Officially Living an Airstream Life

Officially Living an Airstream Life

So we’ve done it! We have moved out of our 1500sqft. sticks and bricks house and into our 200sqft. 2005 Airstream Classic Limited Trailer. Our Airstream Life has begun and the verdict is….

We’re loving tiny living so far!

So I guess I should start at the beginning and tell the story of how we began our Airstream Life this past weekend.

Picking up the airstream

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Proud new owners!

On Thursday morning we woke up bright and early and piled into Clifford, the big red truck, for the 2 hour drive up to Mesa where Charlie, the Airstream, awaited us. Steve’s dad came along as our resident RV expert and the three of us chatted about our upcoming adventure and what we could expect. We pulled into the dealership right behind my dad who came down to help us hitch up and see how well Charlie cleaned up. The excitement built as our salesman led us out to the back of the dealership.

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Hitched up and ready for our first drive!

We had already picked out and paid for Charlie the month before but this was the first time we got to see him with a full detailing. He cleans up nice! We spent the next 2 hours going through every little detail on both the interior and exterior. How do all the lights work? How do we run our fans? How do the awnings work? A lot to learn! Then finally it was time to try and hitch up. We decided to go with a hensley hitch which was pricey but apparently is the best hitch out there (only the best for our new home!). The process of getting Charlie and Clifford hitched together took another couple of hours and quite a bit of work by Steve but success! Now came what Steve had been looking forward to the most… the drive! We said goodbye to my dad and the three of us hopped back into Charlie and pulled away…

the first drive

Heading down the highway with our home behind us!
Heading down the highway with our home behind us!

Now while Steve was looking forward to this moment for weeks, I’ve been kinda dreading it. Don’t get me wrong, Steve is the best driver I know. I trust him more than anyone else to drive me and our home. And I knew that Clifford, the big red truck, was more than fit for the job. Steve and his dad had already played with the air pressure system, the towing mirrors and the trailer braking system so we knew we were golden. However this was HUGE. This was towing our home for the very first time!

I’m happy to say that the drive went fabulously! Steve took the turns wide, signaled like the big trucks, and took it slow (but not too slow). Soon we were cruising down the highway while the hensley kept us from feeling anything from Charlie, even though it was a breezy day. We decided to make a quick stop at an abandoned outlet mall in Casa Grande so Steve could practice backing up the trailer. I got out of the truck with Steve’s dad and we worked on signalling Steve into and out of different angled “parking spots”. Steve did great! I will definitely need to practice being his guide for our future adventures!

Mostly it was a smooth drive. We had a little incident with flying hay bales on the highway but luckily most of the debri was in a different lane. That was a close one! Steve successfully maneuvered Charlie onto our cul-de-sac, in front of our sticks and bricks house on Thursday afternoon. His big jobs were done for the day. Mine was just beginning. Time to move in.

Moving in & moving out

Our new home parked in front of our old home
Our new home parked in front of our old home

We had been downsizing and getting rid of things for months for this exact moment. Thursday evening through Friday early afternoon I moved most of what we will own into our new Airstream home.

Our first meal in our new home. Takeout while we move stuff in.
Our first meal in our new home. Takeout while we move stuff in.

For a recovering perfectionist I actually didn’t plan this out too hard. I looked at it as a puzzle rather than an insurmountable task. I would tell Steve things I knew we would need this week, or wanted to keep and he would carry them out to the Airstream. Then I got to figure out where in the world everything went. Let me tell you. I knew the cabinets were small.  I knew storage was tight. What I didn’t think of was the fact that the Airstream’s walls are curved. So the backs of the cabinets are curved. Extra challenge!

By Friday at noon we were moved in! Granted there is a lot still at our old sticks and bricks including all my baking supplies, my guitar, my yarn stash, all the paperwork I haven’t scanned etc. We will be going back to the house to keep it buyer ready at least once a week and will move things down as we go. But most of what we need is moved in, including ALL of our clothes, our coats, our hiking supplies, most of what we need to cook, and Steve’s office. And believe it or not we still have empty cabinets! Once we’ve settled on how we are organizing you can anticipate a series of videos on our Youtube channel and here about how to organize your entire life in an Airstream!

Once we moved all our stuff in, officially making Charlie our new home….it was time for us to move down to where we plan to park our home for the foreseeable future. So I hopped in the truck with Steve and the girls and we took another drive, this one to our semi-permanent spot at the local KOA.

