“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road.
When Tiffany Blaze and her husband Jacob felt like life was getting a bit too routine, they didn’t wait around for change to happen. In 2017 they downsized their home, bought a truck and 30-foot Airstream and hit the road with their kids.
“We realized that life with a ‘dream home’ was a little high maintenance,” says Tiffany. “So we gave that all the middle finger and took off basically. We wanted to live more intentionally and feel like we have more time as a family. So we moved full time into the Airstream and travelled for almost eight straight months.”
With two young children to care for, the couple did eventually buy a house again in their home city of Nashville, Tennessee, one less than half the size of their original home. They continue to travel as a family for about half of the year having since clocked up thousands of miles across 47 states.
With a six year old daughter and four year-old son, the parents dedicate a minimum two hours per day around their remote work to curriculum homeschooling, with Fridays as a mandatory “explore” day.
“We like to get out and give the kids a hands-on learning experience,” says Tiffany. “When I learned about the Liberty Bell in school, I was just looking at it in a book. When we teach our kids about the Liberty Bell, we take them to physically see it (in Pennsylvania).”
Experiencing America’s diverse countryside
While destinations are always planned during the Blazes’ road trips, exploring the landscapes linking the towns and cities is what stands out.
“You really become more appreciative of everything in between; mountains, lakes, endless plains. Some of the most beautiful things we see are on our driving days, in many cases more beautiful than the places and things we’re travelling to see.”
While driving, the kids have a strict no-screen policy (though children’s audio books are fine), making sure they can appreciate all the visual experiences along the way, including how people live in different parts of the country.
“I don’t want them to miss what’s out the window,” she adds.
Maximizing space in a minimalist environment
The Airstream the Blaze family travels in is a mere 215 square feet, towed by a Toyota Tundra. With limited floor space and storage, possessions need to be chosen carefully and some conveniences must be left behind.
“The whole purpose of this was to live more with less,” says Tiffany. The Airstream forces us to pack lighter for our long trips. Less stuff means less work and more time together. It also encourages us to get outside more. It’s perfect for us.”
Travelling through different counties and communities throughout the United States means that water quality — and in some cases, drinkability — isn’t always consistent. But with an Acuva ArrowMax UV-LED Water Purifier installed into the Airstream’s plumbing, clean water is one thing they never have to worry about.
“We’ve tried a bunch of different filtration systems, from a countertop Berkey system to having filtration jugs and bottled water in the fridge,” says Tiffany. “The (Acuva ArrowMax UV-LED Water Purifier) has definitely been the most convenient, our kids love it. It’s been a huge game changer for us. You save a ton of money, too. Sometimes when you’re desperate for water you go into the RV Campground front office where they charge as much $5 per gallon of bottled water.”
Lessons learned from the road
Of course life in a tiny home isn’t always easy. Plans to travel on certain days can be quickly thwarted by strong winds, rain or snowfall. A moving home and a heavily-driven vehicle will always have something to tinker with in order to keep everything running in optimal condition. But the biggest thing to maintain is the harmony of the home where every member of the family only has so much space to call their own.
“One of the things people told us when we hit the road for the first time is ‘you guys are going to be divorced by the time you’re done with it.’ But every time we’ve left we’ve never felt more connected. You’re forced to communicate in ways you never even imagined, whether it’s opening the bathroom door or walking through the RV with something hot or sharp. It’s the little things, but they add up to make you feel so much more connected as a family.”
And for those pondering a life of their own on the road, Tiffany has some clear advice – just go for it!
“So many people want to do it but they don’t take the next step,” she says. “Just take that next step, even if it’s a small one. Once we bought our truck we were like ‘that’s it, we have to do this!’ Two months later we bought the Airstream. As long as you have a vision for that next step and are willing to prioritize it, you’ll get there.”