Hittin' the road
Our story, or, why we gave it all up to hit the road.
Giving up your permanent address and most of your stuff and hitting the road for an undefined amount of time seems to be something more and more people are doing, but to most it can still seem a little radical, so as a start, we thought we’d let you know a little more about how we got here.
We both grew up in small towns on opposite sides of the country. Shoam moved around as a kid - born in Denver, with stints in San Francisco, Sonoma, Los Angeles, San Diego and Portland. Celena orbited Boston, growing up in Concord, MA and staying nearby for college until moving to Portland in 2006.
We met in Portland on Celena’s second night in town, and the short version is we adopted the world’s bossiest (and alternately, sweetest) weiner dog, set up a freelance design business, got hitched, bought and sold our first house and enjoyed lots of road trips all over the Northwest.
After we got married in 2015, we took a month off and spent it in some of our favorite small towns in Oregon on the Coast and the Columbia Gorge. Celena had been at her job nearly 10 years, and it felt like a good time for a self-imposed sabbatical. With all that time, we started thinking about what came next. Portland was changing quickly, and it was refreshing to be away from the churn of development, traffic and other changes we weren’t sure we loved. We’d also both reached big goals in our careers and realized that while we love what we do, we wanted to work to live, not live to work, and the scales had tipped a little too far in the latter direction.
We knew it was time for a change of pace — and that sometimes the only way to change your pace is to change your scenery. We started looking at real estate in places in Oregon we loved. If you drew a circle encompassing all the towns within an hour of Portland, we visited a house in nearly all them. Thankfully we love exploring! After seeing over 100 houses, making offers on several, being accepted on two and having them both fall through for bizarre reasons, we realized it was time to take a different approach.
As seen on TV!
Late one weekend night when we taking a break from house hunting, we started watching the pilot for a show called “Roadsteaders,” that featured a Bay Area couple who sold their condo, stored their stuff, renovated an Airstream and planned to hit the road for a year. When the show ended we looked at each other cautiously and said at the same time, “I would do that!… Wait, you would? Really?”
Of course neither of us had ever actually set foot in a trailer before, let alone hauled one. So from there we started researching trailers — staying in a vintage trailer hotel in nearby Oregon wine country, renting a small, teardrop-shaped rig for a week over spring break and hauling it to Boise and Bend to see if we could really handle a life of hitches, tiny spaces and sewer hoses.
After our spring break test drive, we decided we were all in. Hauling a trailer was challenging in some ways. We were learning a whole new set of skills, like backing up a trailer, even a small one, is like walking and chewing gum while rubbing your head and patting your belly, and after a long day’s drive it can be stressful. Also smoke detectors in trailers should really just be called bacon detectors. But the trip also had its rewards and slowed down our pace of life. We loved cooking our meals, keeping the place tidy, and the simplicity of a small space.