Airstreamin'

Planning an Open Road Life: The Reasons Why

When asked why we make the big decisions we make, we too often reply with the typical “Why not?” Personally, I like to think there are several good, actual reasons for my choices, especially the big ones. My wife and I seem to have created a habit of making big decisions in short amounts of time. We met in November last year, started a relationship in January, got engaged in April, and married in June. This past Sunday morning we decided we needed a chocolate Labrador in our life. By the next morning, we found the perfect pup, paid the deposit, and named a dog we’ve not met after the South’s greatest heroine… Scarlett. (We go to pick her up later this month in Asheboro, NC, and we’re like… so totally excited about our upcoming cascade of cuteness!!) Now, to finalize our unforeseen craziness, we’ve decided on a surprising, exciting, and scary new plan. We’re going to leave our comfortable apartment that we just moved in four months ago, resign my position as high school history teacher, and live on the open road, in a remodeled 34ft. Airstream. We’re not doing this because it’s one option available to us, it’s the obvious choice. And we’ve given ourselves 8 months to make it all happen. Will people we know fully understand it? Nope. Does it sound crazy? Maybe. Does it make sense to us? Absolutely.

Our reasons are not complicated. We want to travel while working from the road, get to know some awesome people, and experience life in our favorite places. Alex is building her online business, and I’m finishing a PhD dissertation in Southern history. I also play bluegrass music, and traveled for several years performing before I started graduate school. Now that graduate school is nearing its end, I want to explore opportunities in bluegrass again. Maybe one day I’ll teach at a university, but given the terrible market for traditional jobs currently available to historians, we must be open to other avenues. Online teaching or distance learning is a possibility we are looking into. The bottom line: Alex and I want to continue building our life by employing our different talents and abilities in a more fulfilling and mobile way. The Airstream is how we plan to do that at this point. We want each day to count, to matter. Although we are not exactly sure how all the details will work out, we know that Proverbs 3:5-6 makes a lot of sense to us as we move forward.

Airstream’s famous motto for years has been “See more. Do more. Live more.” We not only see this as a really cool motto, we see it as part of God’s expectation for believers. The apostle Paul instructed Christians to “redeem the time,” not to squander it. Our faith is the guiding principle behind all that we seek to accomplish, and we feel a more mobile and intentional lifestyle at this point in our marriage is how we can best use our time in a way that is meaningful and useful. Again, we are trying to figure out just how this should happen, but we already know why. In an age when people tend to follow useless fads, looking for joy in all the wrong places, perhaps sharing our story here and in posts to follow will motivate you to make the most of YOUR time. As my Grandpa always said, life is short. Make the most of it.

-Alan James Harrelson

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4 thoughts on “Planning an Open Road Life: The Reasons Why

  1. I just know that God allowed Alexandrea and I to connect in a Facebook group for more than just her virtual assistant skills! I am so excited to see your journey unfold, as I TOO have he same dream! I’m still not sure whether I want to do it in a tiny house or an RV, but time will tell. 🙂 My grandparents always had an Airstream and took me camping with them, so those silver bullets hold a special place in my heart!

    I’ll be following along your journey with great expectation for how the Lord is going to move and be glorified! Yayyyy for online jobs!!! 🙂

    1. I am so excited that you have the same dream! There’s no doubt God had us meet that day for so much more than just a job! And all because of one little Facebook post… 🙂

  2. […] Deciding to travel and live in an Airstream full-time is a major choice that does impact others. Family and friends often do not understand such a decision, and it pushes those making the decision to grow frustrated and aloof. Family is important, and arguably the foundation of any lasting civilization, but just because someone decides to travel doesn’t mean those who love them will never see them again. If someone decides they want to travel, for whatever reason, they should be able to do so without any sense of guilt or regret. So, with that said, here’s a brief list of ways to think about negativity from others when deciding to travel full time: […]

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