturer, and Spesard was an executive assistant for a movie studio. They didn’t like their jobs, but the work paid the rent.
They decided they didn’t want to waste more time pursuing anything other than travel journalism. Dutilh stumbled upon the tiny house concept.
“The idea of exploring North America while creating a travel-writing and photography portfolio seemed feasible, and with a tiny house we could do it in a way that hadn’t been done before,” Dutilh says. “We had a little bit of savings and sold almost everything we owned to get the project started.”
Peggys Cove, St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia.
The tiny house concept attracted the couple for numerous reasons. “Besides the fact that they are adorable,” the couple says, tiny houses allow homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint and get a higher quality of life without breaking the bank.
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas.
Dutilh attended a tiny house workshop in Seattle, Washington, purchased a set of building plans and a trailer bed, and started hammering.
The couple invested over 1,000 work hours, including research, trips to the hardware store, and cleanup, in building their dream home. Exactly one year after they began construction, they hit the road.
In the last year, they have dipped their toes in the warm waters by the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys, Florida.
And they have sailed 180 nautical miles on a ferry from Nova Scotia to Maine.
Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.
The couple even braved the chaotic streets of New York City — an experience they call “tougher and bouncier than off-roading in California’s Mojave Desert.”
Central Park, New York, New York.
“There were taxis cutting us off, cyclists flying by, and pedestrians jumping in front of our truck,” Dutilh says. “It was as if New Yorkers, when they peeled their eyes off of their phones, were completely unfazed by the sight of our house on wheels in the middle of the skyscrapers.”
New York, New York.
The couple documents their journey with diary-like entries and photos on their blog and YouTube channel, which has garnered almost nine million views.
New Brunswick, New Jersey.
“Tiny friends” (people who live in tiny houses) and the couple’s fans offer their driveways to keep lodging expenses down.
Along the way, Dutilh and Spesard have found ways to make their tiny house feel like home. They customized the build to fit their lifestyle.
Snowboards hang in the mezzanine. The house is insulated to survive harsh winters, but the duo doesn’t want to deal with towing in snow.
They extended the loft area so there is space for their dog, Salies, who often appears on the blog, to sleep by their bed.
Their favorite feature in the home is the tree stump repurposed as window trim. Wood slats cut from an alligator juniper tree fan out like a sunburst.
Dutilh estimates they spend $800 a month on gas, but utilities cost barely anything.
Dalton Highway, Alaska.
They write and take pictures for tiny house websites, host workshops, and generate some income from their YouTube channel.
When they started their journey, Dutilh and Spesard agreed to one year on the road before evaluating their financial situation.
They’re already planning their summer road trip. “If we enjoy the lifestyle on the road and aren’t losing money, then why not explore a little longer?” Dutilh says.
Painted Desert, Arizona.