Tag Archives: full time

Spring Cleaning Our Airstream

Shiny again!

Shiny again!

George and I have been doing some major spring cleaning around the ol’ Airstream. We washed the Airstream, planted flowers, pulled weeds, and at 11:00 last night I decided I needed to recaulk our shower. Home improvement projects are like that. You start one and then realize you need to do five more.

The Before!

The Before!

It all started with our air conditioning system. It broke at the end of last summer. It was almost cool enough to where we didn’t need it, but not quite. So we bought a portable one instead of the rooftop unit. The portable one was less than half the price of the rooftop unit, but it did not work as well. The first one we had also had a piece fly off in the middle of the night. I woke up screaming. I’m pretty sure I lost a year off my life.

Since we have Bambi, we were really worried about it getting too hot in our tin can, so we shelled out the $600 dollars for a new rooftop unit. Or at least, George did. He’s been working a ton lately and that money went to a good cause.

Be careful!

Be careful!

Well, after we fixed the rooftop unit, we decided the Airstream needed a good wash. And it did. Lord, it did. The poor ol’ thing had endured some major weather since the last time we washed it and just rinsing the dirt off was an epic improvement.

My flowers!

My flowers!

George also surprised me with the flowers and I think they make our Airstream look much more homey.

Have done any sprucing up projects lately? Talk to me in the comments!



A Day In the Life of a Full-Time Airstreamer

a day in the life of a full-time airstreamer I swear to you all that I’m not a narcissistic person, although it might seem that way just looking at the title of this post. I came up with the idea to do this post as a way for you all to get a glimpse into what day-to-day life is like in my Airstream. Funny story, I actually did this experiment on a Thursday and the entire day was so boring that I waited until Saturday to try it again. My regular work day mostly consists of me going to work and not spending time in the Airstream at all! (I hope to remedy that one day.) Anyway, I hope this post is at least marginally more interesting than watching paint dry. Here it goes… A day in the life of a full-time Airstreamer.


Wake up to take Bambi out. Brr! It’s cold out there. Jump back in bed for a little while longer.

Bambi 10:00am
George and I wake up again to Bambi’s smiling face. That girl has so much energy when she wakes up. I am so jealous of that quality!

I make sure the hot water is turned off. When it’s turned on, I can’t boil water or turn on the stove or it will flip the breaker. I boil the water first since I also can’t cook while the electric tea kettle is on, it’s a balancing act, but we manage.

IMG_0380 IMG_0437 10:15am
Once the water has boiled, I pour the water over the ground beans to make coffee in our French Press (press it good!), then I get started on the eggs. I have two eggs on a tortilla with guacamole or hot sauce almost every morning. I like not having to think too much about breakfast.

I know at this point, I should just do the dishes, but they’ll have to wait because this morning we are headed to our local flea market so we can scout treasures for George to sell. George works for himself as an artist, so it helps for us to have multiple income streams.

I make sure to turn the hot water back on so it’ll be hot by the time we get home. I then throw on (probably too many) layers of clothes and put Bambi in a sweatshirt and hit the road in our (new to us) van.

IMG_0426 11:15am
We realize on the way to the flea market we have no cash. Cash is king at the flea market, so we stop at a Trader Joe’s on the way. We need coconut oil and sweetened condensed milk. George runs in while I wait in the car. Trader Joe’s has neither coconut oil nor sweetened condensed milk, so George grabs beer and chocolate. Good choices, my husband, good choices. And we’re on the road again!

IMG_0432 12:00pm
Finally make it to the flea market. Bambi doesn’t like to walk at the flea market. I don’t know if she is scared of the big dogs or she’s just a princess, but I carry her the entire time. My arms ache, but I try to think of it as a workout. We find a few treasures, nothing spectacular, but a few things that we think will sell. We never buy anything for ourselves. It’s hard, but when we’re at the flea market we aren’t looking for ourselves, we’re looking to make money.

We managed to make our way around the flea market and see everything. George brought a few things with him that he sold to a friend, so we leave the flea market to drop off that stuff. I’m fully aware that it’s ironic that George makes most of his money making and selling stuff. Not everyone is a minimalist and that’s ok.

