Wearing purple face paint and a piercing stare, Angela does not look like she lives the simple life. Social media knows her by the alias “Authentic Paint,” and everyone else just knows her as Angela. Aside from her exotic makeup and alias, Angela prefers a minimalistic life—living in an Airstream.
“I prefer the Airstream lifestyle because I prefer to live in something small. I’m the opposite of a hoarder,” she said.
She grew up in the Los Angeles area and moved into the aluminum travel trailer in Fall 2010, after years of living in expensive, crowded apartments in the city. Many years of moving led her to seek a more permanent living situation. She didn’t want to share her walls and floors in a building anymore, and she wanted a home she could buy on a budget. An Airstream fit her criteria.
“It’s so much more affordable. Once you pay off the payments, it’s yours—aside from some maintenance and property costs,” Angela said.
People can buy marked-down airstreams on websites like RVTrader.com for as low as $20,000. Dealerships like Airstream LA also sell budget-friendly trailers. After purchasing a trailer, Airstream owners can choose to buy property in a trailer park or on someone else’s property to park the Airstream. Angela has spent between $400-$800 on property spots in the Greater Los Angeles area.
“Most Airstream users choose to live in the trailer parks, especially in Los Angeles. You get the community feel without having to spend a lot of money on homes in LA neighborhoods,” she said.
She has always preferred to buy property in trailer parks because of the affordability and camaraderie. She prefers parks in more suburban areas like Anaheim and Downey because the properties feel more like campgrounds. Residents gather outside the Airstreams for neighborhood-like get-togethers. Angela enjoys socializing with all of the people in the park and wants to break the stereotype of people who choose this simpler way of life.
“People who live in Airstreams get a very bad rap. Everyone I’ve met is so hardworking and just wants to maintain a budget,” she said.
Since she has lived in an Airstream for five years, Angela is now considered a “full-timer” in the community. She moved to San Diego last year and parked her Airstream on a friend’s property. Angela hopes she’ll be able to continue her simple lifestyle for as long as possible but plans to one day have a family. After meeting many families who have also adopted the Airstream way of life, Angela hopes to have her family do the same.
“The people that impress me are the husband, wife, and kid living in one Airstream. To me, they just get the importance of simplicity.”