Austin and Nicole recently sold everything they owned in their expensive, Southern California apartment. Bought a teardrop trailer to hook to their Mini Cooper R53 and hit the road with their two Pomeranian Chihuahuas, Yoshi and Bowser. After a few months of living full time out of their teardrop, they are thrilled with their new lives and are not looking back.
They each work from the road, Austin owns a web and design company and Nicole works for a vacation software company, and they run a website and a Tumblr blog about their adventures—Teardrop USA. They cover how they minimized their belongings, their teardrop kitchen remodel and how to connect on the road. The couple were kind to give us a little more information about their trailer and their travels.
Who built your teardrop trailer and how did you find it?
Our Teardrop was built by Nashwood Teardrops out of Orange County, California which has since gone out of business. It's about 15 years old, and we found it on Craigslist.
Can you tell us a little about towing a teardrop with a Mini Cooper? Did you need a specific tow package?
Apparently it's pretty common to tow with a Mini. Ours is an S and can handle 1,400 lbs stock, but we upgraded the clutch and brakes before leaving. Our Teardrop was only about 700 lbs dry. The only issue we ran into was our Mini has a center exhaust which is where the hitch generally sits, and we had to order a more custom solution from MiniDoMore. It's a hidden receiver that replaces a piece of the rebar under the rear bumper, and when not in use can be completely hidden away. Once Austin installed it, it's been pretty great!
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of a teardrop trailer?
Advantages are definitely that it's small and inconspicuous as far as size. When we urban boondock, most places are fine with it since we fit in a single parking space. The disadvantages are that the looks of our setup are a little flashy and attention grabbing. One day we were really hungry and wanted to stop at a restaurant to eat, but we got stopped three times in the parking lot trying to get to food. Each conversation lasted about 15 minutes and by the time we got inside we were about to pass out! Other than that, the basics. Not having a bathroom is somewhat annoying at times but we never ran into a huge issue.
What other trailers appeal to you?
When we upgrade it'll be to a Sprinter Van setup. We've been eyeing a few of them and are in love!
What are some of your favorite meals to cook on the road?
Ever since we bought our cast iron pan, it's been heaven. I'd say the standard hot dogs and beans are our favorite with some chips. You really can't beat that. Even though we've been doing it for so long full time, it still feels like an adventure, like camping. So camp food is definitely enjoyed. Outside of that, fruit is great. We don't have a fridge or cooler so we've been learning a lot of creative ways to incorporate our food groups and healthy energy sources that keep us away from fast food.
Where are you dying to visit?
Everywhere. I know that sounds cliché but we can't get enough of adventuring. Our top 3 destinations are hard to narrow down but I'd have to say the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Disney World. The coolest part about traveling has been reaching a new place, and asking locals what's the best thing to do. That's how you find the best places to see.
Photos by Teardrop USA