Our little life so far


For the longest time, I’ve been debating on how to update everyone on our Airstream life, which has caused this space to go silent. I’ve wanted to approach it in the most authentic way possible, and so I’ve been mulling over what’s meaningful to divulge and what’s not. What would I want to know? We’ve been living in the Airstream for 3 months now, but our story is pretty different than most.

Our experience hasn’t been a 6 month renovation followed by full-time traveling, though we’d love to get there eventually. The closest way I could describe our experience would be to say that we are “boon-docking” at my family’s property on the river. We have cold and hot water, but our water pressure isn’t ideal since our hose runs about 200 feet from the the water spigot. Essentially, our bathroom is a “make do with what you have” set-up. Since we are stationary for the time-being and don’t have access to a sewage system, we rely on the bathroom in my family’s cabin.

Originally, we bought the Airstream because we thought we would be moving. We didn’t want to spend the next few years hopping from apartment to apartment (and spending a ton of money on rent). This, combined with the fact that we’d been enamored with the tiny home movement, found us with a completely original 1972 Airstream that we had no idea what we were doing with. We dove into the project with a drive to build a life we believed in even though we were extraordinarily ignorant to what we had signed up for. It made me appreciate a whole new side of Mason because he took such a huge leap of faith with me. He spent hundreds of hours to make something that was never intended for full time living into a comfortable home for us. Despite having been together for 7 years, it solidified the fact that he was the perfect life-long adventuring partner for me. No dream was too challenging or too daunting.

Fast forward a year, and our moving plans fell through. This leaves us without access to full water/sewage hook-ups, wifi, or level ground. Instead of RV life in a new city, we’ve become one with nature.

At first, I was in shock. We went from cozy beds to stiff cushions (and quickly learned the magic of memory foam pads). Instead of having a barrier between me and the outside world, I felt exposed. In just three months we’ve had to cautiously avoid skunks and try not to trip over armadillos. We’ve been kept up at night with awe as we’ve listened to owls hooting at the moon and felt earth-vibrating thunder and watched as lightening lit up our windows. Also, I actually heard myself say, “I woke up because bugs were hitting the Airstream.” Bugs. I lost sleep over bugs with a death wish…

We percolate our coffee on the gas stove every morning and watch rabbits nibble on grass outside the window. We tease one another as we stumble over each other in the kitchen, and we promise never to take a real shower for granted ever again. In many ways, I feel like I live by my nerve endings. I feel everything so much more than I did before. The smallest things have the biggest significance, and I notice every little change in our habitat. I’m fully awake to our existence and those around us. It’s like my feet are finally on solid ground, whereas before I was unknowingly floating through a haze of day-to-day routine. I know now what I can endure and what I really, truly can live without.

It’s not perfect – some of our paint has already started to chip and we are far from finished with the renovation as a whole – but I really wouldn’t change a thing. This path let us switch gears from a life in the city to a home on the river, and I have faith that it will allow us to do it again if the need arises.

Now, we can afford to let Mason follow his ultimate dream of becoming a pilot – and with his training approaching, it makes my heart full knowing that this decision facilitates a depth of living that we couldn’t even fathom before. After years of watching him struggle with what path he was going to take, I’ve had the honor of watching him confidently choose the one passion that he’s always loved most.

So, what would I say to someone thinking about living tiny or someone contemplating living a non-traditional lifestyle? I would say, follow your intuition. Somehow, as humans, we already know what’s best. Keep your heart open to alternate ideas and new ways of living. If they keep coming back time-after-time, as though the universe is trying to tell you something – take the leap. Life is meant for living wide open. Don’t close yourself off to the things that seem impossible or only possible for certain people. It may not be easy, but it’s pretty darn fulfilling to try.

Interested in what our home looks like compared to before? See below, and as always, thanks for following along!
 Living area before: 

 After:(Table up)


(Table down / Bedroom set-up)

Kitchen before:

After:

Gaucho/ living nook before:

After:

Follow us on Instagram for further updates!

Building the dream


8 months… I’m not sure where the time has gone.

