Tiffani and Deke are living the dream full-time in their Airstream… they downsized (for maybe ever.. so they really downsized) and recently made a big cross-country life move from hot hot Texas to the Pacific Northwest (super jealous.. one of our very favorite spots). Tiffani is one of those treasures of a friend that I’d have never known if it weren’t for blogging and I’m so glad she and Deke took time to share what their past year has been like. If you’re wanting to do the same or just love all things Airstream, pop over to their blog www.weaselmouth.com and catch up on their adventures.
Happy 1 Year Anniversary of your life on wheels!
1. How did the idea first come up between you two to buy/live in an Airstream?
We’d had our 22′ International in Chicago for a few years, but because of the weather, couldn’t really use it that much. Then we moved to Texas, and the more we camped, the more we loved being in/around the Airstream! It made everything so much better, so we sold our 22′ (if anyone has it, send pictures!) upgraded to a 27 ft, and when our lease ended in Dallas, we decided to try and live in it full-time. Finding an RV park close to a city was tough (it seems to be like that around cities everywhere) but we were lucky to live in an area that had a few options that weren’t too far from where Deke worked, so we figured why not? That was February 13, 2011.
→ Our first Airstream ←
→ Our first fulltime campground, Blue Bonnet in Texas ←
2. What were the hardest parts of deciding to go for it?
Psychologically, it wasn’t hard at all, it was a natural decision. I think when you love something like we love spending time in the Airstream, you just try to make it happen! Practically, it was hard to get rid of things. Books, photos, clothes, sentimental tidbits…but we did it slowly with yard sales, giving things to friends, selling books. It all worked out, but it took a few months. We still have a few things we haven’t gotten rid of yet and I refuse to throw away, but I guess that’s another story.
→ All That’s Left ←
(On the day we moved out of the house this was all that we had — and it all fit in the truck, thankfully)
3. Do you have an estimated time you want to live in the Airstream or do you feel like it’s forever?
We hope to live in it forever. Ideally, we’d like to find a nice plot of land to park it on so we can have a garden and maybe a shed to store some things, but still travel in it when we want. Right now we have no desire to own a house or condo again. Been there, done that. Our needs might change, who knows — it would nice to have a bathtub again, and Deke would love more space for Men’s Town, but for now this is really an ideal situation for us.
4. Did you have any preconceived ideas about your new life a year ago (when you were just starting out) that has proven completely different than you thought?
We both thought we’d travel more…like every weekend, which we don’t. Everything we own is here, and because we use it every day, things are lying out for convenience. Not that it’s hard to put away spices and pack up patio furniture, but it does get annoying to do it every weekend. We need to work on that!
5. What do you wish you knew prior to this past year that you now know?
We wish we would’ve had some previous RV experience. We had none, and only through experience can you really learn about living like this full-time. We made a lot of rookie mistakes, and some cost us (literally), but we really tried to reach out to the network of people we knew out there to get help. That’s another reason we started the blog — we’re hoping newbies can learn from the mistakes we made in the first year and save themselves some time and money.
6. What are the three hardest things about living in an airstream? three easiest?
1.Keeping up with things — whether that be dishes and laundry, or fixing a leak. Sometimes I think it’s harder to keep a small space clean!
2. Making repairs to the Airstream while living it. Major fixes are hard to do without getting a hotel.
3. Trying not to accumulate too much stuff.
3.5. Finding an RV park to live in fulltime.
1. We never have to rummage around for things. We have 3 drawers instead of 6, so everything goes into one place. If it’s not there, it’s probably lost.
2. Comfort. We’re super comfortable and cozy here — the design makes it really easy to live in.
3. Getting around and traveling is easier than we thought — it’s a lot easier to tow than we expected!
7. If you could change anything about your Airstream what would it be?
I would love to get California Closets in here — the closet is a decent size, but it needs shelves or something. The bedroom area is always cold because it lifts up into the storage area which is connected outside — the temperature of the bed reflects the temperature outside whether its 110 in Texas or 30 in Seattle, and it can be uncomfortable, so I’d change something there. I would also make the kitchen table smaller and lighter. That thing is a monster – I really cant put it up by myself!
8. What do you find to be the biggest misconceptions of living in an RV?
That you cant possibly have enough room to live comfortably. You’ll have enough room if you keep what’s important and necessary. Sure, this would be a horrible lifestyle for people that collect things! We’ve also had a lot of people give us ‘that look’ — you know the one — the “Oh, how interesting, you live in an RV park” look. We’ve found beautiful parks that are infinitely better than the neighborhoods we lived in and filled with the nicest people we’ve ever met.
→ This is the view from my park that I get to see everyday! ←
9. financially has this cost less than you thought, more? and what has been the most unexpected expense you’ve incurred?
We thought this would save us oodles of cash, and to a certain extent, it is cheaper than a mortgage, but we think overall it costs more than we thought it would. Gas is a huge expense, and RV parts and service aren’t cheap — it’s the little things that add up like LED lights, a generator and internet service. But in the long run, I think it’ll be cheaper as long as we take care of our things.
10. what advice would you give someone considering following in your footsteps?
Before we bought our first Airstream, we researched and looked at them for about 2 years. By the end of that time, we knew we wanted one, we were confident we could take care of it properly and we did a lot of soul searching about the lifestyle and if it was for us. We didn’t intend on living in it full-time at that point, but because we were so confident in our decision to buy an Airstream, we never doubted ourselves, so that paved our way to living in it full-time.
As far as specifics go, we’d advise:
1. Don’t live in your trailer in tornado alley during tornado season.
2. Buy a generator. You’ll need it at some point, and when you do, there won’t be any around to buy.
3. Always put the awning up at any sign of rain and always overnight. (We broke ours…)
4. Be mentally ready to get rid of all your stuff.
5. If you plan on living anywhere below 45 degrees, get a mattress pad warmer!