We drop off the stuff and since Trader Joe’s was so bare, we head to a different grocery store on the way home. I try to get most of my groceries from our CSA, but it’s the end of the month and our cupboards are bare!

We finally get back home. By this time, I’m getting hangry, so I fix a small snack. George says I’m stingy because I won’t share, but he can have his own! I’m on a new eating regimen and I only get so many calories a day, so each one is precious! I know it’s mean.

IMG_0433 3:10pm
I start by tackling the huge mound of dishes. Doing dishes is one of my most hated chores. The dishes never end! Before I even get to the end, I’m out of hot water. I switch the hot water off, so I can boil some more. In the mean time, I start tackling the bathroom.

IMG_0434 3:50pm
The bathroom is small, so it’s easy to clean. By the time the hot water is boiling, I’m finished cleaning the bathroom. I finish up the dishes and relax for a bit.

While I relax, George sweeps the floors. Cleaning around our house is like a dance, it requires a lot of coordination and it’s difficult for two people to be in the same space at the same time. We usually just take different tasks and try to clean and cook at different times.

IMG_0442 IMG_0443 4:30pm
My afternoon snack was minuscule and I’m getting hungry again. But after cleaning up, I want something fast and easy. I picked up some gluten-free chicken nuggets on my grocery store trip, so I heat those up in our mini convection oven. I also fix a salad. I know it’s not the most healthy meal, but it’s fast, easy and I don’t have to clean much.

IMG_0440 4:45pm
We eat dinner and then George makes a couple key chains to sell.

IMG_0444 5:15pm
We head to a friend’s house. This particular friend is fixing up an old school bus to live in. I should have taken a few pictures, but I documenting every bit of your day is sort of weird. Right? I did manage to take a picture of the fire pit?

We head home. It’s Bambi’s second dinner time! I fix another snack and a glass of wine. Of course, I forgot to turn on the hot water so I watch a bit of TV while it heats up. We don’t have a real TV and live happily without one. (Here’s how.)

IMG_0448 11:30pm
I fall asleep watching Dual Survivor.

I wake up and take a shower. I realize how lame I am.

Was this enlightening for you? My life isn’t always exciting, but it’s usually a good one.


The Small Life: The Peterson Family

livinlightly-on-the-road I am so pumped about this post! I love to see how families make living small work for them. Today we’ve got Nick Peterson from Livin’ Lightly. Nick, his wife, and two young children live, travel and work from an Airstream! Take it away, Nick…

livinlightly-morning-cuddles Hello! We are the Peterson family! My wife and two kids (daughter 3 years and son 5 months) live, travel and work in our 1966 Airstream Overlander. We’ve been living small full-time for the past two years.

For us tiny living was never about the space. (At least not entirely.) We chose to live small so that we can live large in other areas of our life. Life’s all about trade-offs.

livinlightly-exploring-map Pre-Airstream the daily grind consisted of work, paying bills then we tried to squeeze in some family, friends and fun. After the birth of our daughter we began to rethink our existence and intentionally plan our life.

livinlightly-stoy-time For us this meant trading a steady income + benefits, larger living space for portability, time with family and pursing work we love.

In preparation for this transition we buckled down and cut all unnecessary spending, got on a strict budget, paid off our debt and saved. We purged and sold all our stuff, bought a vintage Airstream and a big truck to pull it. We worked to build versatile and largely passive income streams to pay the bills.

livinlightly-parked-in-woods Now we have the time, and ironically space to share life as a family, the freedom to travel and explore and pursue what matters to us most.

Here’s to living the small space large life dream!

Aren’t they just the cutest?! You can read more about Nick and his family on their blog, Livin’ Lightly or on IG: livinlightlyAnd remember, If you want to submit your own Small Life, email me asmalllifemelanie @ gmail dot com.




