Call it whatever you like—vintage, classic, retro, old school, throwback. We’ve always loved anything historic. We own a 1969 sailboat, live in a 1870s Gothic Revival cottage, and I have a closet full of perfectly pressed, custom-made 1960’s seersucker suits that I inherited from my grandfather which I can still slip into without a single stitch of tailoring half a century later. I wear his vintage gold Patek Phillipe watch every chance I get.
The one constant in modern life is that nothing lasts. The faster we run and the more information we manage, the more some of us crave resisting the accelerator and rediscovering something authentic, less digital, and more rooted in things that are real and physical. Things that have been around for centuries, and have permanence. Like Yellowstone National Park.
We’re not being just theoretical here. When I graduated from college, most of my friends moved on to Wharton or Harvard Law School. I moved to historic Old Town Key West in a bright yellow 1974 VW van with tinted windows. A few months later I bought the above-mentioned 1969 sailboat and upgraded from a 13’ hostel on wheels to a 28’ fiberglass hotel on the water. For the next four years, I lived aboard on anchor offshore of Key West with a motley crew of long-haul, circumnavigating neighbors coming and going from Cuba, South America, and Antarctica. I’m pretty sure I learned more in those four years than any of my friends who were at Wharton.
And I was dangerously and permanently inspired that anything was possible.
What do you have to lose in your 20’s? Travel to Havana and Cuba two decades before the first Obama political overture? Check. Crew a Tall Ship across the North Atlantic. Check. Sail around Antarctica? Done. Scuba dive into a glacier, swim with Great White sharks, rappel into an active volcano, and make a movie that premieres at the Toronto Film Festival. Yep. Got those covered as well. It should also come as no surprise that also I eventually married a woman just like me: maverick, magnetized by risk, and running perfectly against the grain.
Then, in our early 30s, we did what everyone always told us to do. We moved back to where we grew up, and took over a family business due to parental health reasons. We filed taxes on time, worked 16-hour days, and scheduled four meetings a day with pressed shirts and polished boots. And we did it balls to the wall the way we’ve always done everything. We made a lot of money and built a thriving architectural sales business through the worst construction downturn in fifty years.
Then we recently woke up and realized that we hated it all. It’s the most obvious cliché of all to say that life is short. But it is. Ten thousand hours is the average life span. It’s not long before you realize that what you didn’t do is what matters most. So after doing the right thing for a decade, we’re going maverick again and doing everything that’s purposefully not “prudent” and “responsible”. And it’s just about the best feeling in the world because it’s real. And so close.
What’s the plan? It all starts with a vintage, historic (obviously), and perfectly iconic Airstream trailer. We’re shopping now. Step two: Drop said aluminum tube into the hands of a to-be-determined architect and one of the finest custom yacht builders on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with a specific challenge. You have six months to gut and transform a glorified hot dog wrapper into a swanky one-bedroom condo/mobile corporate office space that will be Find Everything Historic’s rolling, mobile command center for the next two years.
I’ve lived on sailboats for years so I’m used to small spaces. Everything must have its purpose and place. Uninterrupted waterfront sunsets, however, also come with sacrifices—like lack of laundry. And hanging closet space for dresses and boots. Yes that’s my wife now talking.
Then there’s the dogs—two of them. Big, boisterous, adventure-loving, and freely ruining and scratching up everything in sight. If there’s any confusion about what we’re talking about here imagine this: Living your life every day—dogs, marriage, and work included—in a space that’s most likely smaller than your living room with your wife/husband 24 hours a day.
Did we mention already that it’s the best feeling in the world? And wait until you see the Airstreams we’re looking at . . . Stay tuned. The renovation begins soon.