I purchased an Airstream trailer in 2013. It weighs 4,500 pounds, and it hitches to a VW Touareg. When I first bought the trailer, I had no idea how to hitch, didn’t know a thing about towing, and was definitely clueless about the inner-workings of the bathroom plumbing.
At the time, the decision to purchase a trailer may not have seemed entirely reasonable to most. Instead of settling down, starting a family, or buying a house, I chose to create a life that was untethered. I streamlined my material possessions, researched what it meant to travel in a trailer, and prepared for life on the road. I imagined, in cinematic fashion, the wind whipping through my hair, my dog Butters by my side, and a pile of scribbled in notebooks in the trunk.
A few catalysts led me toward buying a trailer.
I reflected on a childhood dream of exploring the United States by car. One Christmas, when I received an RV for my Barbie doll, I peered into the tiny toy kitchen and envisioned a life where I was fully sufficient, self-contained and outside the boundaries of someone else’s rules.
My Dad, who loved road trips and exploring the outdoors, suffered two heart attacks in 2012. Like many immigrant families, my parents worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. Decades of working 60-70 hours a week never allowed them to be truly free. At the time, my Dad’s idea of traveling across America never materialized. I decided, beside his hospital bed, to help my Dad realize his dream.
Once I secured a tow vehicle, I set out in search of a trailer. I didn’t want any RV; I wanted the iconic Airstream. For me, the sleek, silver exterior was synonymous with freedom and adventure. The newer Airstream models were expensive, and some cost as much as a small home in rural America. A friend of mine suggested I look for a used model. By sheer luck, I came across a 2008 Airstream in excellent condition. The interior sparkled with recessed lights, the bed was big enough for my dog and me, and the kitchen was equipped with real-life versions of appliances from Barbie’s RV.
While the pieces were in place for me to begin the journey, I wavered about moving forward. I was nervous about setting off on an unconventional path. It felt as though I would be making a statement about my life. I would always be on the move, trying new things, and never allowing myself to become too comfortable in one place. My anxieties began to subside when I envisioned my Dad confined to his hospital bed. During those moments of uncertainty, my boss at the time said, “This is the right thing to do. It’s a bold move.” The simplicity of her words propelled me forward; knowing this would be one of many steps towards self-reliance.
In 2013, I was fortunate enough to take two trips with my parents before my Dad left this earth. In the years since, I’ve learned how to maintain the trailer, perfected backing into spots in 30-seconds flat, and managed to travel coast-to-coast twice. During my travels, I’ve wandered through strange towns, sought refuge for the night in the middle of nowhere, witnessed cotton-candy colored sunrises and sunsets that filled me with hope and wonder. I met a sensitive, talented man, and fell in love. And I’ve come across travelers who have confirmed the idea that life can be creatively designed in endless ways. These many, invaluable experiences gave me a unique perspective on life.
My journey as an entrepreneur began long ago, at the very moment, I first dreamt of freedom and independence. It gradually manifested through the years and rapidly grew as I embarked on my journey as an avid Airstreamer. But it was this past March when I left a 20-year career in corporate America to start my own business that my dream emerged. I now focus on writing and research to advance Asian women in the workplace. I also help people and teams gain clarity and define focus in organizational settings.
Today, my dream of absolute freedom is that much closer to being fully realized. By embracing the unknown, I am honoring my Dad’s wishes, my curiosity for the untapped possibilities, all while being true to my beliefs. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help my clients take bold steps toward creating a beautiful and meaningful life.