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I hate to be this person, but I think you guys should know:
I liked Airstream trailers before they were cool.
In 2001, I’d pull off the highway, scramble over barbed wire and peer into the windows of Airstreams sitting in fields with hand-written ‘For Sale’ signs in the window.
At 22, I stopped into a dealership and toured new models, opening tiny fridges and eye-balling counter space. I researched living in a travel trailer above the frostline and how much it costs to rent a spot in a trailer park.
So when I found an Airstream trailer on Airbnb, I viewed it as A Sign. All my dreams were about to come true! I would confirm that, yes, I was meant to live inside a stylish silver marshmallow, winnowing my belongings down to only what could fit under my snug, cocoon-y bed!
Imagine my surprise when I hated it.
Now, to be fair, the Airstream in question was the smallest model; it’s 22 feet long. But I felt like a marble in a tuna can. YOU SIT ON THE TOILET TO SHOWER.
I am an extremely intrepid traveler and that was too much for even me. I will shower out of bucket. I will sleep on a bed made of sticks. I will inadvertently eat congealed duck blood. But I draw the line at showering in a plastic coffin while sitting on a toilet you’re discouraged from pooping in.
What if I hadn’t lucked into this Airbnb rental?! I could have easily spent the next few years saving up to buy my dream Airstream, only to haul it home and realize that I did not, in fact, enjoy travel trailer life.
Then I’d probably spend the next few years trying to convince myself that I liked it. I’d spend money, time, and energy trying to make this not-awesome-for-me experience into something I actually enjoyed. What if we put in a gas burner? Maybe we just need a better patio situation so we can make better use of the outdoor space? I bet we just parked in a bad spot – let’s move it again.
Now apply this to every aspect of our lives.
How often have we done The Thing We’re Supposed To Do only to get there and realize we don’t actually, uh. like it very much?
Sometimes, we’re so busy pursuing a dream we’ve had for 15 years, we don’t stop to consider if
a) it’s something we still want
b) fits into the reality of our daily lives and personalities
c) WOULD ACTUALLY BE ENJOYABLE
Because the thing is: you might not actually enjoy being a scuba instructor in Thailand! It’s hot! The pay is low! Being your own boss is hard and navigating ex-pat life is no joke.
And it would sure suck to figure that out after you’ve quit your job, sold your house, and moved to Ko Phi Phi.
Maybe, what you actually want is scuba classes at your local dive school and twice-a-year, one-week vacations in the Florida Keys. You could snorkel every day, stay at the same Airbnb, and make friends with the locals.
Of course, sometimes the big dream is the right one. Sometimes, making a huge financial or emotional leap is the right choice. No amount of renting – literal or psychological – can prepare you for every aspect of life. And allegedly, there are people who live in Airstreams year-round and enjoy it!
But if you can rent your dream - either literally or emotionally - before you buy it, why wouldn't you? Click To Tweet
Ways to rent your dreams before you buy them
Rent a convertible for two weeks in December before you buy one.
Go to Savannah in August and see if you’re still interested in moving there once you’ve experienced that heat.
Rent a house with a yard and driveway. See how you really feel about the mowing and the shoveling.
Job-shadow, intern or volunteer in your dream job before you make the leap.
Follow someone on Instagram who’s doing what you think you want to do and is honest about it. Watch their Instagram Stories for behind-the-scenes realness.
Travel for a few weeks with your partner before you move in together. Be sleep-deprived, sick, and stressed out together.
Foster dogs before you adopt one of your own.
Do That Thing as a hobby or side hustle before you leave your job for it.Your dream is waiting for you, but it wants to be sure you're a good fit. Click To Tweet
I want to hear from you! Have you ever pursued a dream and then once you got it, realized you hadn’t looked into it properly? Have you ever ‘rented’ a dream before you invested in it? Tell us in the comments so we can try your methods ourselves!