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Why live in an Airstream?

As I write, we depart four weeks from today to head out west to Grand Teton National Park in our Airstream. We will likely be gone for five or six months.



We have a perfectly nice house in a college town in central Pennsylvania. We can walk to hiking trails, restaurants (once we’re fully vaccinated!) and entertainment.

Why would we leave home, voluntarily reside in an aluminum tube whose total living area is less than 240 square feet, deal with heat, power, water and sewer management, periodically schlep 40 pound propane bottles and dump gray and black tanks, occasionally engage in emergencyroadside repairs, and resign ourselves to driving a lumbering diesel pick-up truck to fetch the groceries?

Freedom Mobility Options

The Airstream gives us mobility, freedom and options that neither our house nor a traditional vacation can provide.

Morning in the Black Hills, South Dakota

We spend more time in places and communities that energize us. We explore nooks and crannies of North America, at our own pace, and find places and experiences that bring us excessive happiness and joy. We meet new people and make new friends we would otherwise never encounter. We lead a less structured life, and one that is more open to fleeting opportunities presented.

Our Airstream allowed us to discover places like the South Dakota Black Hills, Traverse City and Sault Ste Marie Michigan, wineries in northern New Mexico, Fredericksburg Texas and some of the lesser-known Florida Keys.

The Airstream gives us the ability to stay in, and learn about, a community or place so we can become more than a tourist and start to become part of the community. We can even help other visitors enjoy and learn more about the location. We have stayed long enough in the southern part of Grand Teton park to understand where and when to find moose. It’s fun to show a visitor who has never been to Grand Teton and may only have a few hours in the park, a moose down by the Gros Ventre River. Often it’s the first moose that family has even seen in the wild.

By working with and volunteering for credible organizations already established in the community we can teach, and perhaps even occasionally inspire on topics as diverse as:

  • Weather, and RV and weather safety
  • The environment and its ecosystem within a changing climate
  • The local arts, history and culture

For us, our Airstream enables us to take control of our lives and our personal journeys, and to spend time living in places we would otherwise just visit. It allows us to have experiences and gain local knowledge that comes only from deep immersion.

Bayou Teche Brewery, near Lafayette Louisiana

We have learned over the years that documenting our travels, in words, pictures, and the occasional video, is important to us. We started with just regular letters, then emails and snapshots to family and friends. Over time, we started to post our travels on social media and discovered, much to our surprise, others were interested! This past winter we have integrated our writings and photos with some of the lessons we have learned from Airstreaming, including what ‘stuff’ to take with us. For those interested in facts and figures, we have a ‘travel trivia‘ section that shows where we have stayed, how many miles we have travels and what it all cost.

This blog is our hobby, not our business. We don’t seek to monetize it or go down the ‘Patreon’ route. Maybe someday we’ll add affiliate links that pay for a beer or two. I have the greatest respect for all the YouTubers and Bloggers who make this their day-job. I have gained new-found admiration for the multiple skill-sets it takes to integrate the various components into a (hopefully!) seamless whole, not to mention the time and tenacity involved. For us though, ‘underwayshiftcolors’ is fun to create and fun to share with anyone who might be interested.

We hope you will join us on our adventures!

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