I've been mulling over this post for a few days, wanting to approach it in the right way, hoping my words would be ones that would strike a chord. While we are running a business here at The Modern Caravan, we also started this website to strengthen and unite this community. Even within our name, though we primarily renovate vintage Airstreams, we hope that the broad scope of the word 'caravan' invites all, despite their chosen trailer, tiny home, van, motorhome. The use of 'modern' applies to not just our chosen aesthetic, but the general direction, this forward movement of our community: choosing to live with less, traveling, intention, seeking beauty, adventure, time with our families, time with ourselves. We are stepping away from the age-old and the expected, which isn't always an easy feat.
We lean heavily into this community, as I believe many do, not just to share our story, but to learn about others' stories and grow real life relationships. Without one another, what do we have?
It has burdened our hearts to see some of the strain on this community we say we have. I've noticed division within the tiny dwellers. What does it matter what you're doing, as long as you're doing it? What does it matter what your vessel is, as long as it's reducing a footprint? Does it make you less cool because you don't have an Airstream, but you reside in a RV instead? Do Airstreamers have too much, because the person parked in a Westfalia next to them have less?
The beautiful thing about this way of life - making a conscious step away from the traditional, this so-called American dream - is that you've taken that step. It shouldn't matter what you choose to live in, or how you choose to build it out, or not build out and leave it as is, or whether or not it's Pinterest-worthy. I've seen public digs at folks who have all-white interiors and choose to put tile in their space or have a wood stove instead of a propane furnace. I've seen folks shitting on others for having a larger, completely renovated trailer, when they live in a teeny, beat-up van. Hell, we've been shit on for all of those things, and then I see it over and over again on other social media accounts. We certainly don't care what you live in, and we're fascinated by all of it.
Digging in like this does not create community and we're calling it out. We face enough for choosing to live differently, for leaving our brick-and-mortar homes, our traditional jobs, our neighborhoods, the ease, behind. Some of us who are younger and part of the Millennial generation get flack for not having "real jobs" or working hard, from uninformed assholes on social media who think we power our vehicles on wishes, hopes, dreams and maybe some fairy dust. Those of us with kids deal with folks in real life and on social media for homeschooling our children and not giving them so-called "proper socialization". We need our community, because it's a small one. It's one that the majority doesn't understand. It can be lonely without one another. It can feel isolating, and we need one another.
Instead of proudly claiming your van life is better because you're dirty and you don't have a shower, or because your Airstream life is squeaky clean and you took a hot shower that morning, see the person next to you as your comrade. Someone who is doing what you are doing, but they're just doing it in their own way. Isn't that what this is all about anyway? Choosing to live life for ourselves, because it's the only one we have?
We follow all kinds of folks who have and continue to work their asses off to make their dream life happen. I find inspiration in all places: I love tiny houses, and van life, and Airstreamers, and RVers, and sailboat dwellers. We follow folks who don't live small, because their lives and stories are just as valuable. We have friendships with so many amazing people who are just living the best way they know how.
So does it really matter what your vessel is? Does it really matter what you choose to paint your walls or if your tiny home isn't pinned on Pinterest over and over again? Shouldn't we all be allowed to live the way we want to, and not be judged for creating a home that is reflective of who we are and what we love?
**Images found via Pinterest, please comment with credits if you know them. Last image by Brett Colvin @bcburnings.