One of our twins said his first word today “Mama.” My heart almost burst with happiness. Within half an hour he was saying “Mama, Papa, Mama, Papa.” But his Papa is away for work for the next two weeks and is missing out on this incredible milestone. He works hard and he pays the bills but he misses a lot of the magical moments.
This mother with 3 kids under 3 years continues in her blog…
Too many people today are on a similar treadmill. Missing out on the precious first years of their children’s lives. And for what? A mortgage? A fancy car? Things?
We’re starting to understand why more than 75% of our Airstream renovation clients are women. In this case, it’s an Australian mother who’s feeling housebound and trapped, even bored, by the daily demands of raising three active children. A toddler’s throwing tantrums, and twins run her haggard. Her partner’s saddled with the demands of a job that brings him home from work after the children are bedded down.
I realised I was in need of a new adventure when I felt jealous of one of my best friends.
Envy is not an emotion I commonly feel, but when my friend and her family moved to a quiet seaside town to escape the treadmill, the niggling feeling started.
We hear this a lot. The circumstances are different, but the feeling’s the same. People are fed up with the “green-eyed monster.”
(My friend) bought a house within walking distance to a beach, made effort to become part of the community, found a wonderful playgroup for her toddler and had time for yoga. Her husband was home from work every day by 5pm.
The niggling feeling grew.
The green-eyed monster stirs from its slumber.
Photos sent by email rubbed salt into the wounds; the happy family down by the river, walking along the beach, their son playing in the backyard with sun kissed hair.
But instead of letting the green-eyed monster takeover, I embraced it and took a good hard look at myself.
By identifying why I was feeling jealous, it inspired me to change the status quo. Hence our Airstream Adventure was born.
Many today are chasing peace. Prioritizing what matters most.
In my case, it’s not about having a big house, money or possessions. It’s about spending quality time with our children while they’re young (and still want to know us), reducing our footprint and travelling. Luckily I have a partner with similar yearnings.
The antidote for this family, and a growing number around the globe, is to live a right-sized life. For many that means living with a lot less stuff and a lifestyle that embraces the earth and all its splendor firsthand.
Enter Wallabee, a vintage 1968 Airstream Ambassador 28’ that was renovated for this very special family of five. It was delivered to the Port of LA in mid-November for the 45-day voyage.
When the clock clicks from 2012 to 2013 Wallabee will get a front row seat of the New Year’s Eve Fireworks over the world famous Opera House in the Sydney Harbor. After exploring the US the these past 40 years in glorious Minnesota, Wallabee’s new home is the warmth and unlimited expanse of Australia.
Sonia and her partner Remi are a vibrant 30-something couple with three rambunctious children – a toddler and a pair of twins who will be 3 and 1-1/2-years-old, respectively, when they hit the Australian Outback next year for 12 months on the road.
Mum is a freelance video journalist, and has been the family’s renovation point person with our HofArc design and production team. She’s already done an incredible job with chronicling the renovation process remotely on her website. Check it out at http://airstreamfamily.com.au
Sonia says they wanted an Airstream because of their desire to be free of the shackles and to live more purposely with less. They plan to trek cross-country with the family next year. She wanted an eco-friendly project because she’s conducting interviews “with interesting people who have fallen off the grid.” She’ll keep a blog and plans to prepare a documentary of their experiences. She also wanted a family-friendly space that was “as open as possible so the toddlers can run around when they’re awake.” But her need for some peace and quiet also required a separate bunkroom to put them to sleep when it’s time for her to write blogs and edit video.
HofArc President and Architect Matthew Hofmann recommended they go with a central bathroom (middle of the trailer) with a separate bedroom in the rear. “This design provides the possibility for privacy in a small space,” says Matthew. “We have lots of tricks to make the trailer eco-friendly, from solar panels, to zero VOC finishes, and sustainable re-use of many existing systems and materials.”
The living space sleeping arrangement provides for a large convertible space in front for the parents with an easy-open-close queen bed in a back kids room. There are lots of storage compartments, drawers and hidden nooks for of the kids’ gear.
Systems include a 3-burner propane cooktop, a forced air furnace, dual fuel (propane/electric) refrigerator and powerful Dometic air conditioner that will be purchased and installed in Australia because the 230v power inverter that’s required for the electrical format in that country.
I’m enjoying my friend’s reactions when I tell them we’re planning to live in a vintage Airstream and travel around Australia with our three little munchkins.
It’s wise to believe in your course when you make dramatic sea changes. Family and friends may not be on board. So be ready to be patient with others, and yourself.
I’m under no illusion that trailer living is all peachy and fun. My friend who made the sea change recently described the reality of dropping out from her city life:
“(G)etting on the road doesn’t mean getting away from the work that motherhood brings (in fact in our case, and I’m sure in yours at the start, it actually increased the work while we sorted our new life out and got into the swing of things), for me I think it heightens the experience, softens the grind, increases my patience, and lessens my anxieties. But whatever your circumstances, chores are chores, food still needs to be cooked and dishes washed, poo is poo is poo is poo and puke still stinks whether you are at home or on the road. I know you recognised that you simplified the issues – the work involved and the inevitable sacrifices that these sorts of freedoms demand – but for us it has all been absolutely worth it and only time will tell if this remains the case – and I desperately, desperately, desperately hope that your freedom – when it finally comes rolling off that boat – is too.”
Sonia and Remi have taken the first step.
Click here to see a short video of Wallabee.
Prior to the renovation, Sonia hired a videographer to interview Matthew about the trailer. Thanks Sonia!
Hofmann Inc is a multi-faceted design and development company based in Santa Barbara, California.
The firm is built on the foundation of sustainability, mobility and adaptability. We strive to work with clients from different backgrounds, cultures, and surroundings. It is our belief that architecture is a worldwide community. We are excited to offer design services to clients worldwide.
As our belief that sustainability is a mere starting point for all successful design solutions, 100% of our architectural staff are LEED accredited professionals (a nationally recognized green building rating system). Great design can be classic, great design can be modern, great design is timeless.