Drivin' & Vibin' Airstream Life with a Newborn
“We spent the entire pregnancy in the Fiber Stream,” Kyle Brady tells us from Gulf Shores, Alabama, “…however it comes with an asterisk. During that time we were camping and renovating in Olivia’s sisters back yard.”
Olivia is Kyle’s wife, and Fiber Stream was the couple’s home on the road. Earlier this year, after four years of full-time travel, they discovered they were going to have a baby.
“So,” he continues, “we had easy access to a house. The Fiber Stream was more like our guest house where we slept and escaped family,” he laughs.
Fiber Stream is the name of a particular type of travel trailer manufactured by a company of the same name during the 70s and 80s. They’re a rare breed of RV and–despite owning and living out of one for years–the couple never met another person who owned one during all of that time on the road.
Before baby made her announcement, they explored the United States, with Southeastern Utah, the Pacific Northwest and California standing out as some of their most memorable spots. They gave up jobs in the service industry to explore the country, and began playing music together as the open road unraveled itself before them.
Kyle was already a full-time musician before all of this, but the road brought the couple together to record their own album, which they did in their Fiber Stream.
“We considered playing music together as a source of income before hitting the road,” Olivia chimes in, “Instead our Etsy shop became successful and playing music together went to the back burner. Kyle was playing 200 gigs a year at the time. Once we hit the road it was a great opportunity for Kyle to take a break from music.”
“We play a few ‘big shows’ as Drivin & Vibin each year,” she says, “and Kyle also plays solo gigs. When we play the big shows, we bring a full band with us.”
They’ve since shut their Etsy store down, which is perhaps a sad thing for the rest of us as it was a beautiful collection of antique books and maps. “We’ve always been big thrifters,” she says, “this was a way we could make money from it.”
As other interests took hold, though, they evolved their means of making a living while traveling into content creation, think video and blog ads, brand partnerships and affiliate sales via their website.
Their most recent interest, and most interesting development recently you might say, was the birth of Nora Brady three months ago. This led them to living in their Fiber Stream on the coast of Alabama as they purchased and renovated their Airstream Argosy, which would provide them a little more space than the Fiber Stream could, all while retaining the vintage vibe they’ve been so interested in.
For those who haven’t heard of the Argosy, it’s a specific brand of trailer that Airstream created, which were typically painted white and rumor has it were a testing ground for new designs or techniques that would make it into more traditional Airstream models. They spawned a variety of interesting deviations for the company, including a full-on motorhome (with engine and all) as well as a “super light” model designed to be towed with your average car.
“We love the vintage feel of Airstreams,” Kyle admits. “They were on our radar since our very first RV searches. However, in the beginning we needed to tow our first RV with our truck at the time…a Ford Ranger. This pretty much took Airstreams off the table. Once we decided we wanted to upgrade RVs,” in 2018, “we also knew we’d upgrade our truck. The Argosy pretty much fell in our lap. It was located in our hometown and was priced very reasonably. We pretty much had to renovate an Airstream if we wanted one…new or lightly used was out of our budget.”
From creating their own income to creating their own home and now continuing to build their family, the couple is clearly the DIY type.
They sold the Fiber Stream to a friend and got to work.
“It took 18 months and we’re thrilled with the outcome! We have more space, better build quality and lots of off grid capabilities. The Fiber Stream had one 200w AGM battery,” which he admits they abused literally to death, “and two 100w solar panels. The Airstream is rockin’ 500w of lithium, a 3000w Victron hybrid inverter and 640w of solar.”
Nora was born in the couple’s own hometown of Fairhope, Alabama, about an hour from the spot they’re currently calling home as they give the little lady some time to adjust to this world and do a final shakedown of the Argosy before hitting the road again, Florida-bound, in January.
“So far,” he speaks of their latest addition, “it’s been a pleasure. Nora surly doesn’t take up much space and we love being close together!”
The sentiment of loving to spend time with your family, a quality that–perhaps surprisingly–not all moms and dads share, is perfect for families living on the road, whether their kids are 3 months or 13 years old.
When asked what their favorite thing about raising her in the Airstream has been so far, Kyle says, “We get to be together all the time and nurture our family bonds.”
As she grows, we’ll probably change our tune…and possibly upgrade our RV. We’re also open to the idea of getting a home base sticks and bricks,” a reference to more traditional homes, “and become part-time RVers. As for now, we look forward to discovering our new travel rhythm.”
They mention Durango, CO and Taos, NM as some possible future home base locations. “Colorado is probably our absolute favorite state.”
“Getting back out west is top on our list!” the couple says, “Raising Nora in an environment rich with diversity is very important to us.” No better way to diversify than living in a home that can relocate, to different settings, sceneries and cultures as often as you’d like.
When they hit the road, they’ll feel out whether what they’ve learned from the past few years of traveling together as a couple will need to change or not.
Olivia says that, since having Nora, their lives have changed dramatically and somehow not at all. “We’ve stretched our emotions and love to new levels. We’ve lost a little sleep. But, at the same time, we’re still explorers who are excited to explore with Nora.”
The family also travels with their dog, River, who they adopted before initially starting their travels. “We wanted an additional travel companion for life on the road. She’s been an amazing travel dog. We love revisiting locations in the US with Riv, because we’re pretty sure she remembers those places by smell!”
“We haven’t boondocked with Nora yet,” Kyle states. Boondocking is a reference to camping in the wild, without hookups and typically for free. “We look forward to getting off the grid again, but new challenges will definitely arrive. It’s our goal to head out west this summer and get back to our boondocking roots. With all that said, and with all the free camping videos we’ve created,” check out the couple’s YouTube channel for a plethora of information on the RV life, “people tend to think we boondock exclusively…however, we love a good mix of boondocking and luxury RV resorts. Balance is our goal.”
They’re considering playing more music together in 2020 as well, but it’s not something they want to dominate their travels, the other way around really.
“We’ll contact venues on our travel route and base the gigs on where we want to be. We don’t want the shows guiding our path.”
“Most shows are Kyle playing solo,” Olivia relates, “I’ll join Kyle onstage for a few songs. When we play the big Drivin & Vibin shows, we’ll need a babysitter!”
No doubt their ingenuity and happiness to just explore the world together will bring them years and miles more adventure.