Napans China Rose and AJ Zamora are hitting the road with a tiny house and a big goal.
The couple, who own a holistic health business called China Rose Wellness, are taking their work and their new, eco-conscious tiny house on a three-month “Journey to Wellness” tour across the western U.S.
The expedition is designed to share their knowledge and passion for health and wellness while encouraging people across the country to take charge of their health, said the business owners.
“Our goal is to help people feel empowered in their own healthcare,” said China Rose Zamora.
The Zamoras said they decided to “go tiny” to simplify their lives, reduce their environmental impact and manage their stress.
“I’m creating a way of life for my family that is sustainable, not only environmentally, but physically and emotionally,” said AJ Zamora. "I see this as an opportunity to make room in our lives to combine the passion for our business with travel.”
"I want to live simply,” she said. “Personal connections are way more important than ‘things.’”
China Rose Zamora is a certified nutritional therapist, clinical herbalist and yoga teacher. AJ Zamora, her spouse, is a functional fitness trainer and wellness coach.
Until now, they’ve lived in Napa, but that’s about to change once the tiny house goes mobile.
Departing on June 5, the Zamoras' first destination will be Ashland, Oregon, followed by stops in Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and California.
Along the way, they’ll offer a series of personal health and fitness demonstrations, classes, and workshops for people interested in taking charge of their health through holistic approaches.
By the end of the journey, the two plan to have compiled a collection of images, wellness stories, and family home remedies used by past generations that they can share with their audience all over the country.
This tiny house takeoff is no whim.
The couple is moving out of their rental home in Alta Heights. To get rid of enough belongings to move into the tiny house, they’ve had about a half dozen garage sales. But that doesn’t mean they’ve gotten rid of everything. Some family heirlooms and memorabilia will be stored in a 5-foot by 10-foot storage unit.
The couple has made a significant investment in their new lifestyle. The price for such a tiny house, including “green” features, is about $80,000. A tiny house with more traditional components would cost less, they said.
Green features in their home include a rain catchment system, cork flooring, counters made from composite paper, solar panels, paints free of volatile organic compounds, LED lighting, rockwool insulation made from stone and recycled fiberglass window frames. It has no heat or air conditioning system.
Their tiny house, built by Tiny Idahomes in Idaho, is Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) certified, just like any other trailer on wheels. The couple plans to tow it using an F-250 truck.
The trailer weighs about 9,000 pounds and is 22 feet long and 8 feet wide. The ceilings are 12 feet high, which helps make the interior seem quite roomy. In fact, the trailer has only 175 square feet.
Having already driven their new home many miles on the tow to Napa from Idaho, the Zamoras already know that their tiny house attracts attention wherever it goes.
"I don’t think we’ll have trouble making friends on the road,” said China Rose Zamora.
The style of the tiny house is reminiscent of Romani “Vardo” wagons that the Europe's nomadic ethnic group traditionally lives in. Such a wagon fits their identity as traveling “medicine” women, AJ Zamora said with a smile.
The top is bowed, also like a covered wagon, and it features exterior shutters and cedar and metal siding.
The front door is a work of art featuring custom decorations, a ‘Dutch’ door with an even smaller “peep hole” door set within it, a door knocker with a “Z” on it and stained glass window sidelights.
The Zamoras describe the tiny house style as “rustic vintage” with old world flair.
From design to delivery, it took about six months to create their tiny house. Inside the trailer is a cozy, efficient living space.
The Zamoras love to cook, so the tiny house features a three-burner stove and oven. The kitchen includes a large copper sink with on-demand hot water.
China Rose’s great grandmother’s buffet was upcycled into a storage cabinet, and her antique table and chairs act as space for both eating and working.
Their bed is suspended from the ceiling and can be lowered into place each night with the click of a remote control.
And then there’s the bathroom.
For a tiny house, it manages to contain all of the necessities including a almost full-sized tub, shower, combination washer/dryer unit, movable sink and a composting toilet.
Water for the tiny house is stored in tanks and can also be collected and stored from the rainwater gathering system. Power comes from batteries and propane. The Zamoras plan to add solar panels as well.
It’s the first time the two have lived in a tiny house and on the road, they admitted. Some couples might chafe at spending too much time together in a tiny space, but they’re up to the challenge, said the Zamoras.
They will support themselves by coaching their clients online, by phone and Skype, teaching classes along the way, as well as sales of retail products by China Rose Wellness such as herbal tinctures and infrared saunas produced by a company they represent.
They plan to live in the tiny house for at least two years. When they’re not on the road, the Zamoras hope to park their tiny home at a biodynamic vineyard, farm or other park.
“We’ll just move around ‘til we find a spot,” said AJ Zamora.
A little uncertainty is OK with these tiny house converts.
“Isn’t that part of the adventure?” said China Rose Zamora.