We are so excited to introduce this cool feature in our shiny new newsletter: The Stream. Each week, we will interview some of our favorite Streamers from the Airstream Community. Not only will you meet some cool people, but also learn about tips, tricks, places to go and more! To get things started, we are honored to feature one amazing couple that truly know how to Live Riveted, Kevin Morris & Laura Domela. Their Riveted Blog features stories and photographs of their adventures, as well as great recommendations - Adventures in Travel, Technology and Style.
About Kevin & Laura
Laura was born in Anchorage, Alaska. At age five she experienced her first serious road trip through the Alcan (Alaska-Canada) Highway all the way to Southern California in an International pickup truck with a drop-in camper. She grew up in Southern California and moved to Portland in 1995 to attend art school. Although she earned her degree in fine art (painting), she has been mostly focused on photography since around 2005.
Kevin was born in Texas and lived there for about 30 years before moving to Portland in the late 1980s. He has a degree in Electronic Engineering and spent the first 20 years of his career working for big technology companies. In 2003, they started an online publication for electronic engineers called Electronic Engineering Journal (EE Journal). Kevin writes articles for EE Journal and manages the business, and Laura is on the design and layout side of things. They have 10 employees and everyone works from wherever they want to. They’ve never had an office.
They've always been big fans of going places. Kevin grew up flying in small airplanes with his parents, camping and road tripping in their camper/truck and sailing Hobie Cats with his brother. Laura grew up camping with her family in their camper/truck and sailing off the coast of Southern California with her mom and grandpa.
They bought their first Airstream in 2005 (a 22’ CCD International with the little desk in back) and then traded it in (in 2010) for a 27'FB International and started their Riveted lifestyle blog: www.riveted-blog.com.
Today they explore by Airstream and by boat (a 2013 Nordic Tug), expanding their Riveted journeys and retaining the same love of travel and discovery. They are on the road or on the water more than half the year.
Tell us about your Airstream:
2010 27’ FB International, with custom pale silver metallic leather upholstery. We’ve upgraded it with 6 AGM golf cart batteries, 400 watts of solar power, a 2000 watt inverter, a Moovbox mobile internet system, Xbox, tire pressure monitors, a ProPride hitch, and a memory foam mattress.
How long have you been an Airstream owner and how did it come to be?
Kevin and I bought our first Airstream in 2005 (a 2005 19’ CCD International). We run our own business, and spent a couple of years working while camping, hiking and backpacking in the Pacific Northwest rain, showers and drizzle. We took several long cross-country road trips where we worked on the road from a tent using a candle lantern, with internet via a tethered Palm Treo smart phone. One time when we were in San Francisco for a conference and while visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, we saw one of those first little 16' Bambi CCDs with the interior designed by Christopher Deam and said "Hey! How about working in one of THOSE?"
Over the next five years, we spent enough time in that 22’ Airstream to know that we loved it, but could really use a few more feet. In 2010 we traded it in for a 27'FB International. It’s the perfect size and layout for us.
How long have you been on the road? Pros/Cons of the lifestyle/greatest tips for those aspiring to become full-timers.
We’re not technically full-timers, but we’ve spent over 700 nights in our Airstream since 2010. Tip for those aspiring to become full-timers: Stop aspiring and go! Don’t overthink it. You’ll learn what you need as you go, and you’ll learn better than if you try to plan for every contingency before you start.
The pros of this lifestyle for us, are:
- Knowing how little “stuff” it takes to be happy and fulfilled.
- We both still work full time and run a complex business while we’re on the road. You can be as productive or more productive working from the road than you can stuck in some office or cubicle somewhere.
- You learn to be more respectful and efficient with resources (water, power, etc.).
- It makes you more confident and self-reliant having to do more things for yourself, compared to living in a stationary home where more services and things are brought TO you.
- Experiencing so many climates and cultures and ways of living makes you a more open and worldly person.
- Living for long periods of time in such a small space with your partner forces you to advance the quality of your communication, and therefore, your relationship. You can’t live and work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for months with somebody in 188 square feet without a fairly well-evolved relationship!
What’s the hardest thing about living on the road?
Probably the hardest thing is dealing with things that require a static address. Having things shipped to you, checking your regular mail...those are super annoying to deal with while living on the road (or water).
What's the best trip you've been on?
In August 2012 we left Portland and headed for Colorado on what we’d planned to be a three week trip. We ended up in Key West, Florida and didn’t come back home until mid-December, four months later. We left with flip-flops and t-shirts (because it was 90 degrees everywhere we were going to be in August) and eventually (in Kentucky in November) had to buy sweaters, jackets and boots. We were delayed coming home over the passes in Montana in December by blizzard conditions. It was fabulous.
Where's your favorite place(s) to camp?
Dry camping and boondocking sites in scenic places (ocean, mountain, desert) where you’re closer to nature and further from crowds and man-made facilities. If we wanted a ping pong table and a convenient washing machine, we’d be at home.
What’s the most important tip you can provide to someone that wants to own an Airstream? (Dreamer)
Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Keep a good attitude. Don’t let fear hold you back from learning and experiencing new things.
What are the top three places you want to go that you haven’t been?
The Northeast, Nova Scotia, Alaska (by Airstream...we have already been by plane and by boat).
What are your must haves for your Airstream?
Bigger-than-stock batteries, a generator or solar panels, some kind of good-quality internet connectivity (since we run a business from the road), a capable tow vehicle with a good hitch, a well-equipped kitchen and comfortable interior accessories.
What is your favorite motto or quote?
What is your greatest regret?
No regrets. Not one.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Having the time and resources to explore and experience the vast treasures the world has to offer, and having a challenging and rewarding vocation that is part of that spirit of adventure, rather than one that takes from it.
What are your most treasured possessions?
Our boat, our Airstream and our airplane (all the things that allow us to go places, of course!).
What are your favorite qualities in a person?
Kindness. Open mindedness. Intelligence. Sense of humor.
What are your favorite Airstream Brands products?
The Navy Wander t-shirt is pretty great!
The logo stainless steel pint glasses are cute.