Airstream Life: The Airstream Chronicles

Copyright Rich Charpentier 2016

Copyright Rich Charpentier 2016

Hey all! For our newest interview, Rich Charpentier of The Airstream Chronicles blog graciously agreed to answer some questions about living a simple life in his Airstream.

You can follow Rich at richcharpentier.com and see his excellent photography portfolio as well as his web design business he runs from his Airstream at rlcdesign.net.

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

In 2005 I became extremely ill. An entire year lost to doctors, tests, ambulance rides. The definition of “not fun.” In February of 2006 we finally had the leads we needed. I was getting a diagnosis. 2 days prior to my diagnosis my spouse announced she was filing for divorce. 2 days later I was told I had a very rare autoimmune disorder. Medications, a total lifestyle change, combined with losing the person I cared about most (she didn’t want to deal with the illness or financial implications). So, what do you do when your perfect life explodes in your face? Turn the Airstream into a lifeboat and hit the road. Can’t sit in a corner and cry over it right?  

That’s what I did. Hit the road in 2006. I’m still sick, and it’s ever challenging to be sure. But no way you can curl up in a ball and quit.

2. What kind of work do you do?

My previous career I was a network engineer in wireless telecom. Went all the way to national director level. Now though I build effective online solutions for RV parks, hostels, B&Bs, and artists. I also do custom database work for national organizations as well. So it’s all tech work, and I can work from anywhere.

3. Transitioning to an Airstream, what was the biggest hurdle to overcome?

From a 2600 sq foot house to a 200 square foot Airstream. Major adjustment. There’s not a lot of space. It was a tough adjustment at first. Since I ripped out the dinette the other year and made a workstation life is really good from the work side.

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

I’ve met amazing people across the country that I never would have. Famous artists, photographers, venture capitalists, and more. I never expected to make so many new friends across the nation.

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

No backlash. Most friends are envious. But there are those tough moments that people don’t understand.  Working for yourself isn’t a cakewalk. I’d gladly do my old job at AT&T any day. Guaranteed vacation time, insurance, etc.

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

It’s a small space. There are times when you want some more room. Rainy days are tough. If you can’t get outside of the Airstream it feels really small fast!

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

I often would like more space, especially on the rainy days.

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

I would love to have a small house again. I’ve been full time for a decade now. I’d still like to travel about 6 months out of the year. The other 6 months it would be nice to spread out.

9. Who would you recommend this lifestyle for?

I think most anyone can do this. The thing is, do they have the mindset for it? If possessions are your #1 passion, this won’t work. You have to be flexible and have a little bit of adventurousness in you.  

Thanks again, Rich and safe travels!

2 Responses to “Airstream Life: The Airstream Chronicles

  • How about changing the font color to black so it’s easier to read. This grey against a white background sucks.

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