Dave & Kelly
A process that was years in the making, Kelly and I began living from the road as proper full-timers on April 3, 2015.
Our move from Chicago to Seattle included an upsizing from a big condo to an even bigger house. The transition also included a big property, a big garden, and big garage – all things that initially brought us comfort and joy, but led to the collection of a lot more stuff.
Unfortunately, the house required a lot of time to clean, yard work was never-ending, heating and cooling bills were high, the expansive table settings for twelve went unused, and the spare bedrooms sat empty. Over time, frustrations began to surface and we began asking ourselves why we had all this stuff, which in all honesty was difficult to justify. Eventually we began resenting all the stuff and began purging in earnest.
In November 2011 we relocated from Seattle to San Francisco, a move that afforded us the opportunity to significantly downsize. Everyone knows about the outrageous housing costs in the Bay Area and we had no interest in getting caught-up in that game. Instead, we bought an Airstream and began living very comfortably at an RV park in Half Moon Bay – a sleepy little fishing town hiding in the shadows of San Francisco.
With the transition to a tiny living space, we shed nearly all of our belongings, keeping only the basic essentials. It turns out that living with less didn’t significantly impact our level of enjoyment … we were hooked.
Increasingly, a dream of ours was to travel and experience the country slowly and casually. We dreamt of journeys visiting and living in places for a few weeks at a time – the type of experience requiring years to complete.
North America is a big place and there is a lot to see. So with that goal in mind, we hit the road.
@Dave, maybe the apple chiefs can visit and learn the real meaning of “simplicity” 😉
I love your way of life Dave! So inspiring and something I could really wrap my heart around.
Thanks Ann – we are quite happy to be living the way we do. Thanks for reading the blog! Cheers, _dave
New reader, I realize Im not in the “date flow” here, but had to ask a question on this topic. Allot of people seem to jump around before finding their own “personal” rv class or style. You guys seem unique though, as you went from a class C to a trailer rather than vice versa. Would you mind giving me a couple sentences as to why you prefer one over the other or was it just an “airstream thing”?. I am preparing for fulltiming, and the choice between Class B+, C, or travel Trailer is driving me batty! My wife is a dreamboat, has seen and likes all the different classes of RVs, and says she will be thrilled with whatever decision I make. I have lived and worked part time out of a Class B van in my past, and it was some of the best times of my life. But I was by myself then, and obviously the space of a travel trailer would be preferrable, but the thought of dragging around a big bulky trailer, and not having the freedom to access/boondock/stealth camp in any place I might want to really scares me. It seems I would have missed nearly HALF of the opportunities I had to camp before, had I been lugging a trailer….I am a plein air painter, and plan to paint on location and market my work on the road. We are both love to bike and hike trails. Do you find yourself restricted going from your class B+ to the trailer?
I’ve never owned a class-A, so cannot speak to a rig of that type.
The issue of trailer versus class-B is a real one. My take on this is to adhere to the 80/20 rule. I’ve had only one instance where I was forced to turn around due to the truck/trailer combo not able to continue forward. In a Class-B or truck camper I could have easily continued. But that was only once. Most of the time I’d rather have the comfort of the larger rig versus move maneuverability. If I was a solo traveler, I might be more willing to sacrifice, but not traveling with my wife (and dog).
In the end, I’ve found the ability to drop the trailer and drive to wherever I want go is not a big burden.
With respect to our move from the View to the Airstream, the move was definitely a positive one for us. Keep in mind that we were not full-timing in the View, so the comparison is not apples to apples. That said, here are a few pros/cons of each in my mind.
– Easy to drive and at 20 feet, the size was very convenient
– Easy to be stealth in neighborhoods when we only needed overnight street parking
– Accessing the the rig while in motion was nice when necessary
– Comfortably compact
– Limited footprint forces tough compromises. We didn’t have a bedroom.
– Without a tow vehicle, we often felt trapped once set-up at a campsite
– Expect to invest in ride improvement options (airbags, sway bars, etc.) or accept harsh ride
– Road noise. The cabin was loud – too loud at times
– Much more spacious, dedicated bedroom and living space
– Tows like a dream
– Cool design + lots of windows = joy
– No slides. Not as stealthy as the View, but the space is fully functional.
– No slides. Other rigs will be more spacious.
– Heavy by comparison
– Less storage by comparison
– Not a true 4-season (single pane windows and less insulation)
We absolutely love our Airstream! I would encourage you to look hard at various floor-plans before buying. They are expensive and other brands offer more “features” at a similar price point. So whatever you buy will want to be sure on how you will most likely use it.
Good luck with your decision!
I fully understand why you guys stated living like this. The less stuff the better. Very cool.
May I ask what you do for work? We are in the process of doing the same with our family and airstream in a year. Thanks and safe travels.
Jaron – sorry for delay. I work for a Private Equity firm; specifically I lead HR for the firm itself, but also for all the owned & operated companies.
Hey guys! We’d lost your contact info and are really happy to hear that you’ve bought your cruiser! We actually were just south of Bend for a few months earlier this summer. We filled in @ Fort Rock when a host left early, and then hosted @ LaPine c/g for two months. Left there in July to explore the NW more, liked the SKP park in Chimacum so much we put a deposit on an eventual site there – it could be 4 yrs or so b4 we get to the top of the list though. We ventured into N CA but left all that smoke & fire hazard in a hurry, came back into OR for more volunteering w/ OPRD. Now we’re volunteering w/USFS on the coast below Yachats til the end of the year, then back to Willamette Valley for first part of 2022. Drop us a line if you still have our email. Since we seem to be in the same state, we should get together again! 😎
Hey Dave & Kelly! We’re back in Oregon and want to reconnect with you but lost your email. I think you’ll get ours from this blog entry – drop us an email!