25 Jan #HofArcDreamers: The Airstream Hunter
The Most Interesting “Airstream Hunter” in the World
Just as #HofArcDreamers are inspired to live authentic lives that are full of adventure and freedom, they are driven to create idiosyncratic business models that thrive in the vastly interconnected world of social media and ecommerce.
Meet Ward Chandler, also known as the “Airstream Hunter.” His online marketplace for purchasing and selling vintage Airstreams is paving the way for people who are enthusiastic about building the mobile life of their dreams.
HofArc: What drew you to Airstreams and the small space lifestyle?
Ward: I have always been infatuated with Airstreams but I grew up in Canada and we didn’t see them often. The first thing that I did when I moved to the States in 2008 was buy an Airstream 25FB Ocean Breeze Edition and I’ve been living the dream ever since. Before that, I was working in tech for an Internet company while living in a fairly remote corner of the world. Business for me has always been “location agnostic” — if I have an internet connection and a mobile platform, I have all I need to run a digital service. Airstreams can be custom tailored to make this lifestyle both accessible and affordable.
HofArc: So, Ward, how did you become the “Airstream Hunter?”
W: Good question [laughs]. Through my travels and experiences on the road, I’ve become immersed in the mobile lifestyle community and the global network of Airstream lovers. Initially, I started @Airstreamin, a Facebook page dedicated to celebrating freedom, life, and nature through the medium of mobile living. As the page grew, I developed a reputation for being knowledgeable about Airstreams and began informally helping people locate good deals on vessels around the country.
As someone who is familiar with the process of buying and selling vintage vessels, I was frustrated with the available online resources, so I called Wally [Hofmann] and he encouraged me to start helping buyers and sellers find their Airstreams. I created a public group on Facebook called @AirstreamHunter. Within three days of launching the page, it gained 500 members. Today, we have more than 4500 members and over 100 listings. Looks like I was not alone!
HofArc: What is your overarching business philosophy?
W: First and foremost, I aim to set up an honest and transparent platform. People on Airstream Hunter can interact with real people and have open discussions. Pricing can be all over the map with vintage Airstreams and that can be confusing. Our goal is to establish a reasonable pricing system and a trustworthy marketplace through honest, free flowing information. It’s a public group but I carefully screen for spam and false advertising to keep the marketplace safe and reliable.
HofArc: So where is your office/home located these days?
W: I’ve been living and working 100% full time in my vessel since September of last year. I stay fairly close to Scottsdale, AZ in the winter months and then spend my summers travelling around North America — exploring remote wilderness, meeting new people, and hunting down Airstreams.
Ward Chandler is one of the foremost experts on the history of the Tiny Home movement from private rail cars going back almost 200 years, to the revival of vintage Airstreams. He is an excellent resource to talk to for anyone interested in mobile living or for locating the Airstream of their dreams.
Check out @Airstreamin for more photos like the ones above and join the hunt on Facebook at @AirstreamHunter. Also, be sure to stay tuned for more features of #HofArcDreamers.