8 months ago it was June and the cicadas were reaching the peak of their song, and we decided to trek to a little known city outside of Dallas to pick up our future home.

Now, and in parts thanks to that journey, I’m sitting at my desk with wedding contracts and notes overflowing. The irony is, that despite how I like to keep things minimal these days (except for my piles of books, of course), is that I’ve unintentionally managed to juggle wedding planning, Airstream renovating and career changes simultaneously. I desperately wanted to journal more of this process, but I’ve found my time consumed by tiny black holes of paperwork, measurements and planning.

While the renovation pulls at my ever-waning energy, it also gives back. I power through most days the best I can, but when I get a chance to make the 20 minute drive to the Airstream it plants my feet back on the ground.

My day-to-day is a storm of learning a whole new job, applying for dream jobs, keeping my wedding vendors on track, ordering decorations, balancing budgets…. all these ifs and whens and soon-to-bes….and then I drive through the gate to the property and the Airstream is the first thing I see, shining like a mirage of hope in the desert.

But it isn’t a mirage, it is our budding oasis.

We haven’t had an oasis to call our own in a really, really long time, if ever. Mason and I started dating while I was in high school and while we were both blessed with supportive households, we quickly became each other’s solid ground. Our oasis became weekends spent swimming, kayaking, and canoeing the Guadalupe river and star-gazing in the bed of a pick-up truck at night.

In college, we lived in a perpetual cycle of a new roommate every semester. We had an apartment to ourselves for all of 3 months before we moved back to our hometown.

And so we came full circle back to where we started.

We are BEYOND grateful for the support our parents give, and continue to give, every step we’ve taken on this road together. But for eight years, we’ve never really belonged anywhere. We’ve lived in borrowed space.

But, now..

Now we have this mobile, aluminum bean that we belong to. We’ve cleaned and scrubbed, primed and painted, built and broken, and reclaimed a home. We’ve placed our dreams in its cabinets and floors, in the fresh counter and dining/bed, and especially in every little, hard-to-reach corner.

In life, it’s not often you find something to place your dreams in for safe keeping, and even less often another person. But, I have now been blessed with both of those things. It is in this roaming tin can that I will navigate through life, with my best friend by my side at the helm.

This is the reminder that I need to come back to when things get hard. When life tries to keep whisking me into the future, this place and this person keeps me grounded in the present.

An important reminder that you can build a life and live in it, too.

And yes, best friend, this post is dedicated to you. Just 19 more days till “I do”โ™ฅ

Airstream Update 4: Light at the end of the tunnel


Today, I’m drafting up this post from inside the Airstream, which is a testament to its slowly improving comfort level.

Progress overall seems to be coming in leaps and bounds now, which I owe so much of to my dad and Mason. They have been pouring almost all of their free time to building our kitchen counter, and soon, the dinette/bed arrangement. Even the floor will be in any day now – a moment that will finally make it feel more like a home and less like a construction zone. After that, it’s just curtains and cushions and the move-in process will begin!

Retrofitting around the original plumbing, wiring, and appliances makes things move at a snail’s pace, but it also makes me feel like we’re keeping the original character of what the Airstream was – and now gets to continue to be.

Everyone, I’ve learned, has differing standards and limits when it comes to renovating a vintage Airstream. Mine was that I needed to cover up the brown veneer cabinets and yellow vinyl walls with a fresh white. Mason would’ve been fine with keeping them as they were, and surprisingly, I did start to miss the brown. So now we are incorporating reclaimed bead board from my great-great grandparents house – bringing back some earthiness while also bringing in sentimental value.

There are many people who decide to completely start from scratch and gut their trailer. Hence, no renovated Airstream truly ever looks the same. I think that’s part of the reasonย  Airstream renos are so fun to follow. It’s always interesting to see other people’s solutions and approaches to shared challenges. In many ways, they become reflections of the people that take them on. Sometimes, I wonder what our Airstream says about us…

Probably that I’m too sentimental, perhaps even a bit eccentric and stubborn in my approach to keep almost everything in tact. Yet, I think deep down I always knew it was important for me to feel like we were restoring her rather than wiping away her past. Don’t get me wrong, when you look inside our new counter to see the lengths my dad had to go to to keep all the plumbing fixtures in tact, you’d think we are crazy.

