In less than 2 months, Tiffani and I will be moving into an Airstream travel trailer to live full time. When we tell people about our plans, the majority come back with a resounding “Good for you!” or “I wish I could do that!” But then, there are always the few who don’t quite follow. You can almost see the terror in their eyes at the thought of living in such a small place with (GASP!) no permanent address!
We sometimes have a little devilish fun with these folks by delving deeper into our plans. Just to see their heads spin, we’ll say things like:
“We also have a 50lb Dog!”
“We’ll share 1 closet!”
“We’ll have no cable tv!!!”
But in the end, we keep their concerns in mind, because after all, we’re in a minority of our own.
Few people decide to make the leap from living in a 1100+ square foot house to a 200 sq ft RV. Even fewer decide to do so of their own free will. We realize there will be challenges, and more importantly, we realize there are reasons so few try this lifestyle.
Sure, we have moments of concern, gotchas, and even panic as we plan for this move, but so far, we’ve found them all rooted in just a few basic fears. So, we thought it would be a good idea to jot a few of the big fears down now and discuss them, before we move into the Airstream. Hopefully some of you will raise questions we’ve not thought of yet or, at a minimum, we’ll have something to fondly ridicule each other about once we figure out just how unwarranted these fears were in the first place.
Fear #1 – The Unknown
When we list our biggest fears of moving into an Airstream, The Unknown has to be the most far reaching. As human beings, it seems that everything we do starts with a healthy fear of what we don’t know about it.
A close friend of mine once told me “You can’t control what you can’t do anything about.” This phrase floats through my brain at least once a day. It helps me deal with the mini panic attacks caused by the occasional wild “what if” scenarios that pop into my head. You know, things like:
Crazy me: “OMG what if there’s a hail storm??”
Rational me: “We have great insurance and we’ll try to park under cover as often as we can.”
Crazy me: “But what if we need to take the Airstream in for repairs? Whatever will we do then?”
Rational me: “We have good friends and plenty of pet friendly hotel options around. The money we save on a mortgage will help pay for the room.”
You get the idea. The fact is, you’ll never be able to plan for all the things you don’t know about. Ultimately, there are more than enough rational answers to satisfy The Fear of The Unknown living in your head. Just make sure you give yourself a little breathing room in between panic attacks to hear them. Counting to 5 helps.
Fear #2 – Failure
As the move-in date draws near (tentatively set for Feb. 12, 2011), we’re speeding closer to becoming “thingless”, having given away, donated, or sold all but ~150 of our worldly possessions. We would be insane to never ask the question – “What if this crazy plan of ours doesn’t work – what if it fails?”
Our current life situation helps calm our fears about this. I’ve got a great job I’m not willing to leave – and that requires my presence in Dallas. This job also allows us to get a financial jump start on our ultimate dream of living fulltime in the Airstream. The nice thing about living in the Airstream full time right now, is that it’s almost like a trial run. Of course its the real thing for us, and we’ll try every avenue to make it work. But, in case it all goes to hell and we have no option but to move out of the trailer, our fallback is to simply find an apartment, find a place to store the trailer, and go back to the life we live now – not too bad, eh?
How can this apply to you? Well, it actually uses two simple principles that we use every day.
- Only worry about the things you can control.
- Visualize the worst case scenario and have a backup plan for it.
With both of these principles in place, Tiff and I sail right by most of our major fears with confidence.
Fear #3 – Fear of Safety
Let me explain the strikethrough. Safety, or lack of, is a major concern and one we take very seriously. But we’re not going to live in fear because of it. Applying the two simple rules above, we are going to be prepared for the things we can control – we’ve got excellent insurance, upgraded locks on everything, alarm systems, and safes. We’ve talked through the worst possible outcomes of various safety concerns and how we would choose to deal with each if they occurred. We’ve got pretty good plans for even the wildest safety issues, and we’re not afraid to use them, so really, this just isnt a fear to us now as much as it is our responsibility.
Fear #3 – Fear of Claustrophobia-induced Mania
Ah, the space issue. This is the number one question we get from skeptics of our plans:
“How are you going to live in such a small space?”
For us, living in a tight space isn’t really much of a change. We started out in a small 1 bedroom apartment in Chicago, spent many-a-night in our 22′ Airstream before selling her, and most recently, we mainly keep in the bedroom, kitchen, or back patio of our rental house in Texas. We’ve minimalized our life down to just under 150 things between the both of us, and hope to dwindle that number even more once we move. Honestly, we wouldn’t know what to do with more space if we had it.
But that’s how we feel now. What about in 2 years after living in less than 200 square feet? After all, we are territorial animals. Will we irritate each other by simply moving in bed at night? Or by walking to the bathroom? or by … HEY! Fear of the Unknown Guy! Get the hell out of here! Like any successful couple, we’ll be courteous, mindful of each others’ space and communicate. What could go wrong with that?
We Confessed – Now It’s Your Turn!
So how about you? Are you in the “I wish i could do that!” camp? If so, what’s stopping you? Or, are you more of a “Why would you want to live in an Airstream?” kind of person? What’s your biggest beef with the idea?