Comforts of Home with Sheena from Mavis the Airstream
June 20, 2018
Author: Shelly Weaver-Cather
Sheena, one third of the crew behind Mavis the Airstream, restores and lives in vintage Airstreams with her husband Jason, and faithful copilot, Riley.
Since 2016, they’ve been on a wild adventure across the country, and are currently on their second Airstream renovation, Mavis 2.0. Sheena took some time to chat with us about what comfort means to her, and how to find it on the road.
TN: I know that you and your husband started this journey as a way to highlight the best points of your relationship, but is there anything you truly miss now that you’ve been on the road for a while?
Our first four months in the Airstream, I missed my bathtub terribly. But soon, I realized that my bathtub was just my way of winding down after every day and I didn’t crave it after a while. I was so much more content with our new existence that I realized I didn’t need that unwind time every night anymore. In a sense, I was unwinding all throughout the day.
For Jason, he missed the garage. He is a little manic about keeping a clean truck and when you’re driving through every kind of terrain and weather, you just can’t do that. But he compromised with a little portable power washer and mini shop vac to keep his truck tidy-ish along the way.
TN: What would you say comforts you the most when you’re missing “home”?
When we would get homesick, we’d take off and find a good sunset or walk along the beach or mountain trail. That was so centering and reminded us why we wanted to do this life change in the first place.
TN: How do you make your Airstream into a home? What small touches really make or break it?
For me, I wanted a soft place to cozy up every night after a long day of working and exploring. We never spent time in our bed during the days at home because we just didn’t have time. Now it’s a place to lay and read a book or snuggle up with our dog. It’s so inviting and loaded with pillows and throws and our little dog is always a fixture on the bed. It’s by far his favorite spot in the Airstream. It’s a bright, sunny spot and just a happy place to be.
TN: What’s the best memory you’ve made on the road so far?
Mavis has a way of providing us a front-row seat to nature. We spent a couple of weeks in New Mexico last year and were completely blown away at the skies. We’ve always heard that New Mexico had some of the best sunsets but we got to witness that first-hand. One evening in particular, we sat outside of the Airstream after a long day of some sight-seeing and we watched the sky begin its usual transformation of wild, vibrant colors we had become accustomed to all week. But this time, it just became so unreal, so unfathomable. We were literally jumping up and down on the picnic table, grabbing each other’s arms and pointing all over the sky as it changed.
Every color you’ve ever seen the sky turn was happening all at once. Clouds were raining literal rainbows and there were wisps of pastel cotton candy clouds melting into one another. Our shiny aluminum home suddenly became a kaleidoscope of colors as it reflected the fiery New Mexico sky. At one point I even started crying. It was one of the best, most surreal experiences of my life.
TN: What would you tell someone who was just starting to look into the Airstream life before they dive in? What advice do you have, what are the do’s and don’t’s?
Expect an adjustment period. Our first two weeks in the Airstream were…emotional to say the least. Before the move-in, we spent so much of the past several months of our life pouring everything into this trailer. Then to move in and actually live in it felt surreal. Everything was new and exciting at first. But after a week of bumping into each other, hitting our heads and stubbing our toes, we grew weary of it all. Frankly, we thought we had made a huge mistake. But we quickly got into the hang of tiny living and began to move about the trailer together in almost a subconsciously choreographed way. We remembered what the trailer meant to us: freedom. Our backyard can change at the drop of a hat. Our commute to work is walking 6 feet to our desks. After work, we step out of the door and explore. We quickly fell back in love with Mavis and haven’t looked back.
TN: You’ve just sold Mavis and now you’re looking on to the next project, what are you most excited about? What lessons are you taking from Mavis to your new bus?
This round, we’ve challenged ourselves to build Mavis 2.0 as eco-friendly and off-grid capable as possible. We are looking into recycled materials and have plans to make her fully solar-powered. We want to spend more time on public land and less in campgrounds. Since we work together in the space, we have plans to separate the work areas even more than our first Mavis. One desk will be in the bedroom area behind a door and the other will be a the very front of the trailer on the opposite end. Another upgrade is a king-sized bed! The rear 1/3 of the trailer will serve as the bedroom space and we are beyond excited to try out the new T&N Mint mattress!
We loved our first T&N so much that we bought one for our townhouse and are now putting a 3rd in our Mavis 2.0!