UNIque houses: A static caravan in ecovillage Ppauw

Yanina Willet lives off grid in the woods.
Yanina Willet at her caravan. Photo: Guy Ackermans | Text: Coretta Jongeling

There are student houses and there are weird and wonderful student houses. In this column we visit the latter. This time, a caravan in the Ppauw community.

House: A static caravan in ecovillage Ppauw
Occupant: Yanina Willet
Unique because: it is off grid in the woods

‘I have been living in Ppauw for almost two years now with my converted caravan. There are eight of us living here and we try to live as sustainably as possible. Everything you see here, we thought up ourselves and made or built out of second-hand or discarded materials. And everything is mobile. If we need to leave at any point, we can just move to another place.

‘We are off-grid, which means that we are not connected to the electricity network, the sewage system or the water supply. That calls for some creativity. We generate electricity with solar panels; if you want to take a shower, you first have to heat a pan of water; we purify our own waste water and we compost our poop. Living here means that you spend quite a bit of time getting basic things done and organized. But I get a lot of satisfaction out of that.

‘When you only have a little bit of electricity, you don’t use it for a thousand and one devices. I don’t blow-dry my hair anymore and I never vacuum. I can keep my house perfectly clean just by sweeping it. And it is small, of course. The only thing I really miss is a washing machine. We don’t have enough water or electricity for that. So I take my laundry to friends’ houses.

‘Because we mainly live out of doors, you get to experience nature and the seasons a lot more. The winter was cold and damp. Everyone went to bed early and everything was low-key. It felt a bit like hibernation. But that had its charms as well. In the common room, there is a big stove that made it cosy. We often sat there together by the fire, playing games and so on. ‘The best thing about living here is that you have to do everything together, much more than in a student house. That can be challenging at times, but it’s instructive and nice as well. And I like that we are in the woods, in nature. When I go out at night to pee and I see the moon, it just makes me very happy. It’s well worth living in less luxury to have that.’

Would you too like to be in Resource with your unique student house? Send an email to resource@wur.nl.

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