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Audrey Carroll – Airstream Trailer Travels

Each week has seven days, and someday isn’t one of them.  Still, so many of us are waiting for just the right time to execute our plans.   If we wait for that perfect time, it may never come….

I am not exactly a camping kind of gal – and, knowing how snap judgements can get you into trouble, I sheepishly admit I didn’t picture Audrey Carroll sleeping in the great outdoors either.  With her pulled-together outfit, pretty haircut, and poised manner,  I took her for a woman who enjoys a hotel with room service and a concierge at the ready.

Showing me photos of her recent trips to Big Sur and Half Moon Bay – the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, wine and cheese arranged on a quilted table outside, blackberry cobbler baking in the tiny Airstream trailer kitchen – Audrey doesn’t exactly seem to be roughing it.

camping in an airstream

Reared in southern California, Audrey’s family didn’t have a lot of leftover funds to spend on fancy vacations.  Her husband’s upbringing in central California was similar.  Camping as kids, they both grew up loving the outdoors and share a sense of adventure.  Before they were married, camping in a state or national park was an easy, inexpensive getaway – and one where you truly test drive a relationship, I imagine. 

Raising their three children in the San Francisco Bay Area, their camping tradition continued.   Pitching tents with other families a couple of times a year, the adults cooked and talked and the kids ran around and played.  “It was really a great community,” Audrey reflects.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to start.” 

Audrey and her husband, Paul, frequently talked about buying an Airstream trailer.  Audrey loved the old, nostalgic feel of those travel trailers, and both were ready for some creature comforts – a shower, a toilet, a proper bed, and a place to stay dry and warm.

airstream travels

They dreamed about packing up and heading off to the beautiful parks up and down the California coast.  But all this would happen LATER – after their children left home and Paul retired and the time was right.

Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 51, Audrey’s mom passed away a few years later.  “She’d always wanted to see Yosemite, and mom kept saying she’d go when she got better,” Audrey shares quietly.  Sadly, her health did not improve, and the dream trip never happened.

As she approached her own 50th birthday, memories of things her mom wanted to do, but missed, came flooding back to Audrey.  What am I waiting for?” she asked herself.  “I decided right then and there to live my life and not wait to do the things I love,” Audrey says.

airstream travels

So now, hitching the 25-foot Airstream trailer they bought three years ago to their Suburban, off Audrey and Paul go.  Setting up house along the Santa Barbara coastline and among the Big Basin redwood forests, Audrey and Paul spend “romantic days” hiking and biking and taking long walks along the beach. “Part of the fun” for Audrey is trying out new camping recipes in the homey kitchen Paul remodeled.

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“We are certainly in close quarters, and it’s truly good for our marriage,” Audrey points out. “We spend most evenings reading and listening to music, with no internet and, usually, no cable connection,” Audrey continues.   She spends lots of time, curled up in vintage quilts scattered about, writing in journals.  “In this intimate space, it is nice to clear our heads and focus on each other,” Audrey tells me.

airstream beach travels

Outfitted with everything they need, the trailer has a tiny bathroom (think your last Southwest flight) with a separate shower.  Except for the occasional skunk rooting through the recycling bin, Audrey swears she sleeps better in the 184-square-foot traveling home’s queen bed than she does at home. 

Wondering if reservations at campgrounds near Costanoa and Big Sur and the Santa Cruz mountains are tough to come by, Audrey responds with an emphatic, “Yes!”  If she wants to actually hear the waves crashing or see the sun go down over the ocean, “I mark my calendar to reserve exactly six months in advance.”

california camping in an airstream trailer

Once Paul retires, they look forward to hitting the road for longer periods of time.  Oregon, Washington, Orcas Island, Montana, Minnesota, the Tetons, Grand Canyon  they have quite a long list.  Audrey brings up a good point.  Many couples forget how much fun they can have alone – just the two of them.  And I applaud Audrey and Paul for making – and executing – their plan. 

You can follow Audrey’s travels on her Instagram account

Photos courtesy of Audrey Carroll

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“Audrey Carroll – Airstream Trailer Travels”

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