What have we learned from our quarantine time?
I would imagine that we have all learned a lot with our individual and collective experiences through the pandemic controlled world of the past few months. One of my first thoughts, when the shelter in place recommendation was first established, was… “Gee, I wish I were an artist or a writer working on my great American novel.” I fantasized about becoming introspective, wise and artistic beyond belief now that I had the time.
Since I do not consider myself artistic in the least, I set about becoming the neighborhood expert on vintage Airstreams. Why was this even on my radar? For years, my coaching business model has relied on the tried and true coaching tool of a vision board to keep dreams and desires in the position of top of mind awareness. As I was organizing my coaching office, I lined up three of the most recent vision boards that spanned the last ten years. Interestingly, these iconic silver bullets-on-wheels, having made their way into our American culture, had shown up on all three of my personal vision boards.
Let me be transparent here, I am not a gal who likes to “rough it.” My idea of camping takes place at a Ralph Lauren inspired mountain lodge in Colorado with fresh buffalo plaid flannel sheets and a European down comforter. Making s’mores in the big fireplace, inside the lodge great room with a view of the pristine snow-covered mountains, would round out my weekend of communing with nature. So, it is unlikely I was envisioning joining the Wally Byam Airstream travel club anytime soon as I was posting pictures of silver land yachts adorned with café string lights. What I did love was the idea of the Airstream lifestyle, Americana, a simpler life, and me in a hippy girl skirt with a flower in my hair. What I did not count on is this most recognizable unique piece of Americana changing me into a glamping queen in these challenging times. Did I mention that my twenty-four foot, 1969 beauty has not left my driveway since I purchased it almost three months ago? I did manage to easily tow it, behind my Lincoln Navigator SUV, from northern New Mexico. Amazing what you can learn on Youtube.com about trailer hitches, sway bars, and backing up. Well, maybe not backing up so much.
Day one of my new driveway project found me sitting in my very efficiently designed home on wheels wondering what to do next. Fortunately, my casita, as I now call it, is in great physical shape thanks to the TLC of the previous owners. My only real challenge was to put my signature on this new space… or so I thought.
My vision boards have always included a home in Santa Fe as well as meaningful work I could do anywhere in the world. Enter now, my mobile coaching casita. All I had to do is redecorate and find a great RV park in Santa Fe. With some creativity and imagination, I could probably check two items off my bucket list. Voila!
It is interesting how projects take on an unintentional life of their own. There are always unexpected lessons along every project’s journey. We just do not know some things until we do know. My first expensive (although it could have been worse) lesson was having my electrician run an outside 220-volt hook-up at home. I bought the heavy-duty extension cord with giant yellow plugs from our local RV shop. I was just about to plug my baby up and it occurred to me to take a gander at the nice hardbound Airstream manual that thankfully was still inside my unit. Well, as it turns out, unlike most RVs, Airstreams old and new run on 110-volt not 220-volt. Lesson learned? Do your homework! Yes, the manual/directions come with it for a reason. Side note – it is amazing the vast world of vintage Airstream blogs, parts-and-accessories websites, and books that are available. My Telluride friend, Denny Durbin, and his son Cole have a company, Silver Travelers RVs and Trailer Repair at Aviontrailer.com in Phoenix, Arizona. They offer custom restoration if you do not want to tackle the project yourself. There really is an art to Airstream restoration. Just like vintage car collectors, some are 100 percent committed to keeping them cherry i.e. original in every way. One company in Santa Fe, VintageTrailerSupply.com stocks parts and accessories for vintage travel enthusiasts. I ordered overhead cabinet closure hardware and even received a personalized thank you card. Now that’s vintage!
It has been amazing how many vintage décor items I own that fit perfectly into the theme I was trying to achieve. My décor fits the description of Santa Fe retro-bohemian charm. Now I just need to dig out my hippy girl skirt. This makes me take pause; does this mean I am vintage? Another lesson: There is nothing wrong with getting older. In fact, if we stay actively engaged and take care of ourselves, we may become timeless just like an Airstream.
Article written by Debbie Nix and originally published in Focus on Artesia 2020 Summer edition.