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Chapter1: A Retirement Gone Sideways


I’m just going to come out and say it. I tried to retire at the age of 26 and failed. What does this have to do with the treehouse? Well, my attempt at retirement seems to be the critical link between my former career as a software developer, and my new career as a carpenter. Let me explain, in objective terms, what happened.


Backing up a step or two… I graduated from Software in 2003 and landed a job in Whistler, a recreational mecca, just North of Vancouver BC. I, and a few others were building a social platform, that would become the ultimate interest-based social network. We had our sights set on Facebook, but sadly, the owner ran out of funding and we folded in 2006.


That’s when I got the clever idea to retire. The ill-conceived plan was to petition the masses with a global fundraiser for my own retirement. I had enough savings to live for about a year while I attempted to execute the retirement stunt. The only problem was, the stunt was harder than it sounded on paper. I toiled and schemed, but just couldn’t come up with a hook that would give the fundraiser the traction it needed to work.


While I was waiting for the million dollar idea to dawn on me, I started recording my pre-retirement exploits. The newfangled filming kick led me so far off track that I ended up living on a homestead with an old man and had no access to the internet or the outside world. By then I had almost depleted my funds and my chances of retiring by the age of 26 were diminishing beyond all hope. The retirement would have to wait for another year. In the mean time, I needed a job…


Chapter2: My Foray into Carpentry


  • Graham Holborn says:

    Im a vancouver based front end web developer and my second love is carpentry. Hi.

  • Anne Agoren says:

    We only have one life and you need to fill it with your dreams and ambitions, as life is far too short. I admire what you did.

  • Incredulous in England says:

    Retire at the age of 26?? Dude, you have nothing to retire FROM at the age of 26.

  • YOURKING says:


  • FIrezombie says:

    This is a great story! The hemloft is amazing I too have often have dreamed of building a neo-modern cabin\tree-house in a nice quiet place – but my dream included purchasing the land 😉 I hope its stays just where it is, good luck!

  • Lisa says:

    I dont understand! Are you saying you where trying to get other people to pay for your retirement?

  • Ginger Eden says:

    I think hes saying he had a get rich quick plan to be able to retire that didnt quite work out. Whys everyone being so hostile and sarcastic? Lord, like we all havn’t made a bad financial decision here and there. Hes trying to share something special with everyone and takeing a big risk in doing so- at least show some respect and class.

    • Bertha says:

      How is he trying to “share” something special with everyone? I think what he is trying to do is simply get to keep his little tree house so he can keep living in it for free on property that isn’t his, just like he is trying to get by in life completely free off of the help of others (i think it’s a shameless of him to admit that he tried to raise money from everyone else so that HE could retire). I’m sorry but that is simply not reality. I LOVE his idea though (I honestly give him credit for his creativity), maybe he should start some kind of construction company or get into architecture 🙂

  • ch says:

    So it was built on government land? The government should keep it as is and then make a few more trees available to other people to build on. The houses could remain government property with each builder given access to the houses they built for a few weeks each year.

    • Pam Rymanowicz says:

      What they should do is hire him to make more then rent them as rustic cottages, possibly give him a small royalty (for the idea & the building of the “demo”). People need more places to escape from this crazy world, and I think it’s a great idea that could become a new craze if promoted properly!

  • Gijs says:

    Building on all tree-trunks in government land Joel!
    I became an Architect after being a carpenter, in that way there is a future for you.

  • Jeff says:

    The concept of the pod itself is absolutely inspiring. However: I haven’t gotten past this page on your website yet, and I’m not trying to be negative here, but I’m also not grasping the get rich quick and retirement at age 26 thing. I always tell my kids: If something is really noble, it should be something everybody could do without exploiting others who don’t do it. That’s a tall order for sure, but at least the intention of looking after others, and not just yourself, ought to be there. In the meantime, best wishes to you, and congratulations on an inspiring piece of architecture and maybe even urban planning!

  • THE HEMLOFT says:

    […] going broke in the wake of a botched retirement campaign at the ripe age of 26, it was a by-chance encounter with a true wilderness man that […]

  • Jan says:

    I have not read all your blog but it looks wonderful so far. That said there are so many people out there older and hungrier than you. Do you think its right for you just to collect money and retire at 26? I hope life has taught you the value of work and helping others.

  • Chris says:

    Easy folks, he realized he wanted to depart from the regular rat race a bit on the early side. He’s being honest, let’s not be so quick to judge.

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