180 Days and Counting

After 180 days on the road as full-time Airstreamers, we thought we would write a post to explain how and why we became full-timers. To do that, we need to go back in time a little bit so that you can truly understand how we got here [please imagine the sound effect of Wayne and Garth doing their doodley-do flashback thing].

It all started way back in 1982 in Los Angeles at a high school party the night of our homecoming football game. That was the night we first met.

[Okay, now imagine a record scratch sound effect here]

Hmm… maybe that’s too far back in time. How about this?

Prior to the pandemic, we were living in Park City, Utah, as once and future empty-nesters. Meghan, our older daughter, was living and working in Los Angeles, while Emily, our younger daughter, had spent a year in Israel prior to coming home to work for the Salt Lake City District Attorney while applying to law school. I was doing consulting and traveling 120,000+ miles a year in the air, and Donna was working locally in accounting.

When COVID hit, Meghan came home, “for two weeks,” and so we happily had both kids back home for another year, all of us working from home on our separate jobs every weekday. Although we never tried baking sourdough, we did all the lockdown activities like jigsaw puzzles, Netflix binging, trying new recipes, running virtual 5Ks, wiping down groceries and packages, etc. In short, we were all getting cabin fever. 

That’s when Donna and I had the idea to rent an RV and go camping.

Keep in mind that we didn’t have a trailer hitch on our SUV, we had never towed anything (a dinghy behind a sailboat does not count), we’d never had to pump out a holding tank (not even sailing!), and neither of us had ever been inside an RV in our lives. So yeah, renting an RV made total sense. 

We went online and reserved an Airstream Basecamp 16 from Utah Caravans, a super nice couple in Salt Lake City who had a couple of Airstreams for rent. I spent a bunch of money on a hitch for the SUV, had it installed (a long story for another day), and off we went to Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton National Park.

We loved it.

Immediately after we got home, I started researching campers we could buy, starting with tent campers (easily ruled out for lack of suitable, ahem, facilities). Before I knew it, we had placed an order for our very own Basecamp 16x (argh, another long story for another day). We traveled all around the Southwest and Mountain West (lots of blog posts here to tell those stories), oftentimes working from the trailer, a picnic table, etc.

When we sold our house in Park City and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, we used the trailer as our overnight accommodations along the way, then continued to use it on trips for the weekend or even longer.

Our original intent when we moved to Santa Fe was to rent a house until we found the perfect home to buy. We moved into a nice house with a beautiful view of old Santa Fe, including those amazing Southwest sunsets! We loved living in and getting to know our new city and all the various places we visited in our Airstream. So much so that one day, almost simultaneously, we both had the idea of full-timing. While we love Santa Fe, we had decided that it might not be the place we want to finally settle down. We wanted to explore more cities, more regions and, yes, more National Parks. We are both still young enough, healthy enough, and have the ability to do our jobs from literally anywhere our Starlink antenna (Dishy McFlatface [their name, not ours]) has a clear view of the sky.

That’s why, in March of this year (2023, in case you’re reading this in the year 5784), we hit the road full-time in our brand-new 30-foot Airstream Flying Cloud (Why did we buy another Airstream? What did we do with the Basecamp?).

We set out on this adventure with several goals, the first two of which are to travel to all 50 states and to see all 63 U.S. National Parks. I’ve already been to all 50 states and we’ve both been to many of the U.S. National Parks, but we have “reset the odometer” on those two metrics for this journey. So far, we’ve been to 28 National Parks and 19 states. We are also planning to spend a summer traveling around Alaska (2025, most likely).

Here on our 180th day, I am writing this blog post from a riverside campsite somewhere in Arkansas. By the way, if you have never been to Bentonville or Hot Springs, put them both on your list (blog and Instagram posts coming soon).

No, really. Do it right now. I’ll wait.

The nap, er, Map!

A few months ago we sketched out our travel plans for the next year or so on a napkin and that should give you some idea of our plans.

I will admit that, at first, our kids and my parents all thought that we had lost our marbles. This eventually turned to resignation and finally to acceptance. They seem to like hearing about all the places we have been, but this lifestyle is definitely not for them.

On second thought, maybe they still think we’ve lost our marbles.

Now for the answer to everyone’s first question these days: YES! After 180 days, we are still very much enjoying being digital nomads! And, yes, we are still married. 😉

We talked about this last night while we were eating dinner (yes, we have a full kitchen and still enjoy cooking even in a smaller space) and we both agreed that right now we can’t imagine living at a fixed location. I am sure that might change in a few years, but for now…

Discover more from The Adventures of Al Denty

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.