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We're Raising Our Baby In An Airstream — While Running A Business And Traveling The Country

Photo: Courtesy of the Author
Inspiring photo of Heather and husband Austin captured in front of their Airstream

Growing up in the Midwest in Columbus, Ohio, I watched my dad and uncle work every day. My uncle was a real estate investor and my dad a general contractor. My grandfather, an Italian immigrant who came through Ellis Island, was also an entrepreneur. I was a Girl Scout until I was 18, co-captain of our field hockey team, and a member of the student council.

I wasn’t the silver spoon type of kid, nonetheless, I never went without. 

I grew up in the suburbs, went to public school then attended a private university.

Looking back, I was grateful for privileges like attending our school marine biology trip and even traveling to Europe on a high school history trip.

Sadly, during my senior year of high school, my father passed away due to lung cancer.

I majored in communications during college and received a community service scholarship from Wittenberg University. I then studied conscious capitalism at Georgetown’s Fund for American studies program, Institute on philanthropy, and voluntary service. I was so grateful for the opportunity to attend college without worrying about student debt.

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I sought to find the balance between being a present and a working mom.

Having an ever-present mom, who found her purpose in being a mother, I knew I wanted to work and yet still be present for my child as well.

After school, I found work at an advertising agency where I had an epiphany after witnessing the stress and long hours. I needed more flexibility to become both a mom and a professional.

I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, so on June 15, 2015, I started my company.

I left my job at the ad agency making $50,000 a year, moved to my mom’s house, and took a job at LifeTime Fitness.

I was working a basic 9-5, M-F job earning minimum wage.

From my full-time job at the gym, I slowly started the groundwork to establish my business, Publicity For Good. After working my full-time job, I spent hours in my mom's basement working on my own business.

In June 2017, I got a one-way ticket to stay in LA for a client’s press tour. I was still single at the time and thankfully my friends had a room available in their apartment, which I rented for $500 a month.

At the time, I had a very low credit score since I had invested what I had back into the business.

I had so much faith in my business that I funneled my cash back into it every chance I got. In November 2017, I landed my first San Diego apartment for $1300 monthly. 

My account was in the red after paying my landlord $3900 and for weeks I ate nothing but microwavable rice and refried beans with sweet and sour sauce. 

I met my now-husband, Austin, in San Diego while he was still in the Navy.

We connected on Tinder and two days later, we went on our first date.

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Early in the relationship, we’d dreamed out our next few years together and what they would look like:

2019: Engaged
2020: Married
2021: Pregnant
2022: First baby

It’s 2022, and it’s safe to say that everything has incredibly come to fruition.

Austin transitioned from being in the Navy to civilian life.

While Austin was deployed, we spent a lot of time watching YouTube channels and reading blogs about what we wanted to do next.

We wanted to travel.

We traveled to Bali, Indonesia, and visited Denpasar, Ubud, Canggu, Seminyak, and Uluwatu. We even took a side trip to Labuan Bajo and stayed on Le Pirate’s Botel. 

An average night to stay in Bali is just $44 complete with 2 private rooms, a private pool with a small gazebo.

We were also introduced to great, absolutely fresh whole meals, the best sushi I’ve ever had, and a whole lot of kombucha. In Ubud, Bali’s cultural center, we got a taste of Balinese Yoga and witnessed traditional Balinese dancing at the ancient temple.

The best part about working overseas is having a strong start-up scene with great co-working places to work from.

Since our clients were US-based, I’d do calls from 12 AM to 2 AM, Bali Time. Aside from the chance to work, we also had the opportunity to meet amazing people and immerse ourselves in Bali’s rich culture.

Shortly after living Bali, we sold both of our houses and bought an Airstream.

That same year was my first 7-figure income year.

It was also the first year of the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

We traveled the country visiting every small town with mountains.

Having grown up in Columbus, Ohio, for 27 years and Austin growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, and then Apex, North Carolina, we knew we wanted to travel the US to seek out the perfect place to live.

We thought: what location will have the biggest impact on our business and family?

We prepared a map and planned to visit 48 states.

A key thing that allowed us to work from the road was Austin’s handy standing desk in our Airstream.  We also equipped the Airstream with a WiBoost cell phone booster, and Wifi Extender, and as a bonus, we had a membership to Harvest Hosts, which gave us RV access to stay at different wineries farms and more for free as long as you do business with them.

Other things that helped us live life in the Airstream were reading and watching great content from other bloggers and YouTubers doing similar types of road trips, and sharing resources in free Facebook groups. Having places online to ask questions and get support was a huge blessing.

After scouring the country, we eventually bought 22 acres in the mountains of North Carolina to build our homestead.

We searched all around Asheville and Chattanooga as our major city options and spent most of the next 5 months traveling every small town around the mountains of both, eventually choosing Morganton, North Carolina for our home.

Morganton is a small beautiful historic city found in western North Carolina, sitting about halfway between Charlotte and Asheville. Many consider it a natural playground with tons of hiking, biking, and fishing spots, as well as several lakes and waterfalls and vast expanses of mountainous green. It’s also home to one of the most iconic mountains in the southeastern United States, Table Rock. 

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We now have 6 chickens, 6 ducks, 4 geese, and a small beehive. It’s been a joy working on the land, doing chores, and seeing our dreams come to fruition.

We have a vision board on our fridge and so many prayers and work have brought us to this moment. It's still hard to believe we lived in an Airstream for three years.

In 2021, we got pregnant and decided to have a natural home birth.

 

I'm now navigating how to balance being a wife, mom, and traveling entrepreneur.

Living full-time in an Airstream while raising a baby and building a home does not give you much room for many things. When I first moved into the Airstream I had to downsize my clothes and figure out how to live a more simple and minimalist life.

Makeup, clothing, accessories, shoes, books, journals, all of my favorite things: I had to downsize significantly.

I also learned to be appreciative and not allow myself to get stressed about material things. Instead, I prioritized experiences and personal development. Instead of taking the time to put makeup on every day and or curl my hair, I utilized that time to have a morning coffee talk with Austin where we aligned for the day and built my business.

My company first hit 7 figures during the year of the pandemic, which is a true testament to what's possible when you have less distractions and no TV in your life. 

Because I had very little space for things I  placed more value on experiences and building my business. We also built a vision board that contained our greatest dreams: traveling, Austin learning to fly, having a family, building a homestead, and growing our own food.

While living in an Airstream doesn't give you room for "things," it gives you more space, time, and energy for what really matters: A warm cup of coffee every morning with your husband, the ability to play board games on the kitchen table, and a small kitchen table where you are forced to look at each other eye-to-eye every day.

We have now lived full-time in an Airstream for 3+ years and during that time Austin and I went from dating to being engaged, to being pregnant to now having our first baby, our little girl Rose who was born June 15, 2022.

I am so thankful for everyone that has been a part of our journey and I always say if it's on your heart to build an intentional life as we did, I say: what are you waiting for?

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All photos: Author

Heather DeSantis-Holmes is a celebrated publicist, a Forbes 30 under 30 nominee, and the founder of Publicity For Good.

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