In our post Why We’re Moving Into an Airstream, I told you about the ‘a-ha’ moments that lead my wife and me to seek a streamlined, more fulfilling life fueled by our passions. So how does that turn into “Living in an Airstream Fulltime” you ask?
It all starts the first day back home after our vacation to Isla Holbox. After dinner, while reminiscing on the trip we come to the same realization – our normal routine is empty, soulless, and simply not what we wanted out of life.
Sure, we all want a permanent vacation, and it’s always tough to get back into the swing of things after a great trip – but this was different. While on the island, we stripped away all the things we typically equated with happiness – TV, movies, electronics, whirlpool tubs, extra bedrooms, roomy closets, fancy clothes, espresso machines, Starbucks, etc – and we found a lifestyle infinitely more fulfilling than the one we live every day. And this time, we decide to do more than gripe, and that is the single biggest turning point that leads us to where we want to be.
The Turning Point
Spending a week in an hut really makes a 2 bedroom Chicago condo seem extravagant.
We came home from the trip, opened the door, dropped our bags, and almost instantly realized that this is not where we want to be anymore.
Looking at the things we just spent a week doing without made us realize just how meaningless “things” really are to our happiness. Like Neo, unplugged from the Matrix and seeing the real world for the first time, we looked at each other and gave out an audible “Ugh.”
It reminds me of a section in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club: A Novel:
You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got the sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug.
Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.
The stuff surrounding us really doesn’t make us any happier, healthier, or better. In fact, it pulls us farther away from the things we really want out of life, like travelling, learning from experiences, and spending more time with each other, friends and loved ones.
Creating a Better Lifestyle Design
Our first order of business is to create a clear set of goals. We’re all about goals here – you MUST have a direction. Otherwise, you’re just burning gas.
We start with a list of our broad goals for the life we want to live:
- We want to spend more quality time with each other.
- We want to travel and experience more.
- We want enough money to afford the lifestyle that makes us most content.
- We want to work less for other people, more for ourselves.
- We want to enjoy our waking hours not dread them.
- We want to leave a small environmental footprint on the places we live and visit.
Next we ask the question “How would we create a Lifestyle Design to achieve these goals?” If you’re not familiar with the term, here’s a pretty good Lifestyle Design definition by Clay Collins.
At first we thought about international travel – we could backpack, or rent apartments around the world and experience life as locals. We would earn money doing freelance or other local work. It would be a dream come true!
Unfortunately, one thing most Lifestyle Design enthusiast downplay or simply don’t talk about is the reality of your current situation. Living and travelling abroad while working a 4 hour week is a fantastic way to live, but it simply isn’t a great fit for us right now.
We have a dog that we love and couldn’t stomach leaving her for any amount of time, let alone for months of quarantine. Secondly, I really enjoy my career as a video game producer and I want to achieve more with it before we completely unplug from the grid, so to speak.
It’s nice to have goals and dreams, but we think its best to temper those dreams with a good reality filter first.
And finally, about that Airstream…
So we decide to add the constraint of time – what lifestyle are we trying to create within the next 5 years?
We want to travel, but we also need to take our dog and stay close enough to a place where I can continue my career . Then it dawns on us. Travel doesn’t have to mean international only, and home doesnt have to be a place with a foundation. That’s when we started looking at RVs.
Living in an RV fulltime is a brilliant match for the lifestyle we want. With fewer things, and a more mature understanding of our lifestyle goals, living in a small space is much more appealing than the trial that was our first apartment. It allows us to have the streamlined living and travel we both want AND I can complete my career goals. It’s also a great fit because we instantly fell in love with camping, RVs, and the RVing community.
After attending lots of RV shows and trying out several models and brands, it wasn’t long before we found and fell in love with the quality of Airstreams. They represent what we want and need to uphold a lifestyle of travel and fulltime RV living. After a long search, we find the perfect little Airstream that we lovingly dub “The Weasel.” We cut our teeth with some camping trips, as you can read about in our Airstream and Camping sections, and we learn that this is exactly the lifestyle we want.
Read how its going so far in the next article, From Chicago Condo to RV Living (in Less than a Year).
As always, thank you for following our story here on Weaselmouth.com. If you see something here you’d like to talk about, please leave a comment, find us on Facebook or Twitter, or email us. We look forward to hearing from you!