Some say, when you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open.
As experts in our fields of carpentry, overall construction, and electrical work, we love the idea of coming to everything we do with a fresh mind and open heart — you may say it’s the state many inspired artists inhabit.
With this notion, we created the organization Beginner’s Mind, which gives us the opportunity to teach, train and raise up beginners, as we explore a variety of interests ourselves. All the while we seek the beautiful balance between passing down our artisan skills to curious newcomers and finding the unexpected magic for ourselves in the familiar.
One of our first projects is restoring and renovating vintage trailers. The trailers provide a perfect backdrop for experienced craftsman to teach beginners in a hands-on, outdoor, experiential school, where skills honed over decades of devotion to the trades can be used in new and creative ways.
Aluminum Vintage Trailers
Little houses on wheels, built as the airline industry retooled for peace after World War II, these aluminum riveted oddities appeal to us as remodelers and renovators. They definitely aren’t making them like this anymore!
Currently in the Beginner’s Mind fleet is a 1956 Spartan Royal Manor, a 1953 Barth Airflow, and a 1947 Spartan Model 25.
There’s definitely a learning curve with reimagining these antique campers so they can hit the road again (or become tiny houses), and take on a whole new life, decades later.
A New Way of Life
As our interest in old travel trailers was sparked, we learned that we’re not alone in our attraction to restoring these beautiful old gems, and in the spirit of exploration that magnetizes so many people to want to learn how to restore and maintain them. We found that young people, old people, and everyone in-between are getting into the travel trailer groove. Young people are living in them, families are giving up the 9—5 in droves, and retirees have entire mobile communities that cross the country throughout the year.
Many of us seem to be seeking an alternative to the modern lifestyle — seeking more freedom, more time with the people we love, and more mobility (and all of the creativity, problem solving and new friendships that go with them).
Camper Camp was born out of a desire to share our interest and help people gain the skills needed to take to the open road confidentially and safely in their “new to them” trailers.
We’ve now run three sessions of camper camp and helped people with all sorts of campers to learn what to look for when shopping for a used camper, what the systems are within a camper, and how to repair many common interior and exterior issues that pop up along the way (as well as how to prevent issues with proper maintenance).
We’ve also given a few camper driving lessons here and there, as they can feel unruly to drive to the uninitiated.
Also of possible interest in the “all things campers world,” one of the campers is actually a houseboat (to the right), and at the 2022 Spartan Annual Rally, we won the “Shiniest Trailer” (see the photo at the bottom of the page for the winning camper).
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
~ Meister Eckhart