He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

August 15, 2011


Airstream!I have a secret dream, that isn't so secret anymore, and that dream is this: to sell our house and all of our excess belongings, buy a travel trailer, and spend our lives wandering North America at will.

I've been wanting to do this for a few years now, but I don't mention it much, because at first blush, it sounds so crazy and drastic. Whenever I mention it to Matt, he's on board only in a non-committal, "Yeah, that sounds nice" in an abstract, never-gonna-happen, or maybe someday in the far future when we're older and richer and ready to retire because that's an old person's dream, kind of way.

But the other day I discovered this lady, who is about our age and is totally doing it, and doesn't seem crazy at all, and in fact seems like she couldn't be happier. And I'm so jealous of her I could spit. And that led me down a rabbit trail of discovering more and more people of my generation who are opting out of the traditional American Dream of our parents and instead taking full advantage of the fact that we live in the future and have jobs that can be done from anywhere that the Internet reaches, and living as full-time travelers/adventurers while they're still young enough and healthy enough to fully enjoy it. Because why should it be an old person's dream?

I spent the weekend following that rabbit trail and shooting down objections. We can't do it if we have a baby. But wait! These people are totally doing it with a baby! And this couple is doing it with their two impossibly adorable little girls! But we can't do it with three cats. But here's a whole discussion thread on road tripping with cats! And here's another one!

Of course, other objections/obstacles are a little harder to get around. It's too early to sell our house—we need to live here at least two more years to avoid penalties, and three more years to build up enough equity to do anything worthwhile. We need to pay off our mounting consumer debt. We need to have a freelance income that's more stable and, well, more. So we're still a few years out from actually being able to do this. And I need to work on getting Matt more concretely on board. But man, do I ever want to do this.

My family and people who knew me back when will probably be shocked; primarily because I lived in an Airstream for a semester when I attended OU and I was mostly miserable. I think part of the reason I want this so badly now is because, looking back, I was so miserable because I simply did it wrong. I was still enslaved to my belongings and I didn't know how to give stuff up, so I lived in a hoarder's nest of clutter crammed into about 120 square feet. I was also earning barely more than minimum wage and trying to pay my own way through college, and when the weather turned cold, I couldn't afford to keep my propane tanks filled, so I was just cold. A lot. And it was parked in the heart of tornado alley, so any nights that held any hint of a storm or high winds, I did not sleep. And those nights were also a lot. And this isn't even touching on the depression I was already fighting a losing battle with before I even moved into the trailer.

And there's also the fact that living in a travel trailer in a trailer park, even a very nice trailer park with a cute little yard like I had, is very different from living in a travel trailer anywhere the hay you want because it actually travels, and you can have the ocean as your front yard one morning and the mountains the next, and you can live where it's warm in the winter and where it's cool in the summer, and during tornado season you can just drive to where they don't have tornadoes.

I'm also very drawn, as I get older, to a simple, uncluttered lifestyle. I used to be such a collector, but now I look around at the things I've collected—that I haven't already eBayed or otherwise gotten rid of—and all I see is crap that's collecting dust and taking up space. I crave less stuff. I crave more white space in my life, and uncluttered coziness, and organization.

So. This is a goal I'm going to be setting. Of course, goal #1 is to get Matt to agree to this goal. And that might happen never. Or we might have our baby (God-willing) and I'll totally lose interest in this. Or who knows what else might happen in the intervening years to change one or both of our minds. But for now? This is a dream I want to chase. So you can expect more travel- and trailer- and living small-related posts here in the future. Which has got to be a happier topic array than grief and RPL/IF, right? I think the distraction will do us all some good.


Cynthia said...

Knowing you've got a couple years gives you time to do research and get plans laid.  What's the worst that can happen?  Plans change.  If that's the case at least you're living a less cluttered life and that's always good. 

Jean Bauhaus said...

 This is what I'm saying. Even if we never do this, getting ourselves to a position where it's an option is definitely a worthwhile goal.

David Michael said...

I'm a big fan of crazy and drastic. =)

Jean Bauhaus said...

Me too! But my husband's a big fan of being careful and mulling things over. It makes me want to shake him sometimes, but it's generally a pretty good balance. =)

malimish said...

My husband was the one who wanted to buy the Airstream and go go go! I was more hesitant. I have NO idea how he got me to change my mind, but I am so thankful that he did. Seeing the country with our kids and our cat was so so awesome. We are in the midst of planning another extended road trip. Hope to see you on the road one of these days :)


Jean Bauhaus said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marlene!  I can't wait to get caught up on your European Adventure.

My husband is starting to come around. He's pretty much on board with getting a trailer someday, but I don't think he's quite sold on the part where we sell our house and belongings to help finance our adventure and make it our full-time lifestyle. But I've still got a while to keep working on him.

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