Nevermind all the dirt she brings home or the 24 hours of sand in her poop, Lilly loves the ocean. For nearly two months, our daily walk passes by steps descending to the beach. Lilly know that once her paws reach the sand, only 50 yards separate her from the Pacific – the place she can chase sticks and dig. A mad dash to pure joy.
Every time we approach those steps, Lilly looks back at Kelly and me with hope that we will grant her wish – a chance to frolic on the beach. Far too often for her preference, and with no shortage of guilt on our part, we walk past the steps, continuing along an asphalt path.
As I begun preparing the trailer for travel mode earlier today, I could not help but find it disappointing on my part to deny Lilly one final visit to the beach. Today we are leaving the coast and I have no idea when we will be back, no real guess when Lilly will again taste the salt water. I do not know when I will have another opportunity to watch the sunset glitter over the water as she and I play fetch. Realistically it could a year, perhaps longer.
Of course I had to take her. It’s possible I had more fun that she did today.
Who knew living simply requires so much work.
Since launching into a full-time lifestyle two years ago, Kelly and I have done our best juggling the logistics of work travel and campsite planning. My job in particular has been difficult, often introducing stress into our lives – so much so that these days we no longer think beyond a four week period without first considering the intersecting of proximity to the nearest airport, campground reservations, and how much we stand to loose if plans change and we need to cancel a reservation.
Previously I never put any thought into such a thing and in 2016 I tried my best to standardize my time away from Kelly, Lilly, and the trailer to the first week of each month, but that cadence has often been interrupted, shifting forwards or backwards on many occasion. Most recently this reality impacted us more so then ever before.
Two months ago we thought we would be spending the back-half of January and all of February in southern Arizona. However, I found myself in the midst of a few work projects requiring that I embark on a bit of business travel, resulting in our travel route taking an unexpected detour. A reminder that mobile friendly jobs dictate our lives more than preferred.
Last night I arrived home (but not without first experiencing a two hour delay), concluding a whirlwind of business travel:
- 28 of 39 nights in a series of hotels
- 15 flights criss-crossing the country from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Charlotte, & Washington DC
Now, I’m back in the Airstream for a while. Having been ‘based’ outside of San Francisco for the past six weeks, we’ll stay one more week … then finally hit the road towards southwest Utah.
Along the way, if all goes to plan, I’ll successfully avoid an airport and hotel room for the next four weeks.
New and improved set-up
4.5 years ago Kelly and I moved into the Aristream and have been living inside our comfy tincan on a full-time basis ever since. Over the years we have made a lot of changes designed to increase comfort or efficiency.
Two years ago when Kelly and I left California – and our traditional corporate office gigs, the trailer began serving as both our home and primary worksite. Pretty quickly it became apparent that our (otherwise very popular) 27FB floorplan was not adequately meeting our needs or preferences. We wanted a more flexible seating/lounging setup and more counter top surface space. Another round of changes was desperately needed.
The Factory Floorplan
About this same time I stumbled upon Ultimate Airstream, a small Portland, OR based company specializing in customizing Airstream trailers. Immediately Kelly and I became intrigued with their remodeling ideas and capabilities, in particular a redesign solution dubbed ‘the grand lounge’.
Over the 2015 holidays we had an opportunity to see a grand lounge retrofit firsthand. Impressed with Ultimate’s workmanship, Kelly and I quickly made arrangements for them to remodel our trailer a few months later.
In June of last year we arrived to Portland and handed over our trailer for it’s makeover. The process took just over three weeks, so we moved into a rental house situated a hipster NE neighborhood. As we made final decisions relating to upholstery, flooring, laminate surfaces, etc., we enjoyed visits from friends and family while enjoying fabulous dining, craft beers, and delicious espresso.
To our delight, the conversion process went smoothly. After a final walk through inspection we signed closing paperwork, paid the bill, and again took to the open road giddy with optimism that our new layout would be a huge improvement for our living comfort.
So how are we enjoying the changes? In a few words – we love it. In hindsight, I would have done a couple things slightly differently, but at this point cannot imagine going back to the original layout.
Yesterday I flew from San Francisco to Los Angeles on business. About 50 minutes in duration, the trip is quick. Like many early morning flights, this route seem to be full of business travelers who, like myself, sit quietly tapping away on laptops before arriving to our final destination.
Often the views along this route are limited due to fog other marine layer cloud-cover reasons. However yesterday the clouds gave way and played nicely. Floating silently high above the horizon, the clouds gave way to expansive lines of sight.
I’ve flown this route many times and views like this are a rarity. Those of us who took a moment to look out the window, away from our laptop screens were rewarded.
On a whim, I decided to snap a picture. And then I did it again, and again, and again thereafter.