Sandi Wheaton of Windsor, Ontario recently lost her job in Detroit. Instead of looking for a new job, she decided to use the time to fulfill one of her dreams: traveling and photographing Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Sandi is living this dream in an Aliner pop-up trailer. She decided to document the famous highway using a digital camera, a camera with infared film and another camera which follows her route with a shot every few seconds. She hopes to have her photos published in a book and a DVD or website.
Her trailer is a 1998 Aliner which she bought specifically for the trip. She initially wanted to travel in a T@B, but her Jeep could only tow a low-profile pop-up design. She is thrilled that she does not have to unhitch every time she sets it up. She also mentioned that she likes the Oliver trailer, like the one owned by Cherie and Chris of Technomadia.
“I love this trailer, especially for this purpose,” Sandi said. “Since I am traveling alone, unhitching is a pain. With the Aliner, I don’t need to unhitch in order to put it up. Plus it is up literally in a minute!”
“This unit has everything I need – except a bathroom. That’s what truck stops and campgrounds are for,” she said.
In the trailer is a small refrigerator, sink, 3-burner stove, a furnace, a small Coleman camping fan, an eating area and a bed. Stored under the bed and the eating area are the battery, water tank, water pump, photo gear, clothes, shoes, microwave oven, glasses and dishes. Sandi sleeps on an air mattress on top of the bed.
Sandi is planning on finishing her trip on October 29th. She will probably take the interstate back to Windsor, but plans on visiting Route 66 a few more times on the way back to catch a few things she missed because of bad weather.
Sandi said this trip started out being just about the photography of Route 66, but it has become so much more:
“As far as lifestyle and small spaces go, this trip could also be seen as a dry run for a nomadic lifestyle,” she said. “I have to say that I love the freedom this sort of living brings. I truly do – especially when you realize how much beauty there is out here!”
“When I lost my job, my first thought was, ‘Oh no, I have to sell my house!’ Then I went through a period of trying to find a way to afford it: through renting parts of it, making more freelance income, etc. Now, after being on the road, I am finding myself more inclined to unload that responsibility and be more open to flexible lifestyles. All that said, I really miss my bathtub, my bed and my kitchen! So, I’m still processing all of this. It really does seem to make more sense to go smaller – less imprint, less financial responsibility, more flexibility. Maybe a tiny house with a hot tub outside?”
Sandi mentioned that the most rewarding part of her trip are the people she’s met. Random strangers have given her food, free beds for the night and handy items for her trip. She concluded that there seems to be some truth to the “just do what you love and good things will happen” mentality.
By Christina Nellemann for the (Tiny House Blog)