Why a 1987 Toyota Dolphin?

Why in the world are 6 people traveling in something so old and tiny?

First of all, to be fair, although we travel full time, we do not live in the RV fulltime. After seriously mulling the idea of fulltime RV living around for close to three years it never quite came together until we got past the idea that we had to have a BIG RV. After all, we are a big family. Four out of the six of us are adult sized or, at least, close to it and it only seemed logical that we needed as much room as we could muster to live this way 24/7.

How it began…

When we first purchased our little Sadie (1987 Toyota Dolphin) we intentionally bought small. The idea was that she could get around easier, get better gas mileage, and she was big enough to hold us and everything we needed for a week at a time. Our first trip in her confirmed that we were on the right track when we were able to park in regular car parking in DC. No finding the special RV parking lot and walking further to the National Mall for us. She’s slow but steady and can go places big rigs cannot. We fell in love with her vintage look. We are longtime trash to treasure kind of people. Flea market scourers, thrift store diggers…never have been big fans of new and shiny. So, naturally, we saw her as a diamond in the rough. Sadie was built upon the same truck that James drove when we went on our very first date He had long lamented the loss of that truck and now it was back and better than ever. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the 80’s beige and plaid interior and turn it into our cozy home away from home. No second guessing about remodeling a perfectly good but not to my personal taste interior. Our girl was showing her age and I was happy to help bring out her best. Mostly, though, we didn’t want to go into debt on a rig. So, we looked around until we could buy something we could afford. After all, at the time we bought her we didn’t believe that fulltiming was a possibility for us so we were content to have a way of getting around to places inexpensively as much as we could, knowing, at best, that meant a couple of times a year.

Changing our perpective…

So, when we began to honestly consider the idea of traveling fulltime we were sure that we would have to upgrade.  We even joked a lot with our kids about the very thought of living in her all day every day. It wasn’t on the radar that it could be done and it became our biggest (material) obstacle. As time went on, though, we just could not find the perfect rig for the perfect price. We still did not want to go into debt and every time we would get just to the point of having the finances to get something bigger…boom…something else would happen and the money would need to go elsewhere. We were just treading water. In the meantime, our kids were getting older, WE were getting older, and the fulltime travel dream seemed more and more impossible but, despite our constant efforts to dismiss it, the thirst for it only grew stronger. The circumstances of our life kept pushing us towards a big change. We could feel it in our bones but we just couldn’t find the path from A to B. Then, one day, we began to examine why we felt we needed a bigger RV. We had been so focused on the physical aspect of the idea but it was time to examine deeper. Truth be told, 150 square feet or 300 square feet doesn’t make a huge difference when you are talking about 6 people living in it. Tiny living is tiny living. Yes, we could take more of our stuff with us but wasn’t part of this whole thing to get rid of the stuff? Yes, it would be a little more comfortable inside but wasn’t the point that it was a place to sleep so the world and the outdoors became the more comfortable place to be? We stopped limiting our imaginations and as we did so an awakening to new possibilities emerged. We could really do this. It wouldn’t be easy and it was just plain crazy sounding but we could clearly hear the calling and it was time to step into it…big RV or small.

The pieces start to fit…

As we opened our minds up to wandering the country in our microRV, ideas began to surface. We began to vision the vacation rental and RV hybrid lifestyle. Most vacation rentals have cheaper rates for booking for a month, some of them substantially. We realized that we could get by staying for a month at a time in amazing places around the US and living in Sadie in between. By eliminating our house expenses every month we freed up the money to cover the occasional AirBnb rentals along with the expenses of traveling in our RV. The vision became clear and the course was set. We had a plan and it just might work.

The dream realized…

So here we are…wandering this beautiful country of ours in an old and very tiny RV, stopping here and there for respite in other people’s homes and marveling at how different life is now. It is a giant step in a journey of learning to let go, to stop looking around at how other people do things, to stop limiting ourselves by our circumstances. We are early in. It’s certainly not perfect but we know that we are on to something. Something very good.

Are we saying that everyone can do this? No. Are we special because we “get to”? No. The only message we want to convey is that sometimes it’s good to look at our lives and make sure we aren’t creating our own barriers. Living this lifestyle is a nightmare for some people. For some, it’s a dream come true. For others, it’s neither. We hope, though, that no matter what your life looks like now or what your dreams may be that you are inspired to open your hands to the possibilities that, maybe, just maybe, what you are looking for might already be within your reach.

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