Anders and I chased the birds for 15 weeks last summer in a 23-foot Airstream trailer. If you don’t count the bed and bathroom, that’s two adults negotiating roughly 50 square feet of living space for 105 days.
Many of our friends think we’ve lost our minds. “You really have to like each other,” is the typical reaction. And of course they’re right.
How does this actually work, is the first thing my girlfriends want to know. Do they mean where do we put our stuff, or how do we stay married under these conditions? The answers to both can be a bit tricky.
Valentine’s Day is upon us, we’re back in the Airstream for the next 2½ months, and I cannot remember where I put Anders’ Valentine card. Love is on the line but I’m not about to unpack this entire trailer to find it.
It’s important to note that this is not exactly what my girlfriends envision as camping. The Airstream has a queen-size bed, a real shower, and a way-better view than we have back home. It’s sleek and elegant – an aluminum American icon that we’ve dreamed about for 30 years.
We used to spend hours flipping through Airstream brochures. You could just taste the open road, waking to birdsong and not having teenagers at home anymore. I called it our Happy Place.
Now here we are. Some days there’s no doubt that this compact lifestyle enhances our marriage. Coffee by the campfire, wine by the campfire, music by the campfire. Give us anything by the campfire and we’re lulled into an exquisite, life-in-the-moment bliss.
Yet there are consequences: Clothes saturated with wood smoke, towels that never quite dry, a constant need to “suck it in” as you pass by each other in the 18-inch hallway.
Today I’ll spend five hours trundling along in a pickup truck and eat a soggy sandwich out of a tinfoil pouch for lunch. Tonight, an unobstructed view of the stars will wash that all away. With every ounce of my being, I’ll love this man who’s given me all of the things I’ve ever really wanted. Including an Airstream.
Who needs a Valentine?