Mobile Marvels

One thing I have learned this summer is that the word “trailer” must be used with caution. Add the word “park” onto the end and it is a sure conversation killer. But being a college student who has lived in a trailer in Auburn, Alabama, for the past four years, I am proud of my humble abode. Rather than spending $30,000- $40,000 in rent over the course of my college career, my mom and I made the wise decision to invest in a mobile home ”” not only providing me with ample living space but also a home improvement project that would keep the two of us busy in our spare time. We replaced all the flooring, painted over the feathery green walls, added light fixtures and turned something that usually conjures up images of missing teeth and broken-down cars into a respectable, convenient home for me and my cats. We added simple but luscious landscaping around the spacious front deck and decorated the inside with a mix of antique pieces we brought back to life, plus newer items I have collected since moving in.

Granted, the Auburn community does cater to students who live in mobile homes, with most parks being student-only and offering the same amenities, if not more, than the luxury condos that cost five times the price.

Still, I find that bringing my trailer up leads to endless explanations that are never fully understood and mental images that are inaccurate to where I actually live. I have realized, though, that incessant jokes and light-hearted mockery just come with living in what I affectionately call “the Park.”

And upon my graduation in December, I will definitely be sad to close the door of the trailer I put so much hard work into for the last time.

Perhaps in the future, though, I can get back in touch with my trailer park side by investing in a traveling trailer, like what local designer Joe Remling and his wife, Jennifer, did in 2007. They traveled the country in an Airstream trailer, interviewing people for their acclaimed book Carve Your Own Road (Career Press Inc., $15), which offers dozens of stories from inspiring entrepreneurs and individuals who made the decision to quit their jobs and pursue their passions.

For now, though, these photos will just have to feed my inspiration:

Via a before & after feature on design*sponge, this 1963 Airstream trailer was completely remodeled and turned into a charming studio space for one.

Enjoy Cupcakes, a California bakery, renovated this vintage trailer into a quirky cupcake catering trailer.

The Merhrzeller, a concept caravan from Austria, allows complete customization of its interior and exterior, resulting in a completely unique design every time.

While they may be impractical for extensive traveling, I have fallen in love with these gypsy wagons that are featured on apartment therapy.