Jordan Menzel had separated from his wife two years ago when he sold his Salt Lake City house for $350,000 and needed a place to live. “I didn’t want to buy a home again, and I didn’t want to spend obscene amounts on rent, either,” he says. Biking through town one day, he saw a 1976 silver Airstream for sale on the side of the road. Menzel had never owned an RV nor been inside an Airstream before, but with “dangerously little foresight,” he says, he bought the trailer for $4,000.
As reported by Bloomberg, Menzel, 31, spent three months tearing out the 40-year-old shag carpet and junking outdated appliances. Then he parked it in a friend’s 40-acre field. He’s still there—well, technically he’s moved to a nearby yard — and when he’s not, he rents his Airstream out on Airbnb for $100 a night. Menzel, who works in software marketing, estimates he’s already saved about $40,000 in rent. “At first people thought, ‘Oh, Jordan’s going through a midlife crisis,’” he says. “But it’s not a trend for me.”
That’s not to say Airstreams haven’t become trendy. In recent years, hotels, offices, and restaurants have cropped up in stationary Airstreams on both coasts. Five have become a motel in Santa Barbara, Calif. Another five sell ice cream and juice in Seaside, Fla. A concert venue in Austin uses one for its green room. The B-52s singer Kate Pierson — the redhead — has a handful of rentable Airstreams outside Joshua Tree National Park. And Zappos.com Chief Executive Officer Tony Hsieh has been living in one for nine months. He recently bought 20 more to create his own Airstream trailer park for the aspiring tech bros he’s importing to redevelop downtown Las Vegas. “It’s by far my favorite place to live,” Hsieh says. “It has more amenities than the average hotel room.”
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