Exhibit A- the jigsaw insides of our counter ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Why in the world didn’t we just gut it? Isn’t that what a sane person would do? It certainly would’ve made things much simpler.

And yet, every time I’ve banged my head on the front rolling tombour cabinet, or got paint in my hair from trying to paint an inch of space behind the oven, or found all the spots where we inevitably didn’t do a great job painting — all the complaining I’ve done — has made me incredibly fond of every.single.millimeter. of our aluminum bean.

Despite all those silly tears I’ve shed, I value the growing spurts its given me, M, and our relationship. It embodies all of our wildest dreams. Reminding us that, yes, no matter how unconventional or difficult something may seem, it’s possible if you have the will and the heart for it.

That’s a realization I wish I could give to every person I meet.

ย “Now so much I know, that things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience.” ~Emmylou, First Aid Kit


This little place we are creating has been touched and toiled over by so many special people, I can’t even begin to imagine the moments we will share together in the future. It’s really teaching us the meaning of home, every last rivet of it.

Airstream Update 3: lessons in patience


Two days ago, we finished painting the entire Airstream white (except for the blue backsplash in the bathroom). I really didn’t think it would be such a long process since it’s only a 200 sq foot space, but since we kept most of the cabinetry and appliances it took a lot of patience to do a good job cutting in. There were some pretty pesky corners that were hard to get to, which resulted in me doing some “finger” painting because a brush wouldn’t fit. We were wishing for a spray gun when it was all said and done.

Let’s see what we’ve been able to cross off the list so far!

  • Finish painting the bathroom (so close!!)
  • Install Precision Temp hot water heater
    This heater made us have to do some serious retrofitting that we definitely didn’t foresee. I’m thinking the splurge on this will be worth it though!
  • Finish sealing exterior — this is a constant work in progress since we keep finding leaks after every good rain. Which makes sense because we haven’t had a chance to seal all the seams on the exterior. I know M will be wanting to get on this pronto.
  • Remove the galley (kitchen) counter
  • Paint the rest of the interior That is the most satisfying cross out to date!!
  • Evaluate the furnace This turned into Mason convincing me that we should invest in a new furnace. I really wanted a new oven to go in that space, but if we ever want to travel north this will probably be a blessing.
  • Order & install bamboo floors. We haven’t installed the floors yet because we were painting EVERYTHING, but we did decide to go with hard laminate. We couldn’t pass up the steal of a sale going on at Lowe’s.
  • Replace the axles
  • Replace the galley (we have decided to use outside help for this bitโ€“ so excited about the future butcher block counter!)
  • Build the front sleeping area
  • Curtains/Cushions
  • MOVE INNNN
  • Polish and shine the exterior for that wow-factor reflection๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Buy and install new awning
  • Happy little finishing touches here and there, plus adventures on the road!

We only have a handful of things to do now until we move in, which has definitely boosted my motivation. Based on other reno stories, I was sure we could finish in 3-4 months. That hasn’t been the case. Working full-time and maintaining some sanity means we don’t go out as often as some people probably would. As much as I would love to push myself harder to get things wrapped up, it would put too much stress on us right now. Self-care is important!

Regardless of being six months in, the finish line feels so much closer. We truly can’t complain. (Except for my hair, my hair is very happy that the painting process is over. I should’ve invested in a shower cap!)

I try and reflect on the little moments of this process, like jamming out to “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba while we paint (because it’s certainly knocked me down quite a few times ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Laughing at my impatience with, well, everything. If anything, this project will have hopefully taught me patience, and that the greatest victories are in the smallest things.

Now it’s time to settle down for the holidays and help M get over a cold. Until next time, here’s photos of our progress. As always, thanks for following along.

