Roll with Sarah & Jon in an Airstream Flying Cloud

Square Feet: 200

It’s not easy to abandon the mainstream way of life and go out on your own, but if you want it bad enough, there is always a way.

Where are you currently living?

That depends. Currently we live outside Denver. My husband, Jon, and I shuffle around RV parks in the area, but take our home on the road with us as much as possible.

Name the make, model and year of your home.

We own a 25’ 2013 Airstream Flying Cloud.

What were you doing before you went mobile and why did you make the change?

Before we took the big leap, Jon and I had a growing and inexpressible unrest in our hearts. We weren’t exactly sure why, but no matter how much we “made the right choices,” (i.e. having well-paying jobs, a house in the suburbs, etc.), there was never enough time for the things we enjoyed the most. We were both exhausted from the 9-5 grind, the stress of being cooped up in an office all day and Jon’s daily hour plus commute into the city. Living in the Houston area was never a dream of ours, but circumstances had brought and kept us there for more than two years. I began to realize our own decisions were keeping us there, and if we wanted our lives to look differently, we needed to make some changes.

We longed for adventure and the open road—for mountains and canyons—but more than anything, we just wanted to see the stars at night.

How long have you been living there and do you live there full time/part time?

We have been living in the Airstream full time since December 2013, so about seven months.

What was the process like to move into your mobile home?

We actually moved rather quickly. Within a month Jon and I both quit our jobs in Texas, weaseled out of the lease on our three-bedroom rental house, moved into the Airstream and traveled to Colorado. It was a whirlwind and definitely the craziest thing we have ever done! It was even more shocking to our friends and family, because most did not even know until our departure.

To make the transition easier, we took the Airstream to Colorado for two weeks as a "trial run," packed only with the essentials while Jon started his new job. We waited to empty our former house and get rid of all our crap until we had returned from that trip with a clear idea of what we could fit in the Airstream. Because we moved so quickly, most of our furniture and belongings went to friends and family, and nearly all of my wardrobe was donated to Goodwill.

How do you balance work and living in a small space?

It’s not as hard as you would think. I’m fortunate to be back in school (studying Graphic Design) and take most of my courses online. Jon still works in an office most days, so our work doesn’t really conflict. In the evenings, if either of us needs privacy to study or work, we either move into the bedroom and close the privacy screen or go to a coffee shop and take advantage of the free WiFi.

Because I tend to work with my hands a lot, some sort of surface is essential. Luckily our Airstream has a nifty dinette table which folds down into a portion of our sectional (also acting as our guest bed), and it’s easy to convert the set up from one to another.

Since we had already lived together for several years before moving into the Airstream, we only had to adjust to the square footage. The limited space does forces us to communicate more, which has been really great for our relationship and we adapted quickly.

Our pups adjusted better than expected as well, and most of the time you will find them curled up in their bed out of the way. We walk them at least twice a day now and I let them outside on a tie line when the weather is nice.

What are your hobbies on and off the road?

Both of us love to hike, rock climb, do yoga, ride our bikes, but most of all, play with our dogs, Puma and Krieger. Jon is a spectacular chef, and loves to create new and unique dishes. I have a passion for crafts and recently have taken up bookbinding.

What are your top three go-to items in your tiny home?

I don’t think I could pick three, but I guess since there are two of us, five is a compromise, right?

Camera: Whether we use our smartphones, the Nikon DSLR or a Polaroid, we both love to take photos!

Coffee Maker: I love coffee, and a lot of it! Its size is significant (because it makes an entire pot of coffee!), but it was something we made room for. Our French press serves as a back up when we don’t have an electrical connection.

Iron Skillet: This is easily the most used item in the Airstream! We love to cook and this pan is perfect for preparing most of our meals (which largely consists of tacos).

Grill: We recently made the switch from charcoal to gas and love the convenience! Now that the winter has passed, we grill at least two days a week.

Vacuum: This one is a definite essential, especially since we have two dogs that shed A LOT! We have a Shark handheld Dustbuster with multiple attachments.

What has been the most rewarding thing about living small?

We now have the freedom to embrace adventure unexpectedly. Because our home is mobile, we can pick up and move at the drop of a hat with little planning, and most importantly—no packing.

Living outside the mainstream and staying in RV parks has exposed us to a great variety of people and opened our minds to alternative lifestyles.

Life in 200 square feet has changed the way we prioritize everything. Space is a luxury and since we move every week or two, everything must be stored away securely.

We are constantly reminded that life is full of uncertainty and adaptation is essential. You can’t plan for everything. Mistakes are inevitable, but it is our reactions that shape our experiences.

What is the most challenging thing?

Right now the most challenging aspect is finding a place to park the Airstream at a reasonable price. In the winter, we stayed in one park for $770 per month, but during peak season (May-October), we couldn't find a park that offered a monthly rate and most cap your stay at 14 days. We shuffle between parks and pay roughly $875 per month.

What is your advice to homeowners who want to live small or hit the road?

Don’t be afraid to get rid of your crap! They are just things and if you really need something, you can always buy another one.

If you can, take a trial run in your tiny home before you leave your traditional housing behind. I would recommend at least two weeks. You won’t really know what you need and don’t need until you experience “a day in the life,” so to speak.

What's next for you guys?

Our need to stay in one area, combined with the high price of local RV parks, has pushed us into buying land much sooner than we had planned. The idea was that by living small and with less we would save more money, but it’s not easy to do that when you pay upwards of $800 a month for a parking spot. We are currently searching for a vacant lot in Colorado to build a small cabin. Since the state considers living in a unit like ours “camping,” we cannot occupy the property for longer than 30 days without a valid construction permit in place. So, it looks like our next adventure is building a house! Plans are in the works and we hope to build a structure that is no greater than 700 square feet to fulfill the necessary requirements. We may rent out the cabin so that we can continue to live in our lovely tiny home.

We are those few fortunate souls who realize a big house in the suburbs full of ‘stuff’ isn’t the end game and life is about more than the things you own. Life is about taking ownership of your dreams and having the freedom to follow them.

To keep up with Sarah & Jon and their adventures, follow them on Instagram @brokencompasslife or visit their Facebook page.