The Airstream Diaries: Life’s Not Perfect


I took a little break from my Love Weekends posts this week to spend a little bit of unplugged time with my family. We did watch a lot of Mountain Men together though. We were bonding over our shared dislike of Eustace who lives in the mountains of our state.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to start showing you all everyday pictures of the ‘ol Airstream. You’ve seen the glamour shots and if you’re anything like me, you’ve stumbled upon oodles of over-stylized, “glamping” shots of Airstreams and campers online. And you know what? Those pictures aren’t even close to real. I got 3 mosquito bites just sitting in the house today. That picture above, yeah, that’s the current state of my bathroom. The humidity in the Airstream is so bad that we constantly run a dehumidifier and to be quite frank, with all the rain we’ve had our septic system is backing up. It ain’t pretty.

air conditioning

Did I mention that our air conditioning broke? It’s been a mild summer, but these past couple of weeks have been in the 90s and this gigantic floor air-conditioning unit keeps our house at a cool 81 degrees. Sweaty. We’re planning on a permanent fix for the roof-top air-conditioning but we want to get a proper (inexpensive) replacement which could take time.

dirty dishes

And don’t even get me started on dishes! My sink usually looks like this. I have day dreams of dishwashing machines.

pantry airstream pantry 2 airstream

But it’s not all bad. We went to BJ’s this weekend (with my mom’s membership) and stocked up. George and I spent our entire food allowance for the month, but we also spent a good 15 minutes talking about how a fully stocked pantry and fridge made us feel rich. Our pantry is disorganized and none of our cups match, but we have food in our bellies and in our home.

It’s not a perfect life. It’s not “Pinterest-worthy.” But it’s a good one.

Do you like seeing more “real” pictures of our life? Let me know in the comments!



Airstream Front View copy So maybe Airstream Week has ended up being Airstream two weeks. Or week and a half. Oh well. Ya’ll aren’t sick of it yet, are you? I got a lot of questions about the Airstream and our life and I wanted to answer some of them here. So here goes.

1. Do you really live in the Airstream… like all the time?
Yep! We live in the Airstream in the stifling heat of summer and the bone chilling cold of winter. In case of an emergency (like a hurricane), we’ll go to a relative’s house nearby. But other than that, we’re in it the whole time!

2. Are you parked or do you travel?
Right now we are parked in order to save money. We would love to travel with the Airstream one day.

3. Where are you parked?
We are parked on land owned by my husband’s family. It is a beautiful farmed and wooded plot. We stay on the land in exchange for chores.

4. Where do you do laundry?
We have very gracious relatives who let us do laundry at their house in exchange for chores around the house.

5. How much did your Airstream cost?
Our Airstream was $5,000 and we spent about $1,000 on fixing her up. Read more about our buying story here.

6. How long did it take you to fix up the Airstream?
It took about 2 months of intense work.

7. How can I live this life?
This life isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. 90 percent of living this way is deciding that you want it and sticking with it.

What questions have you been dying to ask? Ask me in the comments!


Our 1978 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht: The Exterior Tour

Airstream through the trees copy I’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t do much to the outside of our Airstream. We washed it, polished it and put it in it’s permanent home. We didn’t feel the need to acid-wash it and make it super shiny. It just didn’t fit our style.

Airstream in the woods copy We did put a lot of work into the land that the Airstream is parked on. We had to clear brush, lots of poison ivy (George got so sick!) and even cut down a few trees.

Airstream in the Pine Trees copy The second-most frequently asked question I get is: “Do we own the land we’re parked on?” Kind of. We live on land that has been in my husband’s family for over 80 years. Part of the land is wooded and part is farmed. We earn our keep by helping out around the property– chopping firewood, cleaning the barn and feeding the animals.

Airstream and Garden copy

The first-most asked question I get asked is: “Do you actually live there?” Yes! We live here full-time. In the event of an emergency, like a hurricane, we have relatives we can visit nearby, but we’re in the Airstream during the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

An Airstream in the pines copy George with Airstream copy Anyway, since the Airstream is so small, we’ve tried to make the exterior equally as nice as the interior. George surprised me one day by laying the rock path to the house. He also built a natural rock fire pit from rocks on the property after I talked about our friends’ fire pit for 2 weeks. I think he did it just to shut me up. 🙂

Airstream Outdoor Setup AMB

When it’s nice outside, George and I like to break out the lawn chairs and a few beers. We’ll often cook dinner on the fire and eat in the outdoors. It sounds corny, but living this way has really made me appreciate nature.

Airstream Sovereign Tag copy Back of the Airstream copy Airstream Front View copy

door to Airstream copy Succulents Outside the Airstream copy Thanks for touring my humble abode this week. And Happy Friday! This weekend I plan on doing what I do best, just hanging out around the ol’ Airstream.

