The design of our tiny house on wheels dream was finished and ready to be built. But the doubts set in. It was a tough call, but after months of preparations, we decided to pull the plug.

It’s strange to see how much can happen in a couple of months. Only half a year ago I wrote about our interest in the Tiny House lifestyle and shortly after we decided to just go for it: follow our dreams. It wasn’t an ill-considered plan. We talked it through over and over and felt that this was the adventure we needed.

A Tiny House seemed like the perfect solution to take our work with us on the roads while traveling the world.

Tiny house design sketches by Super Local

We wanted an office with a view. Lots of glass, a light interior and smart storage solutions everywhere. Our Pinterest boards exploded with ideas and examples. The options were endless.

That’s the fun part of designing your own house. Everything is possible.

We were ready to get our hands dirty with DIY projects, but to do this well we also called in the help of some professionals.

Tiny house design sketches by Super Local

The guys from Super Local started off by providing us with creative ideas and form studies for the outside framework. We love their sustainable approach and innovative design methods and were very excited to have them on board.

They were ready to start applying their design thinking to the interior of our Tiny House when we, unfortunately, had to tell them the bad news of terminating the project.

Tiny House sketch - Architect Peter Arts, by Zilla
Tiny house design, front – by Peter Arts from Studio D8

The most painful part is that our architect Peter Arts from Studio D8 exactly designed what we had envisioned. A gorgeous office, separate living room, extendable roof and lots of window light.

I could totally see myself living in this Tiny House.

* If you are looking for a Dutch architect I really cannot recommend Peter enough. He is such a relaxed person to work with and has a lot of knowledge about the Tiny House Movement.

It hurts my heart to not be able to see this design in reality..

But on the other hand, I know we made the right decision.

Tiny House design - Architect Peter Arts, by Zilla
Tiny house design, back – by Peter Arts from Studio D8


Not the minimalism lifestyle itself, not the idea of living in such a small space. We just slowly realized we had overlooked some important sides of the tiny existence while living and traveling abroad.


Our original plan back in June was to immediately get a tiny house build that summer to take it to Portugal as soon as winter came around the corner. I guess we have been lucky it couldn’t be built as quickly as we hoped.

Never before had I traveled to South Europe in winter. All our previous digital nomad winter escapes were to Asia or Africa. So when I fantasized about our Tiny House travels, I only saw bikini weather, rainbows, and sunshine.

But after spending the last two months in South Portugal in an Airbnb, I realize how naïve that idea was. Yes, the weather is much better than we are used to in the Dutch winters, but it can still get quite chilly. And there were many more rainy days than I had expected.


Our friends and roommates in Portugal traveled by camper bus. Their idea was to work from their home on wheels, but too many internet troubles made them switch to Airbnb. We heard about their struggles and how it is not just a “hotspot and go” story.

In many areas, the internet connection is not strong enough so they needed to park closer to a signal tower. Then there turns out to be a download limit of 25GB to the 4G “unlimited internet” package. Which would mean serious problems with sending out my enormous Sony a7RIV files (hundreds/thousands of them per shoot, plus multiple GB’s for the Photoshopped versions).


Going Tiny meant that we chose happiness above making a wise investment. At first, I didn’t really care about the value depreciation. But the effects of the Corona crisis on my wallet completely turned around my money mindset.

Now that I became more mindful about spending habits and ways to build up wealth for a more secure future, building a Tiny House does not really contribute to the idea of living frugal and spending wisely. At least, not if you want to travel with it.


Our digital nomad friends started making plans for the new year and talked about taking their work to a tropical island. This made me feel a twinge of jealousy. It would be highly unlogical to build a Tiny house and then leave it behind to travel to the other side of the world. Not being able to participate in these plans suddenly made me feel super restricted.

The digital nomad lifestyle has always been my dream because I love freedom and adventure. I thought a Tiny house would attribute to those values. But now I started to doubt that. It actually makes the travel options less extensive.

Besides, we learned that ‘van lifers’ in Portugal cause lots of problems so wild caravanning in the Algarve is now a punishable offense. Staying on a campsite would therefore be the only option, but experiencing up close how much effort it took our friends with the camper to find a nice spot, made us scratch our heads. With an 8 meter long house, these issues would of course only be magnified.

Add up the limitation in routes to take because we would be too high for some bridges and tunnels and things could get really difficult.


Towing a heavy load truck was already on our list against going Tiny and one of our biggest concerns. I haven’t even driven a normal car in a long time because I’ve always lived in the city center of Utrecht or Amsterdam. Not owning a car slowly contributed to building up more and more nerves about driving. This is not very helpful when the perspective is to need to get an extra driver’s license for towing a heavier load.

It was something I was willing to try and overcome, but still a big stressor in my mind.

We were fully invested in this Tiny House. But all in all the little doubtful details added up to something we couldn’t ignore anymore.

Tiny House sketch - Architect Peter Arts, by Zilla
Tiny house design by Peter Arts from Studio D8


First, I absolutely do not regret jumping into this ‘tiny’ thing headfirst. We were following our intuition, tried to look at other lifestyle options, and have been intensively engaged with what a perfect life looks like for us.

It does not feel like failing, or “throwing away” lots of time and money. We just learned lots about ourselves and the way we wish to live.

For now, we focus on decorating our newly bought “big” house. But not without planning to rent it out for a new digital nomad adventure next winter.

I wonder where we will end up. The possibilities are endless. (assuming the Coronavirus will have left us alone by then). Ahhhhh freedom!