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From 42’ With Two Bathrooms to 17’ With None

To some it may seem like the jump from a 42’ Class A to a 17’ travel trailer is a little drastic, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. Here is our story.

Adam and I first started dreaming of living on the road on our honeymoon road trip in August of 2013. After we got back to Colorado we spent hours sitting in Airstreams imagining our someday life. By that December I was pregnant with Imogen and Adam had accepted a job in Fort Worth, TX that would provide him more experience to get a remote job in the future. Throughout my pregnancy we frequented a local RV lot and sat in different models of Airstreams. They knew us by our names and put up with us playing house on their lot regularly. In August of 2014 Imogen was born, and once we started to get our parenting sea legs we returned to the lot hopeful and determined to figure out how we could make an Airstream work for us sooner rather than later. Sadly, as much as we tried to convince ourselves that we could make an Airstream work for our family now, we settled into the reality that it wasn’t meant to be.

You see, we had a dog named George. He was an Irish Wolfhound who weighed around one hundred and forty pounds and was already a bit of an old man for his breed. It didn’t feel fair to squeeze him into a small space with no room to stretch out for the remainder of his life. Not bringing him with us never crossed our minds. So, we begrudgingly took to exploring larger options and by the end of March 2015 Adam was driving our 42’ Class A Itasca Meridian to Texas from Florida. It was much larger than we imagined, and not nearly as pretty, but it got us all on the road comfortably. At the end of April 2015 we moved into the RV. In May Adam started a new job that allowed him to work remotely and by the end of June we hit the road (or tried to anyway!).

Fast forward to January 2016. We had been living and traveling in the RV for about 8 months. While there were many aspects of life on the road that we were enjoying, we had begun to feel more and more stressed and frustrated with our home on wheels. Things were breaking, we found ourselves spending a lot of time in RV parks over campgrounds, and all of the things we had been dragging around with us from state to state began to feel like they were weighing us down emotionally. With the start of a new year we made the decision to ditch our Class A for something smaller. We spent the month of January researching options including Minnie Winnies, Travatos, Airstreams, and Oliver trailers, but ultimately decided that a Casita was the best fit for us.**

A rather exhausted family portrait of our last day with the Sandcrawler.

A rather exhausted family portrait of our last day with the Sandcrawler.

In late January we put a deposit down on the Casita with the goal of being out of our RV by Spring. Now you may be asking, what about George? Well, in October of last year while we were in New Jersey, George got pretty sick, and we took him to the vet and were told he may have a brain tumor. Things were so bad for him that we actually had an appointment to euthanize him, but something didn’t feel right. We decided to make one last ditch effort with steroids and George was back up and at ‘em like nothing every happened. So in January when we ordered the Casita we knew George wouldn’t be with us too much longer. Since we couldn’t be too sure how long exactly we pushed out the date of our Casita delivery from the spring to the fall and decided to spend the summer in AirBnBs. In April of 2016 we moved out of our RV and in May 2016 our dear George passed away in Denver, CO.

Our dream of living on the road originally stemmed from our desire to travel and explore. Over time, though, it has transformed into something deeper and unexpected. We never wanted a huge RV, but having that experience has helped us learn more about ourselves and what this adventure is really about.

We have learned that we thrive when we spend more time outdoors. Our big class A was just too comfortable sometimes. Adam and I can both tend to be homebodies and it was so easy to be inside. Being in a tiny space forces us to go outside multiple times a day, every day. And we are in places where we can explore and enjoy nature, not RV parks.

We are happiest when we can focus on each other and things we love. Even in our Class A there were things to clean, fix, do for upkeep on a very regular basis. Going tiny simplifies all of that and allows us more time to focus on the important things.

We desire to challenge ourselves. Living in our RV felt too easy. We had all the comforts of home and we didn’t feel like we were challenging ourselves enough to grow. Living in less than one hundred square feet challenges us to really examine what is important to us as individuals, as a couple and as parents. We look at things a lot differently then we did when we lived in a house or our old RV.

We prefer less stuff to more. If you asked me to predict this one I don’t think I could have. Downsizing felt so difficult when we moved from a house to an RV, and was still somewhat challenging when we moved from the RV to the Casita. The difference the second time was that it also felt freeing and rewarding. We have learned that more things for us equals more worry – more to put away, organize, take up space, occupy our minds and our bodies in ways that don’t really make us feel content or happy. More things often led us to less time for exploring, and focusing on experiences that really matter. We are learning more and more each day that what we actually need and what is beneficial to us is so very different from what we want.

We prefer to not plan, and let things happen. With our old RV we had to plan in advance to find somewhere that was not an RV park that would fit us. To my surprise, we learned that planning is not all its cracked up to be. While I still believe there is a time and a place for it, the idea of planning where we are going to be a couple weeks from now makes me feel a little anxious. The Casita allows us the ease of traveling without a plan because we know we can fit anywhere, and go down pretty much any road. It encourages our adventurous spirit.

Our little Casita tucked into a site at beautiful Usery Park in Arizona.

Our little Casita tucked into a site at beautiful Usery Park in Arizona.

We have been living in the Casita for about a month and a half now, and I can already see the way we think about things shifting. I know that we will continue to learn and grow from this experience. I don’t know exactly what those things will be or where our tiny trailer will take us but I do know I wouldn’t be living in a 17’ travel trailer without the experience of living in a 42’ Class A RV. Perspective is always a very interesting thing.

**More on why we chose a Casita over the other options coming soon!

 

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3 Comments

  • Kate @thestreamlinedlife

    This post makes me really happy. I’m so glad we’ve got to watch you all transition and find your traveling stride!

  • Pete

    “We are happiest when we can focus on each other and things we love. Even in our Class A there were things to clean, fix, do for upkeep on a very regular basis. Going tiny simplifies all of that and allows us more time to focus on the important things.”
    – Such wisdom in that statement for all of us! Thanks for the great info in this post.

    • Jenn

      Thanks, Pete! Glad you enjoyed it!

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