Got any weekend plans? Let me know about ’em in the comments!


1978 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht Remodel

Airstream Back Before and After I think the best word to describe what I’m feeling right now is giddy. It took a lot of hard, sometimes disgusting, always sweaty, work to remodel our 1978 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht, but we did it. This may be one of the proudest moments of my life. I may even be more proud of myself than when I graduated from undergrad and grad school. Not even kidding. But before I pop a bottle of champagne, let’s get to the details!

You’ll notice we didn’t restore the Airstream to original. We’re not purists and we only had a budget of $1,000 to fix her up. (We bought her for $5,000, more about our buying story here.) We went slightly over budget due to the amount of paint we needed. We severely underestimated that. Unlike many of the Airstreams you might see online, we also live in this thing. Full-time. We tried to keep the integrity of our original Airstream, but tailor it to fit our needs.

When you enter the Airstream and look left you’ll see what is in the picture above. We tore out the Cookie Monster blue carpets and replaced them with laminate flooring. We created a window in the wall beside the kitchen to open up the space, replaced the gas fridge, George built shelves, a desk and a bench for napping! We replaced all the window screens. (Here’s how to do that.) We also tore out some of the overhead compartments to open up the space. My main job was painting. The Airstream had gas heat which can leave sticky gross stuff on the walls and we think maybe someone smoked in here, so it was my job to thoroughly clean everything (bleach was my best friend), then coat pretty much everything in Kilz and cover it with a bright white paint and primer. In some places it took four coats. On the storage compartments and the weird plastic spots, we used Rust-oleum gloss white spray enamel. On the countertops we used a custom-color oil-based enamel. Overall, the paint has held up pretty well. Some spots have needed to be touched up, but I think the white paint was the most transformative aspect of the remodel.

Airstream Bed Area Before and After copy

If you look to the right in the Airstream, you’ll see our spacious queen-size bed. To me, a big bed was more important than a dining room, so we tore out the benches, and George built us a custom bed frame. Read more about tips on creating that here. I also made a ton of pillows because… luxury. (Here’s how I made the pillows here.)

Airstream Cooking Setup Before and After

I didn’t have a great photo of the “before” oven because we found a huge mouse den in there and I had to get it out ASAP.  We use a convection oven and two burners for cooking. It works out pretty well. There’s no Thanksgiving meals going on in here, but our oven fits a full-size pizza, so I’m happy.

Airstream from Back before and after

If you walk through the kitchen and turn back around, this is the view you’ll see. You’ll notice we took off the covers from the kitchen cabinets and replaced them with super-cute curtains that my mom made. From here, you’ll also get a better view of the custom bench and drawers we have for hiding all kinds of crafts and art supplies. George crafted the drawers out of barn wood from the tobacco barn that is on our property. The storage area also houses our large record collection. When we were purging all of our worldly goods, we decided vinyl is one thing that we just couldn’t live without.

Airstream Bathroom Before and After

Oh my god, the bathroom, the bathroom. I’m not kidding when I say that I was scared to even go in the bathroom before the remodel. That camper toilet scared me. A real toilet was priority 1 on my list. Cleaning this bathroom really made all the difference. The “wallpaper” was actually really pretty under the 10 layers of dirt. Then again, we painted with oil-based enamel on the countertops, replaced the lights and did this fun, washi tape design on the mirror. (Here’s that how-to.)

Airstream Shower Before and After

Then the shower! Oh my. Still to this day, George and I have no idea why someone would try to spray paint a shower blue (to match the carpet?!?!). To remedy this situation we took the easy way out and used a kit that we found at Lowe’s. I’d love to one day have a luxurious tub or at least a prettier shower, but sometimes the cheap way wins. We also purchased and installed a very nice shower head.

You can’t see it in these pictures, but we started off with the floors all laminate, but had to replace the bathroom floor when our hot water heater started leaking. That was unfortunate, but it’s been the only big issue that we’ve run into (fingers crossed).

This remodel was a whole hell of a lot of work. George and I have thought about doing it again, but we’re not mentally (or physically) prepared for it. Now that you’ve seen the before and afters, I’ll be sharing more glamour shots tomorrow!

Happy Airstream Week!