โ™ฅKassie

airstreambeforeafter

Below are photos sans before shots. I’m waiting to do those for when we have a more completed finished product. I’m probably going to do a post dedicated entirely to the bathroom because that space has transformed the most (and had the scariest before shot in my opinion!). So stay tuned!

Simple doesn’t mean easy.


Since June, we’ve spent all our time, money and energy towards our future home in a 31 foot aluminum trailer. There are days that sounds like the adventure of a lifetime and other days it sounds completely absurd.

Despite planning our wedding five months from now, M spraining his ankle, me getting sick, and other small life distractions, the most challenging hurdle for me to overcome is the acceptance of this lifestyle we are jumping into. But, not in the way you think.

I’ve thought many times to do this process quietly. To take it in and be in the moment, truly absorbing the journey and shutting out the rest of the world — to go offline and rid myself of the noise.

You see, what we are doing isn’t novel. In fact, it’s almost turning into a clichรฉ. Most of the people I follow on Instagram now are full-time Airstreamers and RVers, travelers and explorers. They have beautiful feeds of that ideal, free lifestyle. For that thing we think we are all searching for. While I tell myself I’m following them for ideas and insight, I too have been sucked into the draw of how much greener their side of the world seems. A side we can’t seem to get to fast enough. It can be an unnecessary pull of energy from the moment we’ve been given.

But you see, we are all the same. They had hiccups getting to where they are. Days when they probably looked around and wondered why they started. Some are open in sharing these “not so good” moments and some just seem like pixie fairies with no bad days.

We aren’t the pixie fairies. We are the 25-year-old and 27-year-old that were struggling to get to the next step in our lives, those stereotypical millennials living at home to save money after college, struggling to get a foothold.

That’s why we chose the Airstream. Yes it sounded and looked glamorous from all the blogs, forums and Instagram accounts, but we also had those late night conversations that picked apart whether we were really up for the task. It wasn’t an off hand decision. In fact, we were pretty apprehensive.

The point is, no matter how much I devote my life to simple, it doesn’t always mean things feel simple. Yesterday, I primed almost all of the rest of the Airstream and wanted to cry at the end because it didn’t look the way I thought it should. The cabinets I put the second coat of white paint on still looked off because, come to find out, I bought the wrong paint. It didn’t feel simple or fun or even OK. But then I came home to Mason and ate pizza and watched Netflix. I remembered that it is simple.

Before primer


After primer… the next coat after this will make me feel much better!

Simple doesn’t mean easy. It means you take every moment as it comes and you cherish it as it is, free of expectations. It just is, and just is can be pretty darn magical 100% of the time if you let it.

This is why I’m sharing our renovation story, despite the fact that more people have followed this blog than ever before. Despite feeling guilty when I don’t post weekly updates (even though there’s not much to update on). And mostly, despite the fact that it’s a trend and makes me compare our middle to someone else’s gorgeous finished end. 

I’m sharing because it’s our life right now. We can’t always make it pretty and tied up with a bow, or at least it isn’t our desire to try, and hopefully some people will find it easier to connect to.

We aren’t designers or cabinet makers or architects. I’m a writer and Mason only knows the basics of construction. We’re just learning as we go and fortunate enough to be in a place where we have the ability to take the time to learn. We are skimping and saving and trying not to cut corners. When it’s all said and done we want a home that can move with our needs and save us enough to pay off student loans . And yes, hopefully we’ll get to go on some wonderful adventures in between.

So for any of you taking on a project like this or still contemplating it, take this kernel from  Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (which I highly recommend):

that every single pursuitโ€”no matter how wonderful and exciting and glamorous it may initially seemโ€”comes with its own brand of shit sandwich, its own lousy side effects… if you love and want something enoughโ€”whatever it isโ€”then you donโ€™t really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it.

No one said it was going to be easy, but they didn’t say it wouldn’t be worth it. Have a happy Sunday!

And in case this was all a little too deep, we get to pick out our butcher block counter top today and I’m pretty excited about it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Keep on keepin on!

