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Our Crazy Plan

My husband is notorious for his crazy ideas-it’s what I love about him. Nothing is out of his reach or impossible. For me, everything is impossible, so I admire his ambition and courage and I have had some amazing adventures because of him. That being said, every now and then I have to seriously question some of these ideas. Is quitting our jobs and moving to South America a good idea when we’ve never been there? Is buying a farm in southwestern Virginia wise when we know nothing about farming? These are just a sample of questions I have asked on numerous occasions in the last few years. So, you can imagine my response when Chris said, “Hey! Let’s sell all of our belongings, buy an Airstream, and live on the road!” Of course, I did my typical response of, “You’ve truly lost your mind this time” because we had never been in an Airstream nor do we know anything about RV living. His Airstream idea seemed immature, crazy, impractical, and surprisingly, irresistible. While I had fears, the excitement of it all buried those fears quickly and I was onboard with this idea. Approximately 160 sq. ft. of aluminum bliss and the country as my backyard…who wouldn’t go for that idea?

The idea started in January. By April, we were the proud owners of a 2008 Airstream International CCD 23’. By the end of May, we had sold the majority of our belongings and had put the rest in a storage unit.

On June 1, 2009, after a whirlwind five months, we departed Blacksburg, Virginia and set off for our new adventure.  We rushed across the southern part of the country to get to San Francisco for a conference and since then have been slowly exploring the western part of the country, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming.  We even took a brief trip into Canada to see Banff and Lake Louise.  We plan to head back east for the holidays, with visits to Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois along the way.  After the holidays, who knows?  We may just do the whole route all over again!

During this past year, our family and friends asked many of the same questions: I’ll take a moment to answer each briefly:

Why not? Chris has the great opportunity to work from anywhere (providing there is internet). He travels a lot for work so I might as well be with him, right? It seems like a good time in our lives, especially since I just finished graduate school and we recently sold our home. Lastly, we crave adventure and the open road.

For how long?
Indefinitely, I suppose. Or, at least until we get tired of this lifestyle.

When will you ever settle down and have children?
Hmmm….eventually. Don’t worry!  Having children doesn’t mean we will settle.  :)  Our daughter Emerson was born on July 5, 2010.

What about your dogs?
They like a good adventure and will be joining us. (If Buddy’s barking gets us kicked out of campgrounds, we may have a dog up for adoption.) Update: The dogs love this new lifestyle.  They get constant attention, lots of walks, and can always keep an eye on us!

Have you lost your minds?
To some, probably. To us, not yet. But, living in this small space may take us down that path. Only time will tell.

Did you really sell your belongings?
Yes, we really did.  Decluttering and simplifying one’s life is difficult.  The month of May was a whirlwind that I barely remember.  Things that I had owned for years and years were walking out in other people’s hands.  It was hard to watch.  We still have a storage space of some pieces of furniture, a piano, artwork, and some other things that we felt were very important at that time.  Nearly four months later, a lot of those things seem so unnecessary now. Apparently my little yellow teapot was not vital to my existence.  Living simpler is possibly the most freeing experience.  I look forward to returning to our storage space in December. I have a feeling we’ll be getting rid of more stuff then.   For now, I am amazed at how little we need.  Trips to Target just aren’t the same.

What do you do for internet?
We carry a Verizon MiFi, which has proven to work almost everywhere.  There are, however, those places where it doesn’t work.  To avoid the hassle of driving around searching for a signal, we bought a satellite…which we’ve yet to figure out. So, if you are knowledgeable of satellites, I beg you to e-mail me.
On occasion, our campgrounds have free wifi.  We love stumbling upon these places!

What does Lani do while Chris is working?
This is a popular question.  Somehow I pass the time.  I write.  I blog.  I tweet.  I walk.  I cook.  I clean (often). I read.  I search for jobs.  And, before I know it, the work day is done.

Any more questions?  Jus let me know!

28 Responses to Our Crazy Plan

  1. marie

    we are doing something very similiar. leased the house because it didnt sell. put everything in storage. bought a used 31 ft airstream and are on the road-with 2 dogs and 2 cats. very hard to explain to the older generation and envied by our generation. good luck and happy trails!

  2. MaryAnne

    If you haven’t yet discovered it, checkout (especially the discussion forum). There are a lot of people doing what you’re doing, although maybe not as many younger folks. I was a “fulltimer” in the 90s and loved it. Getting ready to do it again with my 5 fur friends. I’m sick of being owned by stuff and paying ever escalating property taxes. Besides, there’s so much to see and great people to meet…

  3. Lani

    Thanks MaryAnne, I will check it out! You are right about being “owned by stuff” – it feels so great to get rid of that stuff. It’s amazing how little we need to live. Safe travels!

  4. Mike

    Yes, do checkout Escapees. I think you will fit in there. There’s another couple that are doing what you are, and they are young, not like us old farts.


