Ella Saul isn’t your average year 12 graduate.
She didn’t spend her final year at high school cramming for a gruelling series of exams, or aiming for an impressive university entrance ranking.
Instead the 18-year-old, from Newcastle in New South Wales, spent her last year of school doing a combination of self-directed learning, completing open university courses, and working on a major project.
Ms Saul decided she would build her own tiny house and install it on the back of a ute.
“As a kid I’ve always loved travelling and I did it a lot with my family,” she said.
“To be able to have my own space, take it wherever I want, and not have to pay rent or look after a mortgage and always have somewhere to stay was really important to me.
“I felt like this was a good opportunity to do it.”
Learning to build was ‘a challenge’
The novice builder admitted she had to learn everything from scratch.
“No, I’d never built anything before, so that was quite a challenge to learn all those skills,” she said.
“But my teacher had built a house before and a boat, and so he really guided me through this process.
“The box has two sections, one slides over the other and there are metal actuators on the inside that are powered by a 12-volt battery.
“They extend so the box will raise up and you have room to stand.
“I’m going to get a solar panel that will charge the battery, and that’s all I really need because everything runs off that.
“There’ll be a kitchen and a bed. For showers and toilets, I’ll just find public ones.”