Freedom in a Can

Tiny-house-on-wheels couple to present– "Freedom in a Can: Finding Sustainability in 72 Square Feet"

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(Fairfax, VA)  – The tiny-house movement hits the road and comes to George Mason University on April 22nd at 5pm hosted virtually via Zoom ( )  As part of Mason’s Earth Day events hosted by the Office of Sustainability, the couple will share their tiny-house-on-wheels – a 1957 “canned ham” trailer combining a solar powered electrical system with a golden-age, vintage look.  



What started out as an expedition in 2012 has turned into a lifestyle.  During their presentation, Shari Galiardi and Dave “Hutch” Hutchison of Boone, NC, will share what they discovered when they said goodbye to their professional careers in higher education and their 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath house and hit the road.  Going from 1650 to 72 square feet was a challenging downsize in which the couple found “Freedom in a Can.” 

As outdoor enthusiasts and advocates for sustainability, the couple has spent the past 7.5 years traveling over 100K miles across our continent, visiting 49 states, over 85 national parks & monuments, and a few other countries.  Along the way, they visited old friends, made many new ones, found meaning through seasonal work and volunteer service, and have fallen in love with what makes our America great.  The presentation will include stories, advice, challenges, and images of the places they’ve visited.

“When we hit the road, we thought we might travel for a year, maybe a year and a half, but we’re still loving it 7.5 years in – and haven’t looked back,” says Galiardi.  They’ve been called brave, adventurous and just plain crazy, but they are dedicated to “living large by living very small.” “It is a means for us to be outside and close to the natural wonders and wilderness we want to experience, while still having the comforts of home.”

Their adventures include crossing the North Cascades Mountains (Washington) under human power, biking over 200 miles to return to a class reunion, and volunteering in a small village in Kenya.  Previously, they’ve given time to several organic farms and served as environmental educators at various centers across the nation. “Our ideal lifestyle is a balance of paid work, volunteering, and travel – committing approximately 4 months a year to each.” 

As experienced educators, the couple has taken their story on the road and online.  Over the past few years, they’ve shared their novel story with intimate college campuses and large travel industry shows.  From University of Vermont to Kenyon College, their message of thriving with less resonates with a wide audience. They also write for several online publications related to the traveling lifestyle, have a growing social media audience, and are ambassadors for a solar panel company.

The program is sponsored by: Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL), Office of Sustainability, School of Integrative Studies, University Life, the LEAD Office and Women and Gender Studies.  


Note: All photos taken by Shari Galiardi and David Hutchison