It was the very first night in our Airstream, and things were looking promising. Our adventures in living small were exciting and new, and we were ready to settle in for the night.
Every evening we take a walk with our dogs to enjoy the cool evenings before the Tucson summer hits us full blast. People here are exceedingly happy. They wave as we pass by. We also got our first “That’s a beautiful Airstream!” compliment last week as we were cooking dinner outside on our patio.
This place is nice and comfortable.
After dinner on our first night, we settled in and took a mental survey of everything that happened. We had just moved out of our spacious 1600sqft home to live in a 200sqft RV. Jeebus (in Homer Simpson’s voice), this shit just got very, very real, and there is no easy way to turn back now.
We had done it, finally. After months of planning and anticipation, here we are, sitting in our Airstream at a local campground with our two dogs and the majority of our possessions.
Our dogs were nervous, but slowly calming down. Our smallest dog Patti lounged on the couch next to Courtney and me and our larger dog Penny hid under the nook where we put her bed so she feels protected and secure. She’s resting there now as I write this blog post.
It was a lot to take in, but things are going well. Nightfall slowly crept in.
Our first night in the Airstream
We were whooped pretty early that night, so we decided to go to bed around 8:30 that evening. We closed up all the windows, which had been letting in the cool evening breeze for hours. Next, we checked the Airstream’s systems to make sure nothing was wasting energy.
A/C off? Check.
Furnace off? Check.
Water heater off? Check.
Cool, I think we’re set. Let’s go to bed.
We crawl into bed and get settled. It is a new-to-us bed with a mattress a little harder than the one we’re used to, so it’s a different experience. Not bad…just, different. We are procuring a mattress pad shortly that will help with the firmness a bit.
We read for 15 minutes, then reached up and turned our bedside lights out in pursuit of dreamland. All is well. We fall asleep with a sense of accomplishment under our belts.
At around 2am, I wake up, shivering. I’m also lazy by nature, so instead of doing something meaningful about the chilly air, I simply duck my head under the covers and call it good.
But that wasn’t good enough. I was still cold and I couldn’t sleep. The single blanket on the bed probably didn’t help, either. Damn, it’s cold in here!
Finally, my wife woke up too and had the bright idea to give our furnace a try. Woohoo, we get to test out another major function of the Airstream, but this time, when we actually need it, not during the daytime hours where we could actually fix a potential problem if there is one.
It was 52 inside the Airstream at the time. No wonder – to us, that’s damn cold. But then again, we are probably wusses because we live in the southwest United States and don’t have to endure long, cold winters. We get hot and brutal summers instead.
My wife flips the furnace on, and we wait in silence. What felt like hours was probably only a couple of seconds. I heard the “whoosh” of the flame within the furnace. Good sign. Next, let me feel some hot air.
“Please turn on!” Oh gawd, please. I beg you, turn on. I’ll do anything you ask, just turn the hell on and warm this place up. For the love of all things small and furry, just do me this one little favor.
After a couple seconds, BAM! Nice warm air begins pouring out of our furnace vents throughout the Airstream.
Yes! Hallelujah! I felt like Clark W. Grizwald when the Christmas lights finally turn on in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – a classic!
The furnace works and works well. It heated the entire Airstream up in just a few minutes (one of the benefits of living in a 200sqft house). We were warm and went back to bed. All is well again.
The next day, we bought an extra blanket for the bed and we haven’t been cold since.
Making the Airstream our own
Slowly but surely, Charlie is becoming more and more like home. We brought a couple candles from the house for decoration and a little “ambiance”. Bananas, tomatoes and peppers rest comfortably in a colorful bowl next to our sink.
We threw a couple of blankets over the couch for some added color and throw pillows to give the family room area extra substance. Our dog seems to like them, too, which is an added plus.
Nearly all cabinets have been assigned storage duties for particular items. Bowls and plates in one. Tupperware and cups in another. The silverware gets its own pull out drawer next to the sink. So do the knives and other kitchen utensils.
Tea and coffee go in one of the upper cabinets opposite the kitchen and above my work area, which also happens to be the nook. To its left is our cooking ingredients cabinet, which holds cooking liquids like oil, vinegar, and Sriracha as well as cans of black and refried beans and a few jars of hot sauces.
We had a hot sauce bar at our wedding, so you could say that we enjoy our hot sauce!
Things are still coming together. We don’t yet have the perfect arrangement, but every day we think of new and creative ways to store what we need. We discovered that keeping some baking supplies inside of our oven is a great way to keep some larger items (like baking sheets and measuring cups) out of sight.
Lastly, enjoy some photographs of our new home – including a couple shots of the K9s that live within!
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.