Arriving at our site: The Start of our Airstream Life

All setup! Us peaking our from beneath our Airstream home.
All setup! Us peaking our from beneath our Airstream home.

Now it was time to take what we learned at our practice sessions and put it to good use. After Steve checked us in we drove over to our new site. We picked it out specifically for it’s nice shade tree…which will prove to be important in the Arizona summer! I got out of the truck and motioned for Steve to back the trailer in. He did a great job! It took a few tries to perfectly align Charlie with our concrete patio but once done, Steve and his dad started working on getting everything on the outside setup. You can checkout Steve’s post all about it on thinksaveretire.com. Meanwhile I went inside and got windows open so I could bring the girls in from the truck. They were super confused but settled once they realized I wasn’t going anywhere.

We had our first oopsie learning moment about travel days. I knew that things moved around A LOT more than we might think while towing so I stuffed cabinets that weren’t quite full with towels to keep things from moving too much. I also moved anything fragile into areas where they wouldn’t break. All cabinets were locked. The fridge and freezer were locked. The shower was locked. I thought I was set. When I first opened up Charlie there was a distinct smell of vinegar. It turns out that one of the squeeze bottles I used to store our apple cider vinegar hadn’t been as secure as I thought. It fell over in transit and vinegar spilled down from the cabinet onto the dinette seat. Those were patted down and put outside to dry. It could have been a lot worse! The balsamic was right next to it! I know I need to secure those better next time. I also opened our tea and coffee cabinet (yes we have one of our few cabinets completely devoted to tea and coffee) and the bottom of Steve’s Aeropress fell out. Later that night we realized his metal filter was missing. We looked and looked and couldn’t find it anywhere. You would think it would be easy to find things in such a small space! O well. Amazon Prime to the rescue and another learning moment for us.

Inside our new home
Inside our new home

By the time I was all setup on the inside the guys had finished setting up our electricity, water, sewer and everything else outside. Charlie, the Airstream, is now officially our home.

We had the weekend to settle in and learn about our new home. We’ve already moved things around in some cabinets and are planning a trip to the container store in the near future for a few organizational elements. However in general we’ve already setup a routine. I have my spot on the couch. Steve has his office (the dinette for now). We know we need to turn the furnace on still at night (that’s a story for another time) and the AC on for a few hours in the afternoon if it’s not breezy. The girls love the dog park and our walks around the campground multiple times a day. We’ve already slowed down. Even with still having to work full time jobs and keeping up our sticks and bricks for a hopefully quick sale, we’re feeling the call of slow living that drew us to this life and we’re heeding it.

For now we are experiencing each new day, one at a time and enjoying them. I’m sure we have A LOT of learning experiences ahead of us and I can’t wait to share all we learn in the future with all of you.

You can checkout Steve’s take on this weekend on thinksaveretire.com.

Do you have any specific questions about our Airstream Life so far? Comment below or shoot me an email at courtney@astreaminlife.com . I would love to hear from you!

Meanwhile …

Coming Soon: Our first Astreaminlife video on our youtube channel

Steve is putting the finishing touches on our first video now. I will post as soon as it’s ready! This will be the first of many and I hope you join us on this journey through our Youtube page.

 

22 Comments

  • Jack

    April 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm Reply

    Hey congrats, it is quite inspiring. I’ll follow both blogs closely. Can’t wait too to learn about the financial details of a RV life, because this is definitely something we’d like to do some day, but always wondered about the long-term costs. We fell in love with Airstream too, it is not a model we knew and we are really not fans of the common trailers and their corrugated metal look.

    Enjoy your new life! -Jack

    • Courtney

      April 6, 2016 at 6:32 am Reply

      Hi Jack
      Thanks for the well wishes! We’ll be sure to share all the financial details of our Airstream life both while stationary and then once we’re traveling full time and hopefully boondocking a ton. We have a lot to learn but are excited about it! We weren’t originally set on traveling in an Airstream but the more research we did the more certain we became that it was the right trailer for us. We love that shiny curved metal!

  • Mary Scott

    April 6, 2016 at 4:58 am Reply

    Sounds like fun… My hubby and I are almost ready! Maybe we will see you on the road!

    • Courtney

      April 6, 2016 at 6:33 am Reply

      Hi Mary
      That would be awesome to see you on the road! Good luck on your transition!

