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Living full time in an Airstream: Best and worst after six months

Its been six months since I sold the house and made the move to living full time in an Airstream trailer and there has been a lot that I’ve learned along the way. Many of the things I’ve learned have been positive, but there have been a few negative ones as well and a few “I wish I had known that before…”

The best part of living full time in an Airstream

 My life is simplified.

I think one challenge a lot of us ponder is how much unnecessary “sh*t” we own or accumulate over time. I’ve moved three times in the past four years, so you’d think I would have been able to declutter and simplify my life with each move. And at first glance, each move was a good start at looking at what material items I had accumulated were still important and which were just collecting dust and remaining unused (like the $300 juicer and more than a few now-out-of-fashion shirts and pants).

But with the decision to live full time in my Airstream, there was more pressure to strictly declutter my life with a voraciousness that would have made Marie Kondo smile.

It was surprising how much “stuff” I thought I had to pack into the Airstream. Keurig coffee maker? yep, Expensive blender, yep, A stack of All-Clad pots, skillets, saucepans and matching lids? Yep. Three camping tents, two sleeping bags, extra hiking, camping and even snow gear that I hadn’t used in 20 years? Yep.

Now that I have the experience of six months of living in my Airstream full time, I’ve been able to see how much easier it is to simplify and get rid of the items I originally thought were necessities. Coffee is made every morning with a hot pot and a French press (or just a scoop of instant coffee if I’m lazy and just want the instant gratification of climbing back in bed with a hot cup of java right away).

Shopping and cooking are a lot simpler when you live full time in an RV. Breakfast is usually eggs with a side of bacon or avocado. I usually skip lunch for an early dinner of steak or fish. So there are limited items to shop for or to keep in my small Airstream fridge or storage pantry.

More Downtime and Reflection Time

Even though I believed that having more “downtime” was going to be positive, I was surprised by the amount of extra “me” time I had. Part of that was from the simplifying of my life. Less cleaning, laundry, less “things” to distract me. But I had not expected the challenge in finding things to do in the middle of the global Coronavirus pandemic. The upside is becoming more in touch with nature with walks in the morning and evening, enjoying the wildlife and taking more time for myself. I’ve finally gotten back into a regular exercise routine with a daily morning workout of kettlebells and push-ups and chin-ups with a lot of brisk walks. 

Keeping a small place tidy

Interior of the 2009 <a href=
Airstream Flying Cloud 23FB” width=”800″ height=”600″ /> Interior of the 2009 Airstream Flying Cloud 23FB

It’s sometimes a challenge finding a place for everything. And more importantly, remembering where I put whatever I’m currently looking for. I’ve learned to be better with cooking and clean up and being more organized. As the weather warms up, I  need to do a better job of taking advantage of outside living as well.


Campgrounds can fall under the  good, the bad and the ugly. Really depends on your location, the campground staff and your neighbors. So far it’s been mostly positive experiences. The one downside for me is having to plan a little further in advance of where I want to go. Finding out that even with COVID19 and restricted travel, a lot of the campgrounds are full for the summer. So lesson learned, I’ll need to plan ahead better for next summer.

Learning more self-reliance – how to fix things myself.

I managed to have the hitch disconnect from my SUV while towing my Airstream. Fortunately it was literally as I was turning into the campground. The bummer was a broken trailer jack as the camper A frame nose dived into the road. Took a little bit of ingenuity and the help of a Good Samaratin to get it towed the rest of the way into the campground. But I learned a lot about replacing power jacks, trailer wiring and more from the debacle.

Living with Pets

Mixed blessing when you live full time in an Airstream, there is definitely a premium on space inside and my dog Dharma and I would often try to occupy the same spot at the same time. She would usually win (I think its some of the skills she learned as a former Mexican street dog). 

If you do have pets, this is one issue to really consider. for these first six mosts of full-time Airstream living, I’ve also been working full time. Well, actually almost double full-time with some pretty long workdays. So it really wasn’t fair to my dog Dharma to keep her quarantined all day long in the Airstream. Fortunately, I have a friend that has a 5-acre farm with two other dogs, three horses six goats, a bunch of chickens and creek beds and lots of other stuff to explore all day long, so Dharma has been vacationing over there.

Travelling to cool places.

I’ve been living I n my Airstream in Mammoth, Yosemite, northern California coast, Sacramento, Napa, and soon Marin. There have been lots of cool memories and adventures in just the first six months and I’m looking forward to making many more memories.Airstream trailer overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Northern California

What are my next places when Coronavirus sheltering ends?

I plan to head back over to the eastern Sierras of California first, probably followed by continuing thru Utah to Colorado and then Arizona and New Mexico for several months. Then who knows where. I’d love to get back down to Southern California for a while for the winter and enjoy some warmer weather and sun. It’s a little bit of wanderlust that I need to explore.

The goal for 2021-2 is camping in an Airstream in New Zealand. Let’s see how that plays out…


Overall I’d say there are surprising few downsides after six months of li

Maintenance and surprise issues

Roof leaks in the middle of the night, running out of water because I didn’t check to see how full my water tank was before spending the weekend in a campground with no hook-ups, monitoring gray and black tanks and figuring out how to get rid of mold under my mattress

Oh the smell, oh the smell, OH the smell from an untreated black waste tank... fortunately much better with a change in treatment chemicals.

Having to explain to people that yes, I do live in an Airstream trailer full time.

This has been a mixed response.

I get more than a few puzzled looks, sometimes followed by awkward silence and shifting of feet as they then try to redirect the conversation to some other topic. These “I can’t believe you live in an Airstream full time” people tend to be co-workers and others that I would say live the “normal life” of a house, married, kids, saving for retirement as they plan of their one vacation each year.

As a single guy, I was worried about how potential dates would view someone that lived in an RV full-time. I’m quick to point out in my best Austin Powers accent, “It’s an Airstream, Baby…” and that usually gets a good laugh. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people that once they hear that I’m living full time in my Airstream response with a variation of “THAT’S SO FREAKIN’ COOL/AWESOME/WOW!!!” usually followed by either “I wish I could do that,” or “I always wanted to buy an Airstream…”

Airstream trailer at McGee Creek RV Park in Mammoth, California

So I’d say at the six month make, living full time in an Airstream has been the right choice for me!