  5. Laurie Rosenthal

    Lani, I just stumbled upon your wonderful travel blog yesterday, and now I’m fighting a powerful urge to put up a For Sale by Owner sign in front of our house! I would love to hit the road right now, but my husband wants to try and keep his 30 year old construction business going (not easy in this economic climate in CA.) and stay in our clutter and knick-knack shrine for now. I’m researching ways we can sustain ourselves on the road via internet and possibly work-camping. My husband at least has the desire to full-time, so that gives me hope! Someday for sure we will be on the road living this wonderful lifestyle you, Chris, Buddy and AJ enjoy! For now, to feed my feverish nomadic desires I will be visiting your great site and other full-timers journals and scour the web for as much info on this way of living/travel as I can find until we too can be free and hit the road! Thanks for sharing,

  6. Lani

    Thanks for the comment, Laurie. I always enjoy hearing from people who somehow stumble upon our blog. I enjoy writing about our adventures, both the good and the bad. It’s definitely a life I never thought I would have…in fact, just this time a year ago is when this whole notion of living in an Airstream came up for the first time. My how it all happened so quickly! Keep the dream alive! You’ll know when the time is right and it will all fall into place!

  7. Fiona Schlachter

    Hi Lani,

    I met Chris at CNVS last June and was excited to hear about your adventure. Sounds like it is going well and you might have to share space with a new addition soon. Congratulations! If you come near Boulder, CO in 2010, please let us know. Dave, Rich, and I from SnapImpact would be happy to show you around.


  8. Lani

    Thanks, Fiona! We were in Loveland, CO last October but didn’t have the best weather nor did we have much exploring time. We hope to return to that area again and will let you know when we do!

  9. Tamara

    Hi Lani,

    My husband and I are Airstream full-timer wannabes. We’re expecting a baby in October, and still… we can’t let go of the dream. If you happen to come through Summerville, SC, let us know, we would love to drool on your Airstream. Hehe.

    Take care!


  10. Lani

    Congrats on the baby! How exciting! Don’t let go of the dream. I have no idea if we can continue to live in our Airstream after our baby arrives. Some say “yes” while others say “no.” But, we are going to try it anyway. I’ll let you know if our travels find us in or near Summerville. :)

  11. Debra

    You can full time quite comfortably with a baby! Just check out the blog of ‘Airstream Life’s editor Rich, wife Eleanor and Emma!
    The road is beckoning you….

  12. Erin

    How do you receive mail?

  13. Sadie

    Wow…can’t believe I just stumbled on this today! My husband and I have been planning a VERY similar journey for the past year and 4 months, and we leave this coming January so I will probably be reading every bit and piece of your blog which I love so far. We just bought our Airstream (but it’s a vintage and needs work, so add in getting that ready to all the other stuff!) Congrats on the new baby! I am so relieved to see that this really can work (and with two dogs too, which we have) and yes I might want to get pregnant in the next year or so. Anyways, so glad to run into you on the web!

  14. Lani

    Hi Sadie!

    Thanks for the comment. Congrats on the vintage Airstream and decision to hit the road. That’s awesome! Yes! This lifestyle can work…even with a baby. It has its challenges but you always work things out. Flexibility, patience and humor are necessary. :)

    Do you have a blog? I’d love to keep up with your preparations and travels. Good luck with everything and we look forward to seeing you on the road!!

  15. kay

    silver trailer for the silver spoons

  16. kay

    silver trailer for a couple of silver spoons…

  17. Leigh

    Hi Lani –

    I just read the part about how you’re doing internet. Are you paying for Direcway/Hughesnet for your satellite internet? We can help you with that – we had it the first time we were on the road.

  18. Scott

    I love what you have so far. We are thinking of something like this. My wife and I have spoke of something like this for most of our almost 11 years of marriage…now we have an almost four month old. Oh, and we have an 80 lb dog. Congrats on simplifying your life. I applaud you.

  19. Scott

    I love what you have so far. We are thinking of something like this. My wife and I have spoke of something like this for most of our almost 11 years of marriage…now we have an almost four month old. Oh, and we have an 80 lb dog. Congrats on simplifying your life. I applaud you.

  20. foana

    Very nice article,Been looking for this. Thanks. Can you pls visit mine too at

  21. Shawna

    It’s inspiring to see that this can be done! My husband and I are about to put a 34 foot Airstream in the backyard, live in it, rent out the house, save money, and hit the road! I’ll continue to follow your blog for helpful tips, tricks, and trip spots.

  22. Martha Cordero

    Hi Lani.

    I am a teacher assistant that at the age of 47 is done with city life…have been for awhile. I just came across the RV living lifestyle and believe that I have truly found what I want to do. My children are all grown, and even though I have my first grandchild and a second one on the way, I am so ready to do this. I love my family, but really think that this would be great for all of us. I can just imagine my grand kids spending time with us (us meaning my husband Tony, of 29 years, and myself) on a wonderful adventure. What could be better. My only fear is finding work, but I’m the kind of person that believes in crossing that bridge when I get to it.

    I wish you the best on your adventure and thank you for the positive feeling I got from reading your blog. Maybe I will start my own to get me motivated. :-)


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