Airstream Life: The Gypsy Tent

This week’s profile is of Nashville’s own relocated Texan and Airstreamer, Randi Leigh Decker.

Randi is a songwriter and blogger living full-time out of her Airstream, The Gypsy Tent, a 1981 Excella II. My girlfriend Jacque and I caught up with Randi the other week and she was ever-so-gracious enough to give us a tour of her digs and let us play with her big yellow lab, Cooper.

She’s informative and pretty dang entertaining on her blog,, where she’s written a helpful series on living in an Airstream called Trailer Life. I recommend any future full-timers out there check out “5 Things To Consider Before Permanently Glamping” and “How To Find & Pick A Trailer” in particular.

On finding information for living in an Airstream…

“I honestly don’t have many resources, There aren’t many books on how to permanently live in a travel trailer. It was a lot of trial and error. At first I called the local RV Repair man many, many times, until I just learned what to do when something happens, (replacing fuses, insulating waterlines, etc). Before living in my Airstream, I had never stayed more than one night in a travel trailer, much less hauled it across the country.”

On bathroom maintenance…

“One thing I didn’t know I actually had to do was empty the shitter. This is an actual thing (but really called a black water tank). If you can’t handle the smell of simmering shit in the summer months, you might pass on this deal. It’s not too bad, and I’m sure newer campers are much more high tech than mine, but it does get stinky when you flush it.”

On using the water during the winter months…

“They do make a heated water hose. I didn’t know this until I moved to Nashville, and I have been thankful ever since. Having a heated water hose has been very helpful during this winter. I have had my water freeze countless times, and none of them have been from a freeze in the hose. My water has froze at the water inlet (where the hose meets the trailer) many many times, so if at all possible, it is very important to keep this insulated. My water has also frozen inside the trailer, where the water line runs under my closet. Lets just say my blowdryer was very handy this year, and I was very fortunate to not have any pipes burst. Also, take note, I left my water on with a pretty good stream, so this isn’t always a sure way out of a cold night.”

On the first place in Nashville she found to park the Airstream…

“I parked it at the Jellystone near Opryland. The parks on this road are incredibly expensive. I paid around $550 + electric per month, and my electric bill in the summer is upwards of $100. It was a nice park, they mowed the grass, had a pool, free wifi and activities if you have kids, and a laundry mat on site. But honestly it was just wayyyyy too expensive for my price range, and at a really inconvenient location in town. 

On her new home for the Gypsy Tent…

“When I came back in January I just googled “trailer parks”. Where I live now is literally a trailer park. It is difficult to find a primary RV park without it being really expensive. I now pay $315 + anything over $50 of electric / month. They come and mow my grass, but I have to get my own wifi, etc. I like it much much better. Living in the trailer park isn’t my dream, but it’s decent.” 

1981 Airstream Excella II
© James L. Carey 2014
1981 Airstream Excella II
© James L. Carey 2014
1981 Airstream Excella II
© James L. Carey 2014
1981 Airstream Excella II
© James L. Carey 2014
© Randi Leigh Decker 2014

Thanks to Randi for letting us invade the Gypsy Tent for an afternoon!

For more about Randi and living life in The Gypsy Tent, be sure to check out her blog at To learn more about using and living in your own Airstream I recommend The Newbie’s Guide to Airstreaming.

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