When Romeo and I found our land in rural Hawaii, it had everything we wanted in a homestead - except for a home. Our options were to locate a rental or to devise some sort of temporary shelter that we would live in until our house was complete. Finding a rental not too far from our neighborhood that wasn't too expensive and took pets proved to be almost impossible, so it was on to Plan B. People had all kinds of ideas for us, from converting a storage container to buying a yurt. But these were not cheap alternatives. In the end, we opted for a 2001 Coleman Pop-Up Camper, which offered us the kind of ventilation we would need in a tropical climate and went for a decent price.
The camper is about 175 square feet. It came with an outdoor shower and a small propane fridge; we've since added an old stove and a washing machine. Once a catchment tank was installed on the land, Romeo set up a downhill gravity-fed water line to the camper. We raised a canopy over the camper to protect it against the elements, and installed gutters from that to collect even more rainwater. Two solar panels run our laptops and lights, with a back-up generator for days with less sun. Internet is over a cellphone hotspot.
We share this space with two dogs and one of our three cats, so it's definitely cozy. But it's also functional, comfortable and supports our goals in sustainability and self-sufficiency. As the old saying goes, "home is where the heart is."