For those unaware, my boyfriend Mr. M and I are currently living on a boat in Key West, Florida. Affectionately termed the ‘Conch Republic,’ Key West is home to about 20,000 people (give or take, depending on the month) and can swell to accommodate upwards towards 125,000 people during the busiest season. Tourism is what Key West is known for, and it’s on tourism that we all depend.
While most visitors stay in hotels and inns while in the Conch Republic — one of which employs me as an office assistant — I spotted one couple that was experiencing the city a bit differently.
While running errands downtown the other day, I saw this wonderfully tiny camping trailer being pulled behind a small SUV.
It had a gorgeous floral painting on the back and a really incredible mountain scene on the front (that I didn’t get a picture of for fear of coming off s bit like a stalker. This is their living space after all). I had seen small trailers, called teardrops, like this before, but the lovely upgrades on this trailer really got my attention.
Mr. M and I have spent large parts of the last two summers camping across the American West and Midwest. For two college students, driving around the country and setting up my small tent wherever we felt like exploring was a great way to travel. You save lots of money by not staying in hotels, and it really is much more fun to be surrounded by wilderness (at least for our tastes). But by the end of every trip, my station wagon was paled to the ceiling with all of our disorganized supplies, clothes, food, and everything else we need over the course of the previous few weeks. When our time was up, I was always very frustrated and exasperated by the chaos in the back seat and definitely ready to go home.
But one of these small trailers certainly seems like a really great alternative to tent camping. No air mattresses deflating in the middle of the night, extra storage space, true respite from the rain … My road-tripping days are far from over, and I’d love to take one of these small campers along for the ride some time.
Campers themselves don’t really appeal to me — too big and bulky, to much technology. But small campers are a great medium between jumbo RV’s and tent camping. They are light-weight and much easier on the gas mileage, and many of them are able to be towed by smaller cars so you don’t have to have a truck.
And there are lots of options out there today. R-Pods and Scamps are relatively affordable. ultra-lightweight modern options that people really seem to like.
But the nostalgist in me really likes the idea of renovating one of the old aluminum trailers. The antique photos of the trailers alone are reason for me to like the older ones better.
Today, there websites and groups of people entirely devoted to this pursuit, and some of the photos of the renovated trailers make them appear amazing modern and comfortable. Though I don’t see myself buying a house any time soon, I’d love to find an old trailer to fix up and make my own. It sounds like a small-scale do-able way to flex my eager design muscles.
One thing that these trailers really remind me of are gypsy caravans. You know, the colorful wooden wagons.
I’ve always loved those, and the eclectic gypsy aesthetic really appeals to me — so cozy and warm and unique. Seeing as s wooden caravan might not last interstate 80 (and the whole horse-drawn thing is no longer in vogue), I might fuse the two ideas and make the interior of the trailer something of a gypsy den. Can you imagine anything more wonderful than curling up after a day of campfire and adventure in a place like this?!
Maybe it’s just me, but this definitely beats a musty motel. Would this kind of travel appeal to you?