Steve, myself, and the girls have lived in our Airstream for a little over one month now. I thought I would share what we’ve learned in our one month of tiny living and what we have come to understand about ourselves in that time. The passing of one month to the next is often not noted in today’s world. We don’t often sit back and think of the past 30 some days and reflect about what April meant to us. However when you change your lifestyle significantly refection seems to come more readily. We’ve certainly noticed a number of changes around us, and within our family as April progressed into May and those changes are helping us refine our WHY and continue shaping our lives to match and reflect our values.
When you live in an RV, especially when you are frugal and not running the AC or furnace 24/7, you are necessarily more in tune with nature. The sun, temperature, wind, and rain all matter and are felt in everyday life. We spent as much of April with the windows open as we could. It was a lovely cool April in southern Arizona. We only had a handful of days in the 90s, which allowed us to function with just breezy open windows and our fans circulating the air. It also meant we actually had to run our furnace many mornings in order to get the chill out of the air. We looked at the low and high temperatures for the week to gauge how our week should progress. What nights were coolest and so we could cook dinner inside and use the heat of the stove to our advantage? What days were hottest and therefore grilling out was a better option? What about the wind? It got increasingly windy as the month of April progressed and we had to pay more attention in order to ensure our awnings were properly stowed and we weren’t letting dust storms into our home. To be more in tune with a nature has been lovely, sometimes frustrating, but lovely all the same. I feel like I truly felt April and I think that feeling will help as summer temperatures creep up and we start having to spend more time inside our sterilized but cool home.
Steve and I almost never go out to eat and certainly not because we don’t like to. In fact Steve would eat out most meals if the budget allowed it, which it doesn’t. So we were used to cooking dinner together and still did most of the nights in April. However some of our food habits from our life in our sticks and bricks home changed drastically once we moved into the Airstream. We make smoothies every weekday morning for us to drink/eat as we work and although our neighbors may not appreciate our Vitamix running at 5:15am that has continued to work well. What has changed is breakfast on the weekends. We’ve started making bigger heartier, more special weekend breakfasts to be shared as we work on articles, or read, or I knit. It makes those mornings where we don’t have a schedule and can relax together that much more special. We’ve also started having dessert most nights after we take the girls for their final evening stroll. I’ve been surprising Steve each week with a new ice cream while I enjoy gluten-free cookies with strawberries. Again this is another special time before we get ready for bed to spend together as a family (because the pups love ice cream too you know). Both of these new habits are not something unique to Airstream living. We could have done either in our old home but yet we didn’t. We tended to spend those hours in two separate rooms in our home, not because we didn’t want to be together but because we didn’t think to. These two simple things are examples of how this move and the associated lifestyle change have brought us closer as a family.
One of the things touted as being a key motivator for a shift to tiny living is more free time for activities we enjoy. Without a house, and yard, and lots of things to maintain we naturally have more time for other things. I was excited to find more time to read, knit, write and practice my guitar. However April did not result in any significant increase in time spent on any of these hobbies. Partly this was due to the fact that we were still maintaining and moving out of our old home but it was also due to motivation on my part. Even with all the time in the world it is possible to not spend it on the joys we wish to pursue if we don’t actively choose to. The hour I spent browsing Instagram or Etsy was the perfect opportunity for a guitar practice session. That 30 minutes dousing on the couch was 30 minutes of wasted sock knitting. My leisure time has definitely increased since living in our sticks and bricks house but I now need to make the best use of it. I need to relax, look at the time I have in front of me, and decide what is most important to me. If that is goofing off then so be it, but at the end of May I will not be able to say that I didn’t have enough time to do the things I love, instead I will have to say that I chose not to spend the time doing the things I love and that will be a telling statement.
One of the most common comments we get when we tell people that we live in a 200 sq ft Airstream is that they could never do that unless they lived alone. It is true that being in such a small space requires a lot of time spent in close proximity with your spouse. Steve and I never worried about it and we’ve done great. I’m writing a post about what we’ve learned about keeping a happy close relationship in a tiny space, so stay tuned for that in the near future.
Another realization that has hit hard in the past month is that we really don’t need very much to be happy. We thought we understood this fact. We have been downsizing for months in preparation for this move. But it really didn’t hit home until we were discussing our budget for May and what we want to spend our home budget and fun money on. Besides unnecessary decorations to make Charlie feel more comfortable and less drab, there really isn’t much we need right now. In fact there really isn’t much we want right now. We still have storage space inside of Charlie that we could utilize and will probably eventually fill since as humans we tend to try to fill the space we have, but the simple life suits us. Everything else is icing.
Now don’t get me wrong, not everything is roses and butterflies. We’ve had sleepless nights with loud noises, the black tank smell, lp detectors chirping at 4:30am, sore heads from the lack of head space, and middle of the night jaunts to bring in the awnings with high winds, but after all that we are still happier than before and excited for the things to come. Life is an adventure. We’re certainly living it. Thank you for joining us on our journey!