Life on the road .. An American transforms a travel trailer into stylish mobile homes

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – From waking up in a different place every day, to living and working in some of the most beautiful places in the world, to feeling absolutely free, it’s no wonder so many people do not dream of it. life on the road.

American Kate Oliver not only made life aboard a travel trailer a reality, but also turned it into a business.

Oliver introduced The Modern Caravan, a company that took her through America while repairing old Airstream travel trailers.

Now Oliver has published a book called “The Modern Caravan” as a reflection on life on a travel trailer, looking at the lifestyle of people who have refurbished their trailers and giving advice on how to refurbish it.

another life

Oliver and her wife wanted more for their daughter. And on the way, they found what they were looking for, plain_textCredit: Kate Oliver

Growing up in the Midwest of America, Oliver always felt like I did not belong. “I never felt like I belonged here, and I did not have an easy childhood,” she says.

Instead, Oliver escaped into her imagination and described the local library she visited as a haven.

Oliver was interested in fantasy books, and then one day she found books on architecture and interior design, and she said, “There was something in those pages and pictures in which I could imagine myself.”

Oliver got a different lifestyle – albeit in a slightly different way than she imagined, by looking at those books in the library.

“What if we sell everything?”

Life on the road .. An American transforms a travel trailer into stylish mobile homes
Some people live permanently on the road while others stop in their garden, plain_textCredit: Kate Oliver

In 2013, Oliver and her wife, Elaine Brass, started talking about the future, and they wanted something more for themselves and their 4-year-old daughter, but they were not entirely sure.

One morning in 2014, Oliver came across some photos of a group on tour, apparently one of the group members had a child and took them along during that tour.

Then Oliver sent for Brass and said to her, “What if we sell everything and buy a trailer and drive away?” Her wife said yes.

The next morning, Oliver went to work to plan a lifestyle change.

In 2014, the life of travel trailers was not uncommon.

And unlike the glamorous Instagram photos, turning a travel trailer into a stylish home is no easy task.

After 10 months of searching for a vintage travel trailer, the couple found one that looked like their abilities, and after doing the basic exploration, they found that it was a much bigger project than they had previously thought.

The electrical wiring and interior design of the vehicle needed a major overhaul.

Oliver had absolutely no experience with renovation or construction, other than her wife.

In her book, Oliver talks about the strenuous physical exertion that physically changed her.

People watching the final appearance of the modified trailers or flipping through their book will not be able to see the “sweat and tears” that, according to Oliver, were part of the rebuilding of the trailer.

A contractor who builds a house usually has someone to do the electrical, plumbing, drywall, custom cabinets, or personal furniture, but Oliver and her wife do it all.

The only thing they have not done yet is upholstery. “We like to use power tools, but when it comes to a sewing machine, we need professionals,” says Oliver.

difficult start

Life on the road .. An American transforms a travel trailer into stylish mobile homes
Oliver’s book sheds light on people across the states who have renewed their tracks, plain_textCredit: Kate Oliver

It took a year to repair the trailer the couple named Louise. During this time, Oliver sold her house and moved with her wife to the trailer, which became their home.

After 18 months, a couple traveled across the states in Louise, where they lived in the desert and by the sea, to live out the dream of life on the road.

While on the road, the couple realized they could do business with trailer overhauls.

The idea was simple: they would take their trailer to the customers ‘homes, where they would change the customers’ trailers similar to theirs.

These days, with the Trailer Life movement and companies offering similar services everywhere, the competition would have been tough, but in 2017 it was even easier.

“This way of traveling was in its infancy, and not many others did what we did,” Oliver says.

The couple traveled through the states, by this time aboard their second custom trailer, to clients’ homes where they were working on custom trailers.

Interestingly, most of their clients were women.

However, Oliver talks in her book about misogyny and homophobia at work.

In fact, one of the experiences she had with her wife caused them to abandon the business model of visiting clients at their place of residence.

Life on the road .. An American turns a travel trailer into a stylish home
The couple refurbished 12 travel trailers, including three that took them home, plain_textCredit: Kate Oliver

In early 2019, a friend told them about a new trailer for sale, and the couple immediately said they wanted to buy it to refurbish and then sell it.

“They indeed sold the new trailer to a woman to park her car on her land, as a way to live in peace and unity and to go deeper into herself,” Oliver writes in her book.

During this new chapter in her life, Oliver was asked to write about life on the road.

So she and her husband took their third newly restored trailer and spent the year in the US, photographing people who lived in custom trailers. They were already talking about the prospect of settling with their daughter when the pandemic hit.

Oliver says COVID-19 has changed the course of their plans.

“We were back on the road when the world closed. The camps were closing, everyone said go home, but for backpackers, where is the house?”

Life on the road .. An American transforms a travel trailer into stylish mobile homes
Credit: Kate Oliver

The couple indeed parked their garage in Brass’s parents’ backyard in Kansas, stayed there for a few months and then decided they needed a studio to do renovation work for their company.

“Staying in my in-laws’ backyard was not an option, so we decided it was time to rest,” Oliver says. In June 2020, the couple moved into a house in the Midwest.

The path for Oliver is clearly life, and she wants to bring that life to the projects she is working on for other people. So how do you pack someone’s core into a carriage?

“I can not design for someone if I do not know who it is,” she says, “I like to have very intimate conversations – to start with how they live now is very important – and for clients who have the car want to use as a home it is important to get a sense of how they work and move through the spaces. ” .

“I want to know what they do at work, what their work style is. Do they prefer to sit on the couch, at the desk, do they need a separate workspace?”

Life on the road .. American woman transforms travel trailer into stylish mobile homes
Oliver says owning a trailer is an opportunity to express his or her personality, plain_textCredit: Kate Oliver

Once they talk about needs and style, Oliver moves on to the design stage, and the pair add their distinctive touch like carpeted glass doors separating the living spaces, and lots of walnut to bring the outdoors inside.

Oliver describes herself as a steadfast believer in the power of being on the road.

“When I first came out, and I was so far away from the Midwest and everything I grew up in, I could breathe and see myself for the first time,” she says.

Life on the road .. An American transforms a travel trailer into stylish mobile homes
Credit: Kate Oliver

She continues, “I could see who I was because I had the space and time to think about it. I think a lot of people think it’s an escape from reality.”

“I went to escape from my life what I did not want, I think people are going to find themselves out of it all. I think we should sit in that calm,” she says.

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