On The Road, A Relationship Grows

In January, I posted a story about Julie Tran and her husband Chris Ziccardi. They were leaving the Old Hill home they built 7 years earlier.

Their plan was travel around the country.

In a 27-foot Airstream Globetrotter, hitched to their Ford F-350.

Time to check in again on the peripatetic couple.

They were back in Connecticut earlier this month. They’d triangulated the US, from Florida and Texas to California, then back East to New England. They’d seen the Grand Canyon, hiked in Acadia National Park, met wonderful people, and had memorable adventures.

Julie Tran and Chris Zaccardi, on the road …

But the most remarkable part of their journey, Julie says, was strengthening their bonds with each other.

“Some people would be nervous. How can you survive in a tiny home with your significant other, and no space for yourself?

“It can be very challenging,” she admits. We knew it would test our relationship. But we thought it would be a good way to work on it, and learn to communicate better.”

It was, in fact, like being on Survivor Island. They were in a vehicle, sure. But as individuals, Julie says, “You can’t go anywhere else.”

… and in front of their small home.

The first 5 months were filled with challenges. Battery, refrigerator and air conditioning issues frayed tempers.

“Things come up every day that you don’t deal with in a house. How do you deal with a flat tire? How do you get internet on the road?”

They did it by communicating. They made conscious efforts to talk through every problem.

Before bed every night, they express what they appreciate about the other. They also say what they would like to be appreciated for. They talk about what worked — and didn’t work — that day. Without judgment.

Each morning, they share their intentions for the day.

“It’s changed the energy in our relationship,” Julie says. “And it’s made us more resilient.”

“Each person has to take responsibility for their own actions,” Julie explains. “That’s how you move forward as a team.”

They moved forward in their Airstream, too. Julie has discovered “so much beauty in this country. It’s everywhere.

“I saw birds learning to fly over the ocean. They danced in the sky. I saw goats grazing in the grass.” Slowing down just for 5 minutes to appreciate those scenes is therapeutic.”

Julie has learned too to “feel at home no matter where I am. Home is not a location. It’s a state of being.”

RV owners are friendly and helpful. She started a Facebook group for that community. Some people, she says, have been encouraged to replicate what Julie and Chris are doing.

Chris gets a helping hand from a fellow RV owner.

“Especially in today’s environment, when we can feel we don’t have control over anything, it’s a privilege to provide that inspiration.”

Soon, the couple will gas up the Gulfstream, and head south again. The first destination is Key West.

After that: Who knows?

But Julie and Chris embrace not knowing.

And — thanks to the work they’ve done on their relationship, in the confines of their small RV — they embrace each other more tightly than ever.

9 responses to “On The Road, A Relationship Grows

  1. Lovely if ya’ don’t need a job and know there’ll be money waiting at every third or fifth PO General Delivery.

    • As DW informed us nine months ago, they are working:
      “The seeds for their decision took root in the pandemic. Julie is a life coach. Chris is a property technology executive.
      “As they realized the ease of working remotely, they reassessed their values.”

  2. Dan K., It’s probably not as expensive as one would think. They aren’t exactly staying at a Marriott every night. It’s not my style- too boring for my likes. I’ve done the drive from Connecticut to southern Florida many times, and I didn’t find it exciting.

  3. Cristina Negrin

    Anyone else thinking about Gabby Petito?

  4. Now that you mentioned it, Brian and Chris have a slight resemblance. It’s the facial structure.

  5. Better time your trip from Miami to Key West. Sometimes it can take 7 hours or more to get to Key West from Miami. There’s only one lane for some of the trip! By the way, a little trivia here. Key West is 8 miles west of Cleveland, Ohio.