Airstream Update #2


Life of renovation in a few words:

Fire ant bites, waiting for paint to dry, and the never-ending sealing adventure

The unabridged version:

Since the last update, we’ve made quite a bit of headway despite busy schedules, illness, and yes, even fire ants. Despite a swollen ankle that I had to keep elevated for 2-3 days (what is this ridiculousness??), we have been soaring through our to-do list.

So far:

  • Major leaks from rain- sealed
  • Brakes- fixed (serious kudos to M for this!)
  • Bathroom-almost finished with the painting

Can’t wait to post the the final look!

  • Hot water heater- ready for installation (this is our biggest splurge item on the Airstream, fingers crossed it was worth it!)

We are going to have to do some handy work to get the hot water heater to fit right. Gotta love all those curves ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • More sealing of the exterior- never ending
  • A/C and Thermostat- up and running (hallelujah for A/C in August)

Mason’s Version of Completed Tasks

We calculated that a conservative estimate of doing all of these was about 54 hours- which doesn’t include all the research and planning that precedes everything we do

Since our plan was never a huge overhaul of the Airstream, but more of a “let’s do the best with what we have and keep it as original as possible,” we’ve had to do a lot of problem solving and compromising. However, I feel like this is enabling us to keep a lot of the fun, retro character of our Dream Stream. Keeping the vinyl walls means that we are dealing with a really tacky (as in sticky to the touch) surface that needs to be primed and painted white. The best thing we’ve found so far is to wipe the walls down with soap the best we can (I’ve given up on using bleach, extreme heat + extreme chemical smell = me feeling like I was slowly poisoning myself). After an initial rinsing and wiping, we cleaned the walls with liquid TSP which seems to prep the surface well enough for just one coat of primer and two coats of the white paint. Though to be honest, only time will probably tell. The issue we have run into the most is that where we use painter’s tape, the paint often comes up when it comes time to remove it. We think it’s because the paint wasn’t dry enough (again, it has been pretty darn hot), so we are learning to be more patient. We also just have to make sure we’ve gotten rid of most of the stickiness on the walls, which is a bit of a challenge. We are also considering using as little painter’s tape as possible to cut down on the risk of this occurring again.

Our current to-do list moving forward:

  • Finish painting the bathroom (so close!!)
  • Install Precision Temp hot water heater
  • Finish sealing exterior
  • Remove the galley (kitchen) counter
  • Paint the rest of the interior
  • Evaluate the furnace
  • Order & install bamboo floors
  • Replace the axles
  • Replace the galley (we have decided to use outside help for this bit– so excited about the future butcher block counter!)
  • Build the front sleeping area
  • Curtains/Cushions
  • MOVE INNNN
  • Polish and shine the exterior for that wow-factor reflection ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Buy and install new awning
  • Happy little finishing touches here and there, plus adventures on the road

We have our moments when we visit friends and family in their apartments and homes and wonder what in the world we got ourselves into. We literally could’ve put a down payment on a small home by now, but we’re still so, so excited that we’ve chosen this journey. We’re at a time in our lives where there aren’t a whole lot of knowns or givens, and it’s nice to know that this little home can follow us wherever our future leads– in fact, it can take us wherever we need to go. That’s an incredibly reassuring thought at the end of the day. It isn’t holding us down. If anything, it inspires us to always keep moving forward.

For regular updates, feel free to follow our shenanigans on Instagram!

In Search of Simpler Times


It’s funny how in a couple of generations things can be forgotten, lost in time.

Traditions, places, faces.

Yet, when revisiting them it reawakens something we’ve never really lost.

The first time I visited far west Texas, I was sixteen. I wasn’t truly present to the family road trip, but I do remember the crisp air and the cool summer nights,the vistas and endless horizon, and the mountains sprawling like a distant memory.

Fast forward nine years. This time I was listening. This time, I touched link after link of connections to a time before myself. Somehow, this place felt ingrained into me from childhood stories and people I hazily remember.

DSC_2903

A ranch near Marathon, TX.

On our trip we found the ranch my great-grandparents lived and worked on. Their ranch house happened to sit within viewing distance of the mansion facade for the movie set of the Giant. From the road, you can see a few lonely timbers still standing.

