Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Year in an Airstream

It's hard to believe it's been a year since we downsized our life and hauled our aluminum home up a mountain to live in. We did it to stop paying rent, save money, and to own the roof over our heads for the first time in our lives. Looking back, this year has been full of challenges, from power outages and frozen pipes, to losing our wonderful canine companion, Maggie. I could never have predicted all the little bumps in the road that this year would present us with. But I've learned that whether your house is tiny or large, things still break and need to be fixed, the roof may spring a leak, and life unfolds generally the same. We said we'd live in the Airstream as long as we were happy doing so, and while winter tested us to that motto, we came through the other side and are enjoying the rewards of another beautiful island summer in our tiny home. It's easy to forget the tears I cried when the first winter rainstorms hit the island in October and our roof leaked right onto our bed at 3am, or when the pipes froze, the propane ran out, Maggie got sick, the driveway got snowed in, Jacob was away... But it's also so easy to just remember the good times – baking for the first time in our Airstream oven, the sound of our first night of summer rain on a tin roof, and the moment when we realized that the Airstream was pretty much “done” and we didn't have to work on it all-weekend-every-weekend anymore.

I've noticed I spend a lot more time outside because of living in a smaller space. I want to go running or take the dog for a walk more often, which is good for all involved. We still have people over all the time – small space is no excuse not to entertain. We are honored by all the compliments we've received when people visit our Airstream and leave saying how inspired they are. I feel lucky. Lucky to have lived another adventure (remember when we lived in that Airstream on that island??) that will surely become another story worth telling.

We've been asked by many people how much money we've put into our Airstream. Including the purchase price of $2,000, we've invested a total of $6,000 over the course of the year and a half we've owned Blue Moon. Of course that includes hundreds of hours of free labor by ourselves and some key friends and family! That came out to an average of about $150 per month that Jacob and I each contributed to making Blue livable again, which is about all the extra cash we had each month at the time when we were still paying high rent, and had a lot of debt. Living in the Airstream this past year has changed that, and for the first time in our lives, I think we both feel financially free – something I wasn't sure we'd ever feel! Making the big change to give up our wonderful beach side rental house, downsize to only owning one car (ride your bike!), and generally focus on what's possible was very scary at first, but now going back to a mortgage payment or buying a new car is almost scarier. We won't live in our little aluminum home forever, but I know we'll never regret this adventurous year, and we'll take so many lessons learned from living Small, even if someday we end up living Bigger.

At the moment the future is uncertain what's in store for us beyond September, but one thing is for sure, we'll always be hitched to Blue Moon.

This year of tiny living, and the previous near-year of remodeling would not have been possible without the love and support and helping hands from so many people, and we want to thank a few of them here...Michael, Diane (mom), Morgan, Andrew, Jim Lawrence, ...and of course, all the people who we know and those we don't who read this blog! Documenting our adventure here has been a way to measure our own progress when we needed to see it to keep us going, and your encouragement has let us know we we're doing OK even when our motivation was low and Blue was still full of mouse poop. So, keep reading, you (and we) never know what will happen next in the Blue Moon Airstream Chronicle...

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