We have chosen to take this epic adventure in a 2015 30-foot Flying Cloud Airstream Bunkhouse. Wow, that’s a mouthful!
Lets break it down. We bought “almost new”. Just couldn’t find anything used in decent condition we felt good about full-timing in, especially with zero experience. 30-foot… which we thought we’d be terrified to tow. Turns out not so bad. Just be sure to take a towing safety class. And never try to make a K-turn! Flying cloud… that’s the trim level. Airstream… the big silver bullet. And bunkhouse… it’s a 2-bedroom => master bedroom + bunk beds.
So let me take you on a quick tour. This is our front-yard. It changes just about every week. Sometimes our front-yard is a big grassy field or a wooded lot. Sometimes it’s lakefront. And sometimes it’s a parking lot (when we get stuck in a crowded RV park). And every once in a while, our front yard gets to be a big, open playground. Which the girls love.
And every once in a while our front yard gets to be a berry orchard with 13 acres of raspberry bushes, cherry trees and 40-year old blueberry bushes that produce the plumpest blueberry you can imagine.
When you enter our home, it’s divided into 3 parts. Our master bedroom. The girls room (bunks). And the nucleus (main living area) .
Below is the nucleus. Behind the morning piggy-back is our wrap-around bench seating where we eat all our meals. It seats 5, but we are always getting up a lot and it’s a little cramped so usually mom or dad sit on the side couch. This area also doubles or triples as an extra office space, art table, baking station, home school central and well it’s our only table so it gets a lot of use.
The kitchen is also in this nucleus. A simple, modest sized frig. Which I actually love. Forces you to buy only what you need. And buy fresh. There is also a 3-burner stove and convection oven. I am still not sure what convection ovens do, but Char baked a killer blueberry pie in it. So I think it runs on magic or something. Char also quite brilliantly supplemented our kitchen gear with an Instapot pressure cooker. Totally worth the investment. We really are eating well… braised ribs, pan seared salmon… slow cooked lentils… country pot roast with herbs. Being on road we have in no way compromised the quality of food and level of cooking we are enjoying.
Next below you will see a pic of our Master Bedroom. A full sized bed. And his and her mini-closets.
It’s worth taking a minute to talk about the bunkhouse and how glad we are we picked this layout. Seriously, I think I would be throwing in the towel right now if we didn’t. We had been looking at a 28-foot with a twin-bed in the front. Figured this way our 3 girls could share two beds and everyone would sleep better.
However, this would mean every night Char and I would be sleeping on a kitchen table that converts to a bed. Ok, maybe not a deal breaker if you are a part-timer. But the idea of every night, at the end of an exhausting day where we frequently wrestle our little ones to bed and to then have to begin “transforming” our bed, I think it would have broken me. No thanks Optimus Prime. If we are going from a big 5-bedroom house to 30-feet of living space, I want my own bad. So glad we have a bunkhouse!
It may not look like much but it is working out beautifully. When we left 909 Lotus, we downsized 2 rooms of toys to ONE box. And they haven’t skipped a beat. They have their favorite toys. They have each other. And most of all more and more they are learning to love just being outside.
The other side of the split-shot above is their wardrobe. One drawer for each of them. A super deep closet where their dresses hang. And one extra drawer for shoes and pink bunny rain boots of course.
It’s a strange thing living full-time in a Airstream. A total of about 220 sq feet between the five of us. I knew we would make it work. My wife and I are an amazing team. And we always find a way to work through things as a family. Truth is though, this hasn’t been that hard. I really love how we are working together as a family. Living the suburban life, I felt like Char and I had our own schedules and we just had to coordinate things when our routines overlapped. More like co-existing. Not talking about relationship-wise. We are best-est of friends and always in love. I am talking about the practicality of daily life. Honestly you don’t have to work together that much when you have every convenience you need. And when life is more or less predicable.
On the road… teamwork is not an option, it’s mandatory. Running out of fresh water. Running out of tank space. Not enough room for food. Can’t find anywhere to buy good food. Getting lost in a foreign state. Running low on gas in a strange place. Every single day we MUST work together to make it work. To other people this may seem like an unwanted stress. To us it has been a blessing. I feel like we are a better team now than we have ever been before.
And so there you have it. Our shiny, tiny house on wheels. I have to tell you, as we travel around the country we see these mega travel trailers and fifth wheels. Super impressive and epic. With slide-outs that make it look bigger than my buddy Greg’s first apartment he had in NYC. And from the outside, these giants look like they could eat our Airstream for lunch. But somehow… every time we get inside, there always seems to be more than enough space for everyone to find their cozy spot. This is HOME…