Here, my dad reminisced at the general supply store- Livingston’s- where he bought his first cowboy hat. We explored the Marfa Cemetery and found my great-great grandmother Maggie’s resting place. Come to find out, her great-great-great-granddaughter would share her birthday 137 years later. Yet another link that made me feel happy. Happy that a part of her would live on, even if it was just me telling my niece in the future that she shared in such an expansive family past.

DSC_2860

On the side of a mountain between Ft.Davis and Marfa, I sat eating chuckwagon-inspired food at Bloys Campmeeting, where generations of my family have gathered for a little over a century.ย  My father talked about the camp meeting with such vivid childhood memories. The strangest part was as we sat eating, we sat as outsiders. My dad’s history the only window at which we could peek into this family heritage. I felt like I could know these people, I should’ve perhaps in a different life, but I didn’t. So we enjoyed our dutch oven biscuits and bbq brisket, were grateful, and left for our Airbnb in Ft. Davis.

 

***

This past weekend was my grandmother’s birthday. Once again, I felt myself steeped in strong memories. This time they were partly my own and partly long before my time. In all honesty, we don’t get to visit this small town of my childhood summers anymore. Life has gotten busy, that far-too-complicated kind of busy that truly doesn’t make any sense in the grand scheme of things. Surely we should always have time for these kinds of places? Such wonderful places that hold such big parts of who we are, and yet we let life sweep us along- further and further away from them.

As we celebrated her day, I sat trying to hold onto the threads that tied me to her and the town I loved so much. Up until I was 12, we’d visit the grocery store my great-grandparents owned there. I’d gladly wake up before sunrise and drive through the sleepy town to help open the store. My great-grandfather would set to work in the meat market, his meat saw loud and terrifying to a little girl who wanted to keep all her fingers. My great-grandmother and grandmother set up the registers and made sure the shelves were stocked. I’d proudly take the task of unrolling the flag and placing it back outside and flipping the NOW OPEN sign over as soon as the clock struck 8. I remember making cattle runs in the evening- feeding and counting cows while avoiding the snapping jaws of ambling geese (much scarier then than they are now). I remember the wonderful home cooked dinners I haven’t tasted from their hands in over a decade. Who knew I’d miss its comfort? I remember the way it felt when we would fall asleep from contented exhaustion. I don’t remember thinking too much, only being happily busy all day, loved, and enthralled by a world so vastly different from my own.

Processed with VSCO with q3 preset

Who knew all these things would fall further and further away into hazy subconscious, and be the one thing that I would cling to unknowingly as an adult- hoping to recreate it one day in my own way.

My grandparents and their parents and so on and so on have been reminding me of how simple life can be. Their memories have reignited my own journey to build a simpler lifestyle, and because of that realization, I miss them beyond words. I wish I could ask them so many questions- even the ones that I never got the chance to know. They hold so much knowledge that I would love to be able to call them up sometimes. Yet now that they are gone, I just find myself scrambling for it in books and on the internet, hoping that my intuition will be enough. They lived it without thinking, and goodness knows I think too much.

I get whiffs of them in little moments. When I smell that sweet hay smell that follows livestock. A certain taste of cheese that they carried in their store can bring me back in a wave of memories.

My dad finds it in homemade plum jam and West Texas honey. In worn-in leather and dry mountain air. We both are reaching back to them for these sweet moments. A link to their awareness of the land around them, their love of working with their hands, their recipes passed down from decades of trial-and-error, and their love of family and community. In many ways, with their passing we let that piece of ourselves be forgotten. We didn’t take the time to let them teach us, or we simply just took it for granted as the world changed. And that simplicity, well, hopefully we’ll figure it out again soon. It might not look the same as it did in our memories, but hopefully it will be something just as fulfilling.

**Since I know many of you follow for progress on the Airstream– have no fear, things are coming along and an update is coming soon! Sadly, I’ve just been under the weather- which really isn’t a good excuse, but that’s all I got ๐Ÿ˜‰