We Heart Our Readers: Cece Reinhardt and Brenda Daugherty of On the Green Road

Giving up a house and belongings for life on the road in an Airstream.

It’s no surprise that we love Airstreams. Sleek, retro and the embodiment of simple living, they inspire a sense of wanderlust, making us dream of giving up our belongings and trading it all in for life on the road. That’s exactly what Cece Reinhardt and Brenda Daugherty are doing, living fulltime in an eco Airstream, traveling across the country and telling their stories along the way. Pulled by a truck that runs on biodiesel, it’s all part of On the Green Road, what Reinhardt and Daugherty call “a mobile sustainable living project.” As they traverse the country, they’re sharing stories of tiny living and educating about simple, healthy choices. That’s the kind of tour we want to be on. But the second best thing to being on the tour, is getting an inside look at what living in an Airstream is all about.

Name: Cece Reinhardt and Brenda Daugherty

Website: www.greenrvlife.com

What do you love about EcoSalon? 

EcoSalon is super trendy and fresh. We love that. Our favorites are Foodie Underground and the new Daily Track. Awesome and right on the money.

What inspired you to sell your house and belongings and set out for life in an Airstream?

We wanted to pursue our passions – down-sizing our life, travel, being with friends and family, and educating about simple living. The housing market in California was going downhill and we sold before we were completely upside down on our mortgage. It was one of the best decisions we have ever made. From there, we paid off our debt and pursued our dream of owning an Airstream. At first we were simply going do a green remodel on the weekends as we had time. Then as budget and job cuts ensued with the State of California, Cece lost her Public Health job. With free time and creative thinking, we decided to write off for sponsorship for the eco remodel and Brenda pursued a telecommuting work schedule with her employer. The dream of “On the Green Road” blossomed.

What green features do you have in the Airstream?  

We went two ways with this. First, we wanted to be independent and off grid. We added solar power and a waterless composting toilet so we could extend our time off the grid and off the pipe. Secondly, we wanted to have a healthy living environment, free of toxins and VOCs.  To accomplish this, we added organic fabrics and eco materials that were beautiful and healthy like cork and Marmoleum flooring, bamboo cutting boards, a kirei work desk, Paperstone countertop, a Keetsa eco-friendly mattress, American Clay walls and ceiling, eco veneer on existing cabinets, LED lighting and organic linens/textiles.

Tell us about the upcoming On the Green Road tour. What do you hope to get out of it?

We are traveling across the U.S. and Canada over the next 6 months. As we travel, we focus on education and outreach – promoting tangible green change. With our background in outdoor/experiential education and sociology we feel that by incorporating “hands-on” exposure – feeling, touching, seeing and discussing systems in action, sustainability concepts such as carbon footprint, simple living and green lifestyle take on a more powerful and tangible meaning. In essence, we are utilizing individual products and systems like a composting toilet, solar power and biofuels, putting them together in a mobile studio and hitting the green road to put words into actions. But the discussion and our passion doesn’t end there. Taking steps to free yourself from clutter, live more sustainably and create a passionate self are all connected. We want to encourage and continue this conversation as we work, live and travel.

Oh yeah, we also want to have some adventure and fun.

Your motto is “Conserve. Explore. Inspire.” What keeps you inspired to live this lifestyle?

We love the feeling of living a healthy lifestyle – we wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world everyday. By down-sizing our life we also pay into our savings and retirement each month and we don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. We receive wonderful emails from followers of our website and Facebook page. Knowing that people are making their own life changes and that we have had something to do with that is priceless.

What five items do you never travel without?

iPhone, Verizon wifi, our animals (one cat and one dog), kayaks, Breville Juice extractor.

When people ask you what they can do to live a more conscious/sustainable lifestyle, what do you tell them?

There is not just one way to go green. It’s about balance—taking on what you can, depending on your time, resources and passions. We are just two girls with a cat and a dog, trying to find the balance between freedom, sustainability and passion. Here are things we have found helpful:

Slow down enough in your day to day activities to identify what you are already doing or not doing. Take time to get connected to the nature around you. Disconnect from your iPhone and computer and notice the beauty right there. Our planet is amazing. How nature works is awesome.  Once you get zoned in to this you also start to see things that destroy and interfere with this beauty. When you start to care everything changes.  Your everyday actions start to take on more meaning. What you can do next will just naturally fall into place – recycling, taking public transportation, using less energy, composting, buying less packaging, owning less stuff, spending more time with the ones you love out in the woods, etc. Have fun – being green doesn’t have to be dull and boring. Build a community, in your thought and action. Join together – it takes a village to bring about change.

What is your favorite travel quote?

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.