Doesn’t living full time in an Airstream sound romantic? The idea of waking up every morning and not having to go to work. The freedom to go anywhere you want. Drinking coffee while the sun is rising through the windows of the trailer and wondering what you’ll do that day.
Well, I did just that. I quit my job, bought an Airstream, and hit the road full time. I needed a rest from the stress of my job and from some recent life events that happened. To say the least, I was at a breaking point and needed a change.
I will share with you how I made the transition to full-time Airstreaming from a 3 bedroom house and a full-time corporate job. These are the steps I took and recommend that you think about if you are planning on living full time in an RV.
Start With Your Why
First, start with your why. Why do you want to live in an Airstream full time? Are you just tired of your current life? Are you hoping to find your spiritual self while on the road? Does it sound romantic. Or, are you a free spirit who lives life in the moment and wants to experience as much as you can, while you can?
My reason was a bit of all the above. But, the lesson I learned is that wherever I go, there I am. What that means is that all the baggage I had such as stress, anxiety, negative self-talk, and the life events that happened to me were all there when I was in my Airstream trailer. None of that went away.
Of course, not having to go to work every day was nice but I was really the same person with the same neuroses that I had before I set out in my Airstream.
So, think about why you want to do this and be brutally honest with yourself.
Make a Plan
Next, make a plan. And, to do this, you’ll want to refer back to your “why”. Why are you living full time in an Airstream? This was probably the biggest lesson I learned.
When I set out to live the freedom lifestyle, I didn’t really have a plan. I didn’t know where I was going to go. I didn’t have any goals. I figured that I would figure it out as I went. That I would discover myself on some spiritual journey, the stars would align and I would discover my purpose in life.
Now, maybe this really was my plan. After all, for me it worked out well. But, it was a struggle for a while. I spent my days trying to figure out what to do. Where to go. And, asking myself the question, what am I really doing out here?
I think if I had set out on my journey with a plan of some sort, or a goal, things may have been different. I’m a north-star, have-to-have-a-goal, kind of person. So, not having a goal or having something to work on, drove me nuts.
I ended up finding my purpose and setting some pretty lofty goals and they all hatched while I was full-timing in my Airstream. So, while the struggle was real, it had a happy ending.
So, my best advice to you is to have a plan or a goal for your trip. Maybe it’s to visit all lower 48 states. Or, to find a job and work in all the lower 48 states. Or, do volunteer work in every state. Or, maybe your goal is to find your goal, like it was for me. And, that’s ok.
Quit Your Job
If you are still employed, you’ll need to plan your exit and quit your job. Do it right and don’t burn any bridges. You might even be able to negotiate some part-time or consulting work that you can do from the road if that’s something you’re interested in doing. You are a known entity to your employer and with everyone working remotely these days, they might jump at that opportunity.
It never hurts to ask.
What Will You do With the House?
Next, decide what you will do with your current home. If you own it, will you sell it and use some of the proceeds to finance your Airstream life? Will you rent it out with the thought of possibly coming back to it one day?
If you are a renter, think about any penalties you might incur if you break your lease early. Perhaps you can time your exit to coincide with the end of your lease.
I sold my house. It felt like the right thing to do for me at the time. I figured that if it didn’t work out, I could always find a new place to live.
Downsize Your Stuff
Before you sell your house or give up your apartment, you’ll need to get rid of some stuff. Lots of stuff.
There is not a lot of storage room in an Airstream trailer. First, make a list first of all the things you are going to need. And, be real specific. 5 pairs of underwear. 4 pairs of socks. 4 t-shirts. 4 pairs of shorts. 2 dinner plates. 2 coffee cups. And so on.
I found that I wore the same things pretty much all the time. And, could rinse out socks and underwear when I needed to. Think minimalism. Write down only the stuff you need. You won’t have room for it.
Check out my article on how to downsize your life if you want more details. It’s “How To Downsize Your Life – 6 Easy Steps!”.
Get your Airstream (or RV)
I did not already have an Airstream so I needed to get one. I decided to buy one outright. If you’re not sure or don’t have the financing available to buy one, rent one and try it out first. It’s a lot easier to turn it in if the freedom Airstream lifestyle ends up not being what you thought it would be.
Think about what kind of Airstream (or any RV for that matter) you want. What’s important to you? Do you want to tow a trailer or do you want a Touring Coach.
The 22-foot Eddie Bauer was perfect for me. It had enough room to feel like I wasn’t cramped all the time. It had a bathroom and a nice kitchen area. It had a nice bedroom in the rear with panoramic windows, which I loved. I wanted to be able to unhitch my trailer and have a vehicle to use when I needed it.
Get Your Finances in Order
Do you have enough money to finance your Airstream lifestyle? Or, do you plan on working from the road? I met a lot of people who were full-timers on the road and would work odd jobs wherever they could. Some would work at the RV park. Others started online businesses or travel blogs and figured out ways to make money online.
Get your bank accounts in order. Know where your money is and how you’ll access it when needed. Set up automatic payments where you can.
Finally, decide where you will go and where you’re going to stay each night. I chose to spend a month at a time at a different RV park. I enjoyed putting down roots for a bit and being able to meet new people and build some relationships, for what little time I had there.
I met other people who liked to save money by boon docking as much as possible and then stay at an RV park for a night or two to enjoy the facilities, dump their tanks, etc.
This will most likely go hand-in-hand with what you came up with in the first two steps (what is your why) and (what is your plan). If you’re on a mission, you’ll most likely have an idea of where you’re going and when you want to get there.
I’d love to hear about your journey. Leave a comment below and let me know how you’re doing.