How it started – LJ, the Airstream

July 6, 2021

I’ve grown up camping and being outside is in my bones. My parents had taken me and my siblings on numerous camping trips since they were the most economical way to vacation. My mom was a teacher and my dad a pastor. They were fortunate enough to be able to take long stretches of time off in the summers to spend with us. They were the original van life couple. I remember, when I was 4 or 5, my dad bought a stock Chevy van and fixed it up. It was exciting to see him move the stock chairs around, put in new lush captains chairs that swiveled and add a bed in the back. Can you believe that van took our family of 5 from the mountains of North Carolina all the way to California one summer? Eventually, they got a pull behind Wilderness trailer but they used our Chrysler New Yorker to tow it. Can you imagine seeing a sedan pulling a travel trailer today?!?!

Once Andy and I decided it was time to find a way for me to adventure and explore safely alone, we looked at many options. I wasn’t opposed to getting a roof top tent for my 2019 Honda Passport but Andy worried that getting our dog up the ladder may be difficult. Goose is a rescue and a prior stray dog. For some reason, he doesn’t like to be picked up and it’s nearly impossible to try and catch him when he knows you want to pick him up (must be a dog catcher phobia). Plus, if I was going to work on the road, I would need a proper space and a tent would prove more difficult for comfortable laptop work. We looked at towable trailers that my Passport could tow. As a child, I remember seeing the Airstreams in campgrounds and thinking they were the ultimate travel trailer. They never aged and always looked so cool!

We looked for Airstream options in the 16 ft range and did some research on the Bambi and the Caravel. We decided to rent one for a weekend to see if we could enjoy that small space together because Andy would want to join me from time to time. We used RV Share and found a great one about three hours away (Airstreams are harder to find to rent so we were prepared to travel a little bit). We didn’t bring our dog this time because it was a no pet rental. We discovered it was too small for our comfort level and adding a dog would be impossible. So we kept searching. Andy suggested that we move up to the 22’ length and said I could borrow his truck when I wanted to head out on adventure. We decided on the Caravel because of its features that would make life easier for me alone. The most important feature was the power hitch jack, which to this day I am so thankful for his insight on that! 

We started searching on Airstream Marketplace and found a brand new, never used 2021 Carvel – the exact one I was looking for. We inquired and eventually purchased it from an older couple that had bought it and decided that due to life changes they wouldn’t be able to use it. Their change in life was a life changer for me. I’m so blessed that I finally had something to allow me to get away from time to time without spending a ton of money and allows me to get back to some simplicity away from distractions. 

For our first camping experience, Andy and I went together to the Holiday Travel Park in Virginia Beach. We were visiting family for a graduation party for our nephews and decided it was the perfect time to try it out. Andy towed it with his 2017 GMC Sierra and it was scary! We took some thin backroads to avoid the interstate and they were so narrow we were a little stressed when we finally arrived at the campsite. After that, the weekend went smoothly and we learned how most everything worked on the Airstream. Of course, we took the interstate home when it was time to leave! To read more of my adventures, check out my other posts.

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