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Canadian Woman Builds Charming Cottage on the Back of $4,000 Truck

A Canadian woman constructed a cottage on a $4000 truck to combat soaring rent. Her TikTok fame and journey offer inspiration and practical advice for those seeking an alternative to traditional housing. From dream to reality, Kai’s story embodies independence and affordability.

By Beth Snider · February 10, 2024

House Truck

Amid skyrocketing rent prices, a Canadian woman known as Kai has turned the tables on traditional housing by constructing a charming cottage on the back of a $4,000 truck. Her approach to combating the housing crisis has gained her fame on TikTok, where her video showing the mobile home has amassed over 10 million views.

Over the past decade, Kai has been tirelessly building her house truck, drawing inspiration from an old photo book documenting free spirits of the 60s and ’70s who converted and lived in house buses and house trucks. Despite not being fully finished, she has called her mobile cabin home for the past five years. The journey has been a continuous learning experience, as she has taught herself various skills along the way, investing time to perfect every detail.

"I’ve always wanted to build myself a little cabin in the woods, but where I live, land prices are very expensive and unattainable. I put that dream on the back burner for years until I was in a used bookstore and found an old copy of 'Some Turtles Have Nice Shells'."

Her commitment to her house truck lifestyle extends beyond just a place to live - it’s a philosophy that embraces independence and affordability. Rather than living on the road, Kai pays for a permanent park-up, allowing her to enjoy the stability of a fixed location while indulging her passion for tiny living.

Kai with her house truck  the_ugly_truckling/Instagram

As a freelancer in the film industry, Kai’s housetruck serves as both her residence and workplace. Commuting to the city for brief job contracts, she resides in her smaller equipped van throughout the assignment, then returns to the comfort of her house truck. This living arrangement reduces her cost of living and offers solid financial stability.

"Having a lowered cost of living has really saved us from disaster in the past few years. Pandemics, job loss, strikes, sickness—I’m very grateful that I have the house truck to call home; it’s very affordable to live this way."

Living in a tiny home comes with its challenges, and Kai doesn’t shy away from acknowledging them. Dealing with extreme weather conditions, frozen water in -10 degree weather, or days without sun affecting her batteries, she faces these challenges head-on.

Through this journey, Kai has built a home and cultivated a newfound confidence and a diverse skill set. Her advice to others dreaming of a similar lifestyle is simple: “Go now. Don’t wait. A lot of people have this idea that they want to do something ‘someday.’ Someday never comes! Just get started today, find a small first step along the path of your dreams. Maybe that’s taking an intro to building course, maybe it’s volunteering to help someone else build something, but just start.”