Two musicians are making their dream of travelling and inspiring people across the country a reality by building a tiny home on wheels.
Indigenous singer and songwriter Marcia Chum-Gibbons, who used to live in Timmins, and her husband Chris Gibbons are planning to travel the country in a tiny home, sharing it as a stage with musicians along the way.
“We just want to travel across Canada and give people an opportunity to share what they have to say through music,” Chum-Gibbons said.
They planned to complete the structure of the house over the weekend and are planning to finish the whole project by the end of October.
The couple, who lives in Ottawa, started the construction in June. The house will be solar panel generated, and the roof will be used as the stage. The house is eight feet wide, 30 feet long and 11 feet high, with a two-bedroom loft inside and a slide-out.
Chum-Gibbons said they want to start a mini-series of their travel and post an episode on their Facebook page, Gibbons Girl, and YouTube every Sunday to let people know what they’re doing and where they’re going.
“We’re going to try spread the word out … and people can just come out, bring their stuff, sit down and enjoy these musicians that are going to be playing,” she said. “It’s basically like an open mic night.”
The couple met during the pandemic in 2020.
Chum-Gibbons met Gibbons through Facebook in May. A few weeks later, they met in North Bay. They got engaged on their second date and got married in October.
For her, it was love at first sight and she knew Chris was the man she wanted to marry.
When they first moved to Ottawa, they lived on a campsite at a provincial park for the summer before moving into an apartment. Chum-Gibbons said they didn’t know where they would go but they were sure they wanted to be together.
“We want to inspire people to live their dreams. We were told we’re nuts sometimes,” she said. “You don’t have to live by society’s rules … Just follow your dreams and visions you have. Life is too short to wonder 'if'. We don’t want to have any regrets.”
Chum-Gibbons, who works from home, has three children, and Gibbons, who's a welder, has two kids.
Their two youngest sons, Gibbons’ friend Ben and Chum-Gibbons’ middle son have been helping them out with the project, too.
“We wanted to teach our kids that if you want a dream of yours to come true, you have to put in the work. And we want to instill these values in our boys,” Chum-Gibbons said. “And this is their home, too, so we wanted them to be a part of that. It’s a family gig.”
Chum-Gibbons, who’s been watching videos of people building mobile homes, discussed the idea with her husband. One day, when they were travelling to Kapuskasing, they saw a bus on the highway and Gibbons suggested buying a bus. The idea turned into building a tiny home, a house they could bring anywhere with them.
“We didn’t intend to do that, it kind of happened when people started falling in love with and being inspired with our story and how we met,” she said.
Chum-Gibbons, who was nominated for the Native American Music Awards, said she wanted to share music in a different way, not how the music industry would tell her.
The couple is going to plan their route during the winter and hit the road once spring comes. Chum-Gibbons’ dream is to visit British Columbia.
“We’re going to go with the flow and see where the road takes us,” she said.
She will start looking for grants for camera equipment and editing programs to make videos for their mini-series. They may also need extra equipment for musicians who are going to perform on their stage.
The duo is excited to share their story and music with others. They both see music as a universal language that makes people feel good.
“Whether you’re listening, playing or singing, music just brings out a lot of awesome emotion in people. And that’s what we want to create,” Chum-Gibbons said. “The fact that we found each other and we both want to do that is amazing. I never thought I’d be travelling in my own home across Canada sharing that and I think it’s amazing.”
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com