Trailblazer

Take your house
on a road trip

Alexis Stephens and Christian Parsons, US

The tiny house movement in the US has grown radically over recent years: in response to the lack of affordable housing, more people have been constructing very small, but luxurious homes of their own.

Alexis Stephens, 34, and Christian Parsons, 42, have taken the concept a step further. Putting their 17ft, tiny home on a trailer, they’ve traversed 50,000 miles around America, setting up community outreach projects. “We had some awesome road trips after we met in 2013, and we wanted to do more,” says Alexis, a former marketing executive.

“We just need gas [petrol] money – we call it the mortgage!”

“By 2015, it was complete. We have everything we need – a queen bed in the loft, a kitchen and a big shower. The place fits like comfy boots.” Much of the house was built from reclaimed materials. “Everything has a story,” says Christian, who used to do digital work in New York. “The wood for the counter tops came from trees that fell in a tornado. I guess living in a house you’ve built yourself puts you in a minority these days.”  The pair do freelance video and photo­graphy work to make money. “It keeps us going,” says Christian. “What’s great about a tiny house is you are using your home as a tool – to meet your own financial and lifestyle needs. We just need gas [petrol] money – we call it the mortgage!” And they’ve learnt a huge amount while on the road.

“It’s a ticket to everyday adventure”

“It restores your faith in humanity,” says Alexis. “We’ve met people so different to us, on the opposite side of the political spectrum, and you realise that essentially, people want the same thing. Most people want to get along.” Christian adds: “We are both kind of shy people, so doing this trip has pushed us to enjoy ourselves and be sociable.” And when inside is so small, it encourages you to get out and about more, too. “It’s a ticket to everyday adventure,” says Alexis. “You end up more intimate with your surroundings, and drawn outside more for a walk, or a sunset. To have a rich life you have to get out of your comfort zone, and this has done that for us.”

Photography by Keith Ladzinski