Two and a half years ago, we spent our first night in the Airstream. The walls were still freshly painted and bright white. Our cupboards were practically bare from a recent purge of belongings, a pairing down of all our things. As of yet, there were no stains on the cushions and no frayed pillow corners from a teething puppy. The journey was newly dreamt and full of the freshness of new beginnings.
We were tucked away amongst an array of oaks, pecans, mesquites and china berries – nestled in a little spot next to the river. We didn’t have sewage hook-ups which meant limited bathroom functionality and weekly arguments over the pros and cons of a composting toilet.
Our fondest memories from those early, tiny-living days are cool mornings on our little wooden porch sipping percolated coffee and having the windows open to spy on our only neighbors – the fox, rabbits, deer and armadillos. There was also the cool floats in the river after long, hot summer days – or even better – laying in the hammock on the river bank.
There was also the garden – days upon days spent learning all about the earth, seedlings, flowers and sunlight. The alchemy of making things grow. My most meditative moments came in the evenings tending to weeds and watering.
After one year living this way, we said goodbye to our sleepy little existence and made our way to our first campground overflowing with RVs twice our size. Despite the initial shock from countryside to the bustling city, I’m amazed at how adaptable our home is. Perhaps even more shocking was how quickly we adapted, too.
Thanks to the little shop of RV odds and ends in the park, we discovered the miraculous relief of reflective insulation for our windows. I missed the natural light during the hot parts of the day, but it was infinitely better than the toasty 88 degrees it would reach inside on a humid August day.
At first we were anxious about things like using and draining our black tank, but now that we’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s the most wonderful thing to not have to trek somewhere else just to use the bathroom.
It’s weird to think we’re in our second RV park now, and even though we’re still only 3 hours away from the place we’ll always know as “home,” I always get this excitement to be somewhere new. Not necessarily because of the novelty (though that does inevitably play into it in the beginning) but because I feel myself stretching every time I go somewhere that isn’t comfy. My hometown is comfy from 28 years of driving the same streets, but new places feel foreign. They force me to accept that life is bigger than myself. That there are ways of living beyond what I know – cultures, lifestyles and even just the grungy facts-of-life that you inevitably see out on the road that force you to be fully awake.
Despite having one of the most trying weeks I’ve had yet in the Dream Stream in a town that I would never have chosen to be, I feel incredibly grateful. Even as we’re accepting that our time living in the Airstream may be waning and I feel myself pressing towards the future, this little home reminds me what matters most.
I can’t help but be struck by the beautiful tapestry that our life is being woven into. In 2013, we were preparing ourselves for a military lifestyle, only for that dream to come to an end shortly thereafter. Seven years later, I sit here in a military town and am reminded of how far we’ve come since then. Life is funny and ironic and so wonderful that way. The way that some threads keep weaving in and out of our lives – creating bigger pictures that you can never see until you pause to take it all in.
Two years ago, we were fortunate to have the savings, time and support to create the Dream Stream. While there’s a part of me that feels like our time with her isn’t quite over, she truly has led us to all of our deepest dreams: flying, being together, even the sweetest little fur baby I’ve been wanting for years.
Perhaps it’s not the most clever name, but if there was ever a self-fulfilling prophecy, she’s it. We placed our dreams in every hour we built her, and now we see them radiating out in ways that we never imagined. Perhaps more than anything, living so simply with so little meant we always found our way back to what we value most. It’s so easy to become distracted or led astray, but this lifestyle forced us to look into our hearts time and time again. It wasn’t easy or comfortable a lot of the time, but I believe it to be her greatest lesson to us.
This is all to say, we might be moving into a rental home with a yard for grilling and Lily to play, and there may be a spare bedroom for our family and friends to visit, but we’ll never forget the importance of living simply and loving deeply. The importance of being fully awake.
We also plan to actually vacation in our little home on wheels, which is one dream that hasn’t quite come to pass. We’re VERY excited about where she’ll be headed to next.
Happy journeying, friends.