Airstream Life: Epic Detour


Courtesy of Epic Detour’s Instagram

In our continuing (finally) series of interviews with those who have chosen to live and travel full-time in RVs and Airstreams (and tiny houses soon!), Just Live Simple reached out to Elizabeth and Doug Winters of Epic Detour.

They were kind enough to talk with me about their adventures and the big switch of going from a 2600 sqft house to a 200 sqft trailer

What would you credit as the biggest turning point that made you decide to do this?

We had been suburban homeowners for 15 years, DINKS, fat and happy, socking away retirement and living the standard life. But we were bored and static. We visited the same restaurants, rode the same trails, walked the same paths, shopped the same stores, had the same conversations, over and over again.

I lived by an alarm and a watch, did the daily 9–5. We were looking at buying a different home, moving to a bigger house (our current house was already way too big for us!), constantly looking for the next toy or item we could buy that would make us happy. We traveled a lot but came home dreading the return to the daily grind.

Then, one night in august of 2014 we were drinking our standard 2 IPAs (even our alcohol consumption was routine!) and had an ah-ha moment: Our dissatisfaction with life wasn’t because we didn’t have enough, it was because we had too much. Too much house, cars, toys, furniture, tools, too much stuff. We didn’t need or use half of the things we owned. We were seeking something different! We came up with the idea to sell it all, buy an airstream, and travel full time. It took a year to implement our plans.

What kind of work do you do/how do you afford making a living while traveling the country?

I am a family nurse practitioner. I can pick up temporary work assignments in different locations around the country, but I haven’t done this yet. Too busy traveling. 🙂

Doug owns a small business he can run from anywhere, so as long as we have cell service and internet connection he’s good to go.

Going from a large house to an Airstream, what was the biggest hurdle to overcome?

Transitioning to a small living space is easier than you think; you still have the same set-up (living area, kitchen, bedroom, shower, bathroom). The challenge is choosing which items are worthy of taking up space in your new tiny (TINY) house.

What do we really need?

When you live in a big house you think you need it all- 6 different pots of different sizes for cooking, drawers full of essential kitchen tools, cabinets full of specific small appliances, 20 ft of counter space, huge refrigerator, the fancy furniture, closets overflowing with clothing for every conceivable event and activity…a basement loaded with gear and tools and exercise equipment, a garage with 3 cars, 8 bicycles, commercial mower, kayaks, 2 motorcycles…

The truth is you need none of it, and once you grasp that you can let it all go. We literally touched every item we had acquired in 15 years and sold, donated, trashed, or kept. We kept little, and stored a few items with family. And we don’t miss a thing we didn’t keep. Liberating!

Courtesy of Epic Detour’s Instagram

Courtesy of Epic Detour’s Instagram

What’s the most unexpected thing that’s happened as a result of living this way?

The friends we have made on the road! There are so many full-time travelers out there, choosing to live a different life. We all have that common bond and the friendships come easily. We have had so much fun traveling with other roadies and learning about their lives. We’ve befriended locals as well and been welcomed into so many lives, treated like family! We spend more time now with our “neighbors” than we did in all years of traditional neighborhood living.

When/if you need some alone time, what do you do?

We thought that would be a bigger challenge than it’s been. It’s easy to get away- I run errands alone, we sometimes do different outdoor activities, Doug gets on his road bike for a few hours. We work around each other well. And there are no hard feelings when one needs time apart.

Have you gotten any backlash from friends or family for choosing this life?

We did at first!

The most pushback was due to me voluntarily leaving a high paying job. We had a picture perfect life: no kids, big house, fancy cars, world travel, money in the bank, growing retirement funds. Why would any sane person give this up??

But people can’t argue for long with the “live life to its fullest while you still can” reasoning. They all eventually came around. 🙂

Courtesy of Epic Detour’s Instagram

Courtesy of Epic Detour’s Instagram

What’s the biggest pain point for living this way?

Nothing is painful about this lifestyle. Whatever feels taxing has its purpose and reminds us we are choosing to live this way, not the other way around.

Do you feel like you have “enough”? Enough space, enough time for yourself?

We have everything we need, plenty of time, and FREEDOM!!

Do you have any plans for changing your living situation in the immediate future?

We know we won’t live on the road forever. So we do think about the distant future- mainly where we will end up and how we will live a version of this lifestyle. Probably a small home somewhere with land, near all the outdoor activities we love. And likely more than one location- warm in the winter, mountains in the summer.

Who would you recommend this lifestyle for?

We would recommend this lifestyle for anyone who loves to travel, wants to live differently, and is willing to put in the effort it takes to support this way of living (limited resources, reduced or no income, self-regulation, and being self-reliant).

Courtesy of Epic Detour’s Instagram

Courtesy of Epic Detour’s Instagram

Thanks so much to Elizabeth and Doug for taking the time to talk!

You can follow their adventures at as well as Instagram and Facebook.

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