On the road with Jenn, Shaun and Jenga from Living Driven
Living a 'regular' life, it's easy to get bogged down in the cycle of buying and paying off stuff. When Jenn and Shaun from Living Driven decided to take the plunge and hit the road full-time, they realized just how little is actually essential to living a full, happy life. We caught up with them to find out more about how downsizing and living freely has changed their lives.
Where are you now?
Santa Fe, New Mexico.
What does home mean to you?
Home to us is sanctuary, where we can sleep comfortably in the same bed anywhere we go and keep a space that is only ours. We were surprised to find that we didn’t get homesick away from our home city because our trailer provides consistency whatever the scenery. Since our home is always with us, we always feel at home.
What was the motivation for you to get out on the road?
We both felt called to live more fully than our previous roles would allow. We wanted to redefine success for ourselves as a way of living. We wanted to practice intentional ownership and live debt-free. We wanted to see every place with fresh eyes, no matter how familiar. We generally felt it was time to commit to life in our own way, so that’s what we did.
You sold your home to buy a truck and an Airstream Flying Cloud, which is beautiful. What do you love about your Airstream?
Thank you! If it’s beautiful, Jenn did it (Shaun talking here). The truck and trailer make anywhere feel like home. What we probably love most about the Airstream is that it can make any view scenic. Even a gravel parking lot looks kinda cool from the breakfast nook. When we set out to begin transitioning into this life, we looked at all sorts of RV, trailer, 5th wheel options, and we really couldn’t get over how incredible the Airstreams are. I mean, they’re just classic and any time we park it in some beautiful place, it reflects the beauty around it. We’re kind of infatuated with it, inside and out.
How did the process of getting rid of all of your possessions affect you?
The whole thing was in every way enlightening. Once we’d turned 90 per cent of our stuff back into credits, we felt something lift that neither of us had noticed before. Apparently debt actually weighs on your mind.
We always had this comforting trusty feeling so it was pretty easy to stay the course and just keep doing the next thing to get on the road. The only time we panicked was the first moment we realized that the remaining 10 per cent of our stuff was still more than our little ship would carry. We purged again. We organized like maniacs. We made some tough wardrobe calls. In the end, we love owning only what we need to survive happily. Freedom to roam totally beats down the desire to acquire.
Jenn, you cook and write recipes. How have you adapted to cooking in an Airstream kitchen?
Aside from simply adjusting to the smaller space, which turned out to be fairly easy to do, I have really pared down all of my tools, which makes for more manual processes. At first I thought I would miss the conveniences of all of my appliances and fancy gadgets, but I’m finding I actually enjoy the more tactical method of cooking. I use my hands more and have found that I feel more connected to the food with less instruments. Also, we have been doing a lot of cooking over the open fire and man, do I love it! The smoke and flame provides such a depth of flavor that isn’t available in regular kitchen cooking.
Shaun, you’re a musician. Do you record on the road, and, if so, how?
I record all the time, but usually just into my iPhone voice memos. I’ll turn about one out of 50 memos into a complete song and share it on Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/shauntinney). To do that, I’ll record guitar and vocals into Logic Pro X through a USB connected microphone. Otherwise it’s stuff only Jenn has to hear.
You’re both creative people. Has being on the road given you more inspiration?
Being on the road has given us the freedom to do more of the things that inspire us. Traveling and enjoying the scenery is definitely one of those things. It can be difficult to keep daily routines together on the move, which is rewarding in its own way. Sometimes we get so stuck on the view we forget to do anything we’d normally consider important. We’ve learned to enjoy things that used to suck, like driving for 10 hours straight then doing the dishes by hand. Being focused on what’s actually happening right now leaves plenty of room for creativity to flourish.
What is the very best thing that’s happened to you in your travels?
Traveling together (as a pack, with Jenga) has helped us to live more playfully and to enjoy whatever we’re doing. We play board games and chat over beers at sunset. We do our chores. We talk to and for our dog. Who needs more?
How about the very worst thing?
Heading west somewhere along the I-10 in Louisiana, our liquor cabinet got sick and puked all over the trailer. Lesson learned: tie everything down and then secure it with tape.
How long do you plan to stay on the road?
Right now we don’t really have a set timeframe for our travels as our current careers allow us to work from the road. So, the plan is really no plan, or no set plan. We do have future eventual plans that include a beautiful plot of land with a few trailer pads, some luxury cabins, and a farm to table restaurant. Horse stables. Zipline. You get the idea. But for now, we’re fully enjoying seeing everything we can see with no time limit.
What song would you say is the theme song for your trip?
I Need Never Get Old, by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.
If you’d like to add anything else about your travels, the full-time lifestyle, your favorite 80s dance movie – whatever floats your boat – please do!
It really is amazing how different life feels when you’re not stuck in a loop of buying stuff and paying it off later. When life is simple and you can choose how to spend each day, it’s hard not to notice that part of yourself is always searching for a set of conditions to be met. If you can notice that it’s always there, it will eventually get all of your attention. When your attention is all in one place, you’ll realize that what you really want is already here.