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rev 01 Jan 2016
We are Jim and Debbie, a couple of full-time RVers living in a 25' Airstream trailer. We've been on the road full-time since Feb 4 2008 plus several months in 2007.
Debbie and I are very fortunate to have found each other years ago. We grew up twenty-five miles apart, attended the same university and both stayed in Chapel Hill, NC after graduation. But our paths had not crossed. Twenty years later we both were working for Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, NC and were working on Y2K projects. Our friends were convinced we deserved each other, they acted on it and we forever owe them our gratitude for getting us together.
Our previous lifetime was working 50+ hours/week in great jobs in Charlotte, NC. Two or three times a year we would take a week and hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. Easter Week 2005 we were hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail in NC and said to each other, "If we had a camper we could extend our range. A mobile base would allow us, once we retire, to avoid motel fees and we could work any number of new trails from an entirely new section of the country." If we had known then what we know now, would we have run screaming from the idea?
We studied the travel trailer market, shopped the internet, and visited many RV dealers. Quickly we realized some of the trailers made and sold in our country are poorly made with cheap materials. A very few manufacturers make an attractive, durable, and high quality travel trailer. We settled upon Airstreams, the silver bullets still made in America since over 80 years ago. We found the perfect Airstream trailer at our local dealer in Colfax, NC. Long story short, July 2005 our Airstream arrived. We traveled NC, VA, and SC when we could on weekends. We joined the Airstream owners association, Wally Byam Caravan Club International ((WBCCI.)
Work was challenging, demanding, and rewarding. Work and family responsibilities dictated travel mostly on weekends from mid-2005 until mid-2007. We both had good jobs we wanted to keep and had great co-workers and bosses. Yet we were both ready for a big change. And did we ever get change! We had no idea one of us (much less two) could live in the camper and travel whenever and wherever we wanted. We were backpackers who ended up with a fantastic mobile base-camp.
We spent almost no retired time living in our house. We sold the house, quit our jobs, sold the contents, and moved into the Airstream trailer between August 3, 2007 and February 1, 2008. Sometimes we remark to each other we don't know what it might be like to live full-time, retired, in a sticks and bricks house. Maybe we'll find out someday.
Full-timing in an RV on the road is a lot different from our city-living experience. We no longer maintain almost 3,000 square feet and lawn and bushes and garden and trees. No roof gutter issues here, the rain pours off the trailer's narrow roof immediately and cascades down the trailer's sides. And water can't back up into the basement, depending upon a sump pump to return it outside. Sewer backed up? We can move to another one.
Some things are simpler and some are more varied about full-timing life on the road. We usually don't have a dozen restaurants within walking distance of our urban house. But we can choose from any number of nearby trails into the woods or hills or along the streams or rivers. Our scenery changes as often as we want. The view from our windows changes almost weekly between March and November, our biggest traveling months.
Funny, we've backpacked only a few times since we bought the Airstream. We've been having too much fun RVing. Finally, five years after we started Airstreaming, we backpacked the Cascades in Washington State in Sep 2009. Our Cascades trip was great, and boy was it sweet returning to the Airstream for a cold beer and a hot shower. Very lucky for us, fellow members in WBCCI, the Airstream owners' association, invited us to hike The Wonderland Trail with them. This long trail (we did 75 miles in nine days) runs the circumference of Mt Rainier's base. Let's go backpacking some more!
We have no plans to quit full-time travels in our 2005 25' Airstream trailer. It's been better than we could have hoped for, and every week brings more exciting and interesting things to us.
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