the.semitrailer.project

day 188  : :  blog post 010

Ugh, I cannot believe that I am 188 days into this adventure and I feel like so little has been achieved. This experience has been more daunting, complex and self-confidence-diminishing than I expected it would be, even despite my initial fears that this would actually be the case. Part of it is inexperience, sure, but also daily tent life, our location, my own mental state and the scale of the project all factor in. This might take years to complete at this rate!

I know right off the bat that some of these things are finally-crafted excuses that I have bought into, but when muddled together in a stew of depression, the crappy state of the world and a meandering aimlessness of life’s direction – well, you get the ingredients for a frustrating journey. My “excuses” I suppose would be: laziness, fear of failure, lack of tools/knowledge/materials/plan and perhaps the complexities of compromise. These are undoubtably normal complaints given that we are noobie builders living in a rural area with perfectionist tendencies. However, my brain has a tendency of being the culprit for complication whether it is that I feel unmotivated or tangled up with how to approach problems or just down in general. Part of me is profoundly disappointed when I waste time that could be spent building, but another part of me will resist being pushed into moving faster and end up resulting in a stalemate of inactivity or frustration.

It might sound like this blog is dedicated to justifying my struggles – and maybe it is to a degree (so feel free to bail out on further reading if you want) – but I think it’s just the reality setting in that building your own home in a foreign environment while living in a challenging way is never going to be a walk in the park. The people around us where we live have been terrific at helping, offering advice and being friendly faces that we have enjoyed getting to know. However, I would offer this as fair warning to anyone who is about to embark on this type of journey: expect it to be especially challenging if you change too many life aspects at once, and, are not of completely sound mind. Let’s break down some of the challenges:

Inexperience

Fairly obvious: I have limited building experience and when problems come up, I have to research every little detail, ask for help or slowly (glacially) work through it until I have a solution.

Fear of failure

Hand-in-hand with inexperience is this bastard of a problem. Not to solely blame Heidi, but there have been numerous comments about the expectation of getting into the finished home quickly and with a very high quality finish. Making it look great is a priority but if it were just me, I’d settle for rough n’ rustic. So I approach every situation with fear that I am making the right decision as everything cascades through the early decisions you make. And especially when lots of money is at stake.

Tent-life

Not to be taken lightly, there are things that pop up daily that can take a half hour or 3 hours of your time. There are disruptive weather events that can blow (pun intended) half a week with prep –> enduring –> aftermath. It could be energy issues, insects, leaks/repairs, challenging work conditions, temperature or simply chores like chopping/collecting wood and dealing with composting toilets and such.

Location

From the standpoint of collecting resources and connecting with friends in Adelaide, this one is a big time-suck too. Going to Bunnings or a salvage yard is a minimum 1.5 hour excursion but usually ends up being a half-day outing as we might throw in groceries or other errands in there. Of course, I have limited supplies on-site so if I forget an item, it’s not just a quick skip over to the local shop. Trips to Adelaide are multi-day affairs. I enjoy the serenity and natural beauty that our current home offers, but the travel might get to me in the long run.

Mental State

I’ll leave the last two big ones for last; to put it bluntly, I’ve been depressed for the better part of the past 5 or more years. That has ranged from just de-motivating daily life all the way to suicidal thoughts. The item below (Life Direction) plays into this significantly but so does the state of the country/world, veganism, loneliness, indifference and the blessing/curse of social media. Often I can just batch all my troublesome thoughts as “humanity”. It certainly leaves me each day on a knife’s edge of whether or not I will be easily derailed from being productive.

Life Direction

Almost there! Thanks for sticking with me through this downer blog post! My last struggle is where I am going in life and why should I care. I have amassed the cruel set of skills otherwise known as “the Jack-of-all-trades, expert-of-none” – all the things I have spent significant time getting good at are really just mediocre efforts at best. Worst of all, I lack that “passion” for anything in particular these days. I am searching for what gets me excited, and while there are a few possible interests, the motivation and desire needed to achieve them is laughably distant and therefore effectively unachievable.

Probably am sharing too much 🤔, but maybe this post is more about getting some thoughts out there rather than being uplifting to read. I’ll return to tiny house stuff now…

In terms of building progress, Heidi will probably say that I am being too hard on myself. In the last 5 weeks, Heidi and I have:

  • refined our house design a number of times
  • researched and ordered all the doors and windows
  • worked out an electrical plan
  • made a time schedule
  • assembled materials
  • weather-sealed the roof
  • built some ceiling panels
  • also sold a car and bought a new one

which seems like a few achievements, but I think that it could have been done in a fraction of the time. The trouble is that I can be veered off-course quite quickly when I hit a road-block and then waste hours over-thinking a solution. Maybe that’s all part of the process, I don’t know.

If I want to end this blog on a good note, I can say that:

  • I have to stop comparing to other people doing the same thing
  • live more in the moment
  • enjoy the process and make mistakes so that I feel like I’m allowed to learn
  • wind back my expectations from faultless to just good-enough.

Realistically, I am not going to solve my “humanity” or “life’s passion” problems overnight, but with any luck, I’ll turn a corner where the house itself will become motivating to get done when I see it starting to come together. But it’s a chicken and egg thing as I need to put in the hard yards to get to that corner-turn but I’m not sure where that motivation will come from.

Thanks for sticking through all that, Reader. ☺️👍

Heidi at fire

4 thoughts on “Long, long way to go

  1. Dear Mike, your honesty is so refreshing and to me illustrates your inner strength by the very fact of telling us all your feelings. Mate, we are all on the same road even though we may approach things differently. However on the subject of the actual build of your and Heidi’s home, I know that you are doing a great job and you should be very proud of your achievements to date. I, as an old bush carpenter look at the progress being made and know that you will end up with a fabulous Big House On Wheels, constructed in a craft manner according to your experience. Observe that it is only very special people that take on a project such as what you are doing.

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    • Thanks Rob, that’s very kind of you to say. I certainly recognise the magnitude of the project is not to be overlooked and put into perspective. I just wish that I could dispense with destructive thought patterns that make an already challenging task even harder.

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  2. Bit by bit, step by step…thats the only way to tackle big tasks. Look at how far you’ve come??? Time and money wasted? Don’t think so. Probably lots of learning, experiences that help you understand a different group of people??? Just my thoughts…there must be lots of positives so far, and more to come.I hope to get down to see you next week.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    • Thanks Rosemary. Yes, there are things to do with the build that I should and do acknowledge as being part of the learning curve, but there are other factors that lead to my stress and struggle which compound everything else.

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