Last spring, Nancy Broden and Michael Fortson were having breakfast at the Town’s End Bakery, wondering how to make their life make sense.
Both tech workers in their 40s, they had a pretty good setup on paper: Broden was a veteran of Twitter looking for her next project, and Fortson was making a good living developing iPhone apps. The couple owned a two-bedroom condo at the Brannan. But they had bought in 2007, right at the pre-recession height, and the squeeze of the mortgage payments began to make them feel like a support system for their condo, not the other way around. “It felt like the tail wagging the dog,” recalls Broden.
Without thinking, she blurted out something about buying an Airstream. “Then I was like, ‘Oh, wait, no, I don’t want to live in a trailer,'” she says. “Just because there’s that weird stigma that we’re living in a van down by the river.”
The idea made a kind of sense, though. Both Broden and Fortson can work from anywhere, and going off the grid would allow them to, as Broden explained, “fit work around our love of baseball rather than the other way around.”
The rest happened pretty fast: In August, en route to a wedding, they found themselves at an RV dealership in Denver, scoping out a 28-foot-long 2015 Airstream International model. Inside, the interior checks out at just under 250 square feet—about 1,000 square feet less than the condo they had just sold. “The trailer was financed like any other mortgage,” recalls Broden. When she asked about the monthly payment, the dealer said, “Four ninety-five.” “I said, four hundred and ninety-five dollars?” remembers Broden. “He said yes, and we were rolling on the floor laughing.”
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