The classic American dream of owning a home complete with a big yard and a picket fence is evolving with modern times. Instead of aiming for a large house stuck in the suburbs, some families are going for minimalism and mobility in tiny homes, vans and more.
And for one family of six, a 220-square-foot vintage Airstream trailer with a constantly changing backyard is a dream home. That’s because Jonathan and Ashley Longnecker and their four kids live and travel full time in the tiny space.
But they didn’t start with the Airstream.
Tiny, Shiny Travel Transition
The Longneckers told Popsugar that they traded in their stationary home for one on wheels back in 2015. The whole family weighed the options and embraced the opportunity to go minimalist. They started with a Grand Design Reflection RV but soon discovered it was too big and luxurious and swapped it for a 1972 Airstream Sovereign Land Yacht trailer.
It was in vintage condition, so they completely transformed it into a modern multi-tasking space that fit their needs. The kids — Adali, 12; Jett, 11; Jax, 8; and Ada, 6 — got fold-down double bunk beds (as you can see in this Instagram post), and the parents got a workspace/bedroom, solar panels and additional homey elements:
There is a time for everything. We’ve been with family and friends nonstop for nearly 2 months. . We’ve been missing our family’s routine. Our hikes, new scenery, the thrill of driving into a new town and exploring the back roads. . It’s been so nice to see everyone but we’re ready. We are so ready. We can’t wait to point our truck west and explore new states. . Soon enough we’ll be back on the road with dirty feet, dusty floors and smiles that we can’t wipe off. . This is the good life. This is our good life. . . . . #momentwide #shotoniphonex #mymoment #momentlenses #iphonephotography #rvinspirationphoto #tlpicks #ahomemadehome #housetohome #mypinterest #hgtv #rvrenovation #myhousebeautiful #showmeyourboho #camperlifestyle #makehomeyours #darlinghome #worldmarket #airstreamdreams #rvgoals #airstreamgoals #vanlifediaries
The result is what they affectionately call their Tiny Shiny Home (which is also the name of their website).
This year, they started in Arizona and are making their way to Minnesota via a roundabout route through the South and into the heart of the Midwest. Jonathan operates a web design company, so he can keep up with work from anywhere on the road. Ashley homeschools the kids, cooks and plans their adventures.
They make it look pretty terrific:
“We are currently on a quest to explore the country, simplify our lives and give our kids unforgettable experiences instead of disposable things,” they shared on their website.
Their goal is to inspire others, “to take a chance, question the norm, and do something different.” They write about their adventures on their blog and document it with videos on YouTube:
The clear highlight of their whole venture is quality time as a family. It shows in their blog recaps of travels. They’ve realized the importance of exploring together as a family, and there’s no need to wait until retirement to get moving.
Would you consider doing this with your family?