  • […] Also: Read my wife’s take on our move into our Airstream over on her blog, A Streamin’ Life! […]

  • Kalie

    April 6, 2016 at 7:52 am Reply

    Sounds very fun! I imagine it’d be an adjustment compared to a larger home, but we love camping and being outside so I definitely see the appeal.

    • Courtney

      April 6, 2016 at 8:29 am Reply

      Hi Kalie
      It’s been a bit of an adjustment but we were very ready for it! The biggest thing is not getting in each others way (there have been some feet stepped on). We’re getting the hang of it. Thanks for reading!

  • nursepkj

    April 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm Reply

    Amazing!!! Congratulations on your next great adventure! I look forward to reading all about your experiences I stumbled across your blogs and love them all! Thanks for posting all your trials and hard work, its inspiring for the rest of us. I have got my career down to part time critical care flight nursing with long breaks in between to explore and live here in Canada. I love what I do, so its easy to work. you give me new food for thought in the early retirement plan!

    • Courtney

      April 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm Reply

      Thanks for the kind words nursepkj! It sounds like you are well on your way, and liking what you do in the meantime is a huge help! I’m glad our websites inspire. I hope you continue along on our journey!

  • Nurse on Fire

    April 7, 2016 at 4:17 am Reply

    I said essentially the same thing on your husband’s site, but I just wanted to say congratulations on your move…and I love the Airstream! My wife and I have tossed around the idea of doing the same thing and are considering doing so sometime in the next 5-ish years. Either way, I’m looking forward to hearing more about your journey and adventures, and learning about the pros and cons of full-time Airstream living. Congrats, again, and have an awesome day!

    • Courtney

      April 7, 2016 at 6:45 am Reply

      Thanks so much Brandon! It’s going to be a learning experience for sure and we’ll be sharing everything as we go, including our missteps (which I’m sure there will be plenty). I’m glad you’ll be following along!!!

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House

    April 7, 2016 at 5:25 am Reply

    Congrats again for probably the 100th time, but I’m just so excited for you! KOAs seem like a great place to start one’s RV adventure since they have all the amenities. I’m glad you’re blogging about all the deets so I can reference your tips and tricks later when we make the leap ourselves. 🙂

    • Courtney

      April 7, 2016 at 6:48 am Reply

      Hi Claudia. Thanks again 🙂 We’re pretty excited ourselves! The KOA has been great so far. We decided it would be best while we’re both still working full time to not push ourselves too much. Plus Tucson summer’s are rough so we needed someplace we felt like we could survive the heat! We will certainly be sharing lots of details along this journey, so there should be plenty of do’s and dont’s for you to reference! Hopefully more do’s but you never know 😉

  • Elaine

    April 7, 2016 at 9:32 am Reply

    Must be awesome to see your plans come into reality!!

    • Courtney

      April 7, 2016 at 10:45 am Reply

      Hi Elaine
      It is! We are so excited! My mind is on organization now. How to best use all our space (what we have of it) but we’re loving living in our tiny home!

  • […] can find more detailed accounts of our weekend picking up and moving into Charlie in our articles: Courtney’s & […]

  • […] fun of living inside a 30ft Airstream. We understood that these few months were going to be rough when we decided to move up our plans and move into our Airstream back in April. If we can live happily in this tiny space without being able to go outside much for a couple of […]

  • Michael Randolph

    June 15, 2016 at 6:12 pm Reply

    Have fun on your new adventure.

    Safe Travels

  • Michael Randolph

    June 15, 2016 at 6:21 pm Reply

    Also remember the longer the trailer the easier it is to back up. Mine is 27ft, and your trailer is 30ft so you got it made. I love making the wide right turns its awesome.
    Safe Travels

  • Thai Shares

    January 18, 2017 at 8:33 am Reply

    Remember to always check (and then double check) that the safety chain is attached to your towing hitch before you drive off.

    If you grow tired of your Airstream, you can sell it (and your truck), and then invest the proceeds in a Thai ETF.

    You can then relocate to Thailand and rent a lovely house right on a beautiful beach and the passive income you receive from your ETF will MORE than cover the monthly nut on the house.

    I wonder what Henry David Thoreau would have said about Airstreams if they existed back in his day?

    • Courtney

      January 19, 2017 at 6:30 am Reply

      Haha good backup plan for sure! I think Thoreau would think Airstreams too fancy personally. It’s a bit more luxurious than going back to basics but I’m okay with that!

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