This couple turned a semitrailer into a tiny home on wheels

Clayton and Theresa Balabanov
Clayton Balabanov

Retirement means different things to different people. Some envision settling into a familiar, comfortable home. Some want to spend their golden years traveling and seeing the world. It took five years of work and more than $180,000, but Clayton Balabanov got the best of both worlds: He completely gutted a full-size semitruck with trailer and turned it into a massive mobile home with all the amenities.

Balabanov told Business Insider he has some regrets about spending so much time on the project, but it’s hard to argue with the results. He and his wife, Theresa, sold their home in Vancouver, British Columbia, and have been living in the truck since September 2022.

Clayton Balabanov

The “Monster Nomad,” as Clayton dubs it, has a full kitchen, garage, a bathroom with a hot tub and a dining room with plush seating for four — and that’s just on the first floor. A spiral staircase leads up to a living area complete with a library full of Teresa’s favorite books.

Clayton Balabanov

There’s a washer/dryer combo and a bedroom with a sliding bed to maximize space. The top part of the trailer even folds out in the back to become a balcony where the Balabanovs can survey the scenery.

Clearly, Clayton didn’t want to just use the home for an occasional jaunt. As he tells it to Insider, commercial RV units “just didn’t seem like they would stand up to the year-round use.”

To get exactly the kind of mobile mansion he was looking for, he bought an older-model truck and then found the all-important used trailer on eBay. He spent the next five years completely gutting both and rebuilding them from the wheels up, adding a completely new engine, brakes and more. He says Teresa gathered the materials, but Clayton did the bulk of the work himself. By the end of the project, he had spent $250,000 Canadian dollars, or roughly $180,000 U.S. An exorbitant price for a truck, but a pretty inexpensive price for a house — which is basically what the Balabanovs ended up with.

Today, the couple is living out their dream of roaming the country in their mammoth mobile home. You can follow their adventures on the Nomad Monster YouTube page, where the Balabanovs continue to explore Canada and the U.S.

DIY & Improvement, Home, Life, Travel
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About the Author
Tod Caviness
Tod covered everything from nightlife to Orlando's literary scene (yes, it has one) during his 11 years with the Orlando Sentinel. These days, he's a freelance journalist and recovering poet who lives in Central Florida with his lovely wife, two brilliant kids and one underachieving dog. Visit Scripps News to see more of Tod's work.

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