Alex and I made the plunge, like, 5 days ago. Now, I know many bloggers write first impression posts, including lots of negative ideas about things they didn’t expect. And though we too have experienced our own challenges over the past several days, let me assure you of something, dear reader: the benefits ALWAYS outweigh the shortcomings. Each choice a person makes comes with its ups and downs. Our decision to live in an Airstream is certainly no exception. So let me share with you some things that we have gone through since we left South Carolina almost a week ago.
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First, there are some obvious inconveniences. Both Alex and I rely on internet connection for our income, and that issue alone has been the only source of contention between us. She likes to have internet 24/7 (but, then again, who doesn’t?) I don’t mind not having internet all day, as long as I can find some kind of connection for about an hour or two at a time to write emails to my students and download a couple articles for my research. Alex has built a successful business by responding to clients quickly, and getting work done in a timely fashion. I guess a pointer I would have for anyone interested in working from the road is to make sure your clients understand your life situation. Customers need to understand upfront that you may not be able to respond to an email at a moment’s notice.
Another inconvenience has to do with weather and unforeseen circumstances. Last night, we arrived in Gettysburg, PA. It was pouring rain while we tried to find a grocery store, load the Airstream with food, and then find our campsite and set everything up so we could finally rest after 5 hours of driving. The biggest lesson I’ve had to learn is that I absolutely cannot control most things that happen on the road. The weather is not always going to be perfect. The campsites are not always going to be picturesque. But, if you’re going to live in an Airstream, one has to get over all that. You’ve got to learn to adapt to changing circumstances.
Read more: Airstream Remodel: The Final Reveal
That’s about it for the inconveniences that I would say are major for us. The benefits are far more interesting. Last week, I left a full-time teaching job that, although it served as a major outlet for ministry, just wasn’t where I wanted to be during this point in life. Not having to leave my wife and work for someone else 40 hours a week is a major, major benefit. Now I teach online college courses and have the freedom to work from wherever I can find occasional internet access. Let me say that most of the opportunities for remote work didn’t come our way until AFTER we decided to live in the Airstream. We decided to do this without much understanding about how we would finance it. We literally took a leap of faith in deciding to pour several thousand dollars into our remodel. But that’s soooo important: leaps of faith take you farther than you realize.
For the past several days we stayed at the Virginia Highland Haven Airstream Park, just outside Floyd, Virginia. We parked our rig atop a gorgeous ridge and experienced one of the grandest sunsets I’ve ever seen. We left the windows open all the time, and woke up to the sound of birds chirping (as well as Scarlett and Belle whining for their breakfast.)
Last night we pulled into a really, really tight campsite at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, just north of the Gettysburg battlefield. For a split second, I questioned my ability to get it in the hole. But alas! My skills proved worthy. After we finished setting up, I noticed a few hiker dudes say as they walked by the Airstream, “Whoa! It’s a monster! It’s like, a whale!” I just smiled. Eventually I approached them and found out they had been hiking the Appalachian Trail since March. The park here is home to the halfway point on the trail, so I discovered.
And this morning, I am writing this post from a little general store/diner at Pine Grove. Here it is 9 AM, and I just finished eating this wonderful western style breakfast wrap, complete with two cups of coffee. The hikers are back. They are telling me about their adventures on the trail, as well as their upcoming journey to Maine. This morning they are undertaking what’s known around these parts as “the half-gallon challenge”… total consumption of a half-gallon tub of ice cream in a matter of minutes. OMG. They hope to finish the trail in 3 more months. They will hike 20 miles today. I think two of them are from England. I mean, this is super cool. I’ve only been doing this for 5 days and I’ve had more conversations with more people than I ever had by staying put in one place.
So here’s the moral of the story. Sure, there are obvious adjustments one has to make when living on the road. But the benefits are the biggest surprise. If you’re thinking about living in an Airstream/RV, then go for it. Most people are capable of far more than they or those around them are able to admit.
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