OS54: Ross Lukeman – Designing the Unique Home of Your Dreams

It’s not how big the house is, it’s how happy the home is.

~ Unknown

Often we accept things we’ve been taught or told, until one day something strikes us as being a bit “off”, and we begin to ask questions.

For Ross Lukeman, that something was the traditional story we’ve been taught about home ownership and freedom.

That is, if you own a home, you have achieved the American Dream. You’ve made it, and you never have to worry about money again.

It struck Ross as strange that people buy homes, believing this story, then design the rest of their lives around paying for that home – staying in jobs they don’t like to pay a mortgage, putting off the things they really want to do, and living that way sometimes for the rest of their lives. He also found it strange that he never learned about any types of “alternative” dwellings in architecture school, only the mainstream ways of building and making a home.

So Ross began probing a question that gets to the very heart of how we live and enjoy our lives: What other types of homes are possible, and, specifically, what type of home will maximize a person’s experience of freedom?

He created a website dedicated to this question, and traveled across the country interviewing people building and living in all kinds of homes he hadn’t learned about in school: strawbale homes, earthships, and even, vans. He blogged about what he learned to create a store of information for others.

As it tends to happen when a person follows their natural interest and excitement, a calling emerged for Ross. What he found in his search was that the type of home that will create the greatest freedom depends actually on the individual – and what’s most exciting and expansive for them, specifically. And he found out that he had a special gift for helping people to create that unique home of their dreams.

For Ross personally, what quickly became most exciting was vanlife. Because freedom for him means living and working from anywhere you want to be, with the ability to explore whatever and wherever most excites you.

He designed and started living in his own van a few years ago, and since, his natural excitement has joined with his unique skill set to create a real offering to others: an absolutely jam-packed, soup-to-nuts, online cargo van conversion course, teaching people how to create the van home that meets their specific needs and desires, whether as a permanent home or weekend getaway. His course is actually how we learned of him, when we were pulling together information for our own van build. We were on a quick timeline and worked together with local friends to get our build done, but we did draw from a number of Ross’s online resources and tools! (see links in the notes below the audio player).

Ross installing solar panels on top of a van

If you’ve ever wanted to live more simply, build your own home, or explore another way of living outside of the mainstream, this episode is definitely for you. We cover a variety of amazingly affordable, eco-friendly, and simple concepts for a stationary home, and dive deeply into Ross’s current work converting cargo vans.

Our aim here is to shed as much light as we can on the MANY options at your fingertips if you’re considering shifting your lifestyle into a simpler, mobile and/or tiny dwelling, and are seeking to build a home and lifestyle that will bring you, personally, the most freedom.


Selected Links from this Episode

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