From the pages of I RVing: Fall 2022

Inside the Tiny Side of Tiny

Meet an RV innovator who gears his entire AT NO POINT Tom Burick lived a conventional life. Unless building your own robotics company without a degree is conventional. Or rubbing shoulders with tech giants. Or teaching special education in the desert. Or, for that matter, handcrafting a custom trailer for his Vespa scooter. But if you know anything at all about Tom, you realize these are just facts of his life—not the vainglorious credential stacking that marks our times. Tom’s not interested in all that. What he is interested in though is human connection. And for that, his little Vespa trailer is the perfect catalyst. trailer for human connection.

The things that some people see as limitations, I see as an opportunity

Today, when Tom pulls into an Arizona town, his Vespa and custom trailer—both painted Max Meyer Blu 21—are conversation starters. And they’re meant to be. Originally, Tom had the idea to build a tiny trailer that his special ed class would love, but the project quickly took on larger dimensions. Just talking about it, Tom leaps into name-dropping a list of local friends: his friend Rob who helped get the basic shape down; his friend Lucy, who’s really good with poor man’s fiberglass; his friend Jessie, who welded the aluminum frame. Tom says, “We start assembling this, and the garage door is open the whole time we’re working. And the people in the neighborhood would walk past.

And it would stop people dead in their tracks, and they would approach us with smiles and questions.” Tom gets a little emotional as he shares his revelation, “At one point, Lucy and I looked at each other, and we were like, ‘This is so much more.’ ” Very quickly, Tom realized that connection was part of the trailer’s makeup. “I couldn’t have done it without the help of friends. I’m a maker, and I’m really skilled in a lot of areas. But the collaboration was part of the human connection, and those skill sets from my friends created something significantly greater than the sum of its parts.” In all, it took two and half months, working a few weeknights and on weekends. Tom recalls, “There was excitement. There was a passion for it.

The most beautiful part is that it happened so spontaneously.” Even with the spontaneity of its origins, don’t be fooled: The trailer is riddled with intentionality. The weight is rigorously tailored to suit Vespa’s towing capacity. The interior is built to be cozy. The range is limited, and you won’t spot it tearing new trails off road. But Tom looks at it a different way, “The things that some people see as limitations, I see as opportunities.

Spending a little time with Tom, you feel no need to rush—so, we won’t. Stay tuned for a full feature that journeys from his mercurial past to his meditative present in our Winter issue.

One such opportunity is a deeper exploration of what’s close by. His lack of supplies keeps him buying locally. And his small camping signature means folks don’t mind if he asks to camp on their property. Again, everything leads to connection.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top