A year and a half ago, Lindsey and Adam Nubern rationed their earthly belongings to friends and storage facilities and set out on an adventure that would take them around the world.
They first traveled the U.S., living out of their 2008 silver Honda Accord and a tent. They went backpacking in Hawaii and lived five months in a camper van in New Zealand. It was there that they realized they liked being outside in the elements and, despite their middle-class upbringing, living small.
What if they could do it forever?
They were in Thailand, when Lindsey, 29, decided on a whim to email officials with HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters.” They’d never been on a television show before but figured they had as good a shot as any to make a good impression and, well, they did.
HGTV liked their application.
“We were so shocked and really excited,” Lindsey Nubern told me at her parents’ home in Suwanee the other day. “And nervous, of course.”
That was in October. In November, the couple returned home to Georgia to begin their search for the perfect tiny home. With the help of Lindsey’s real estate agent mother, they quickly narrowed the field to three: a 200-square-foot urban cottage with shingle siding and a loft, queen-size bed, reading nook, normal-size kitchen and bath, priced at $22,000; a 100-square-foot white Casita travel trailer with a full-size bed, two sitting areas, a little kitchen and a wet bath, with a price tag of $12,500; and a $27,000, 150-square-foot midcentury modern cabin with cedar siding, bathroom, sitting area, loft and kitchen.
By now, fans of “Tiny House Hunters” have probably met the Nuberns. After months of filming early this year, their episode aired April 18-19. If you missed it and want to see which tiny house the couple chose, tune in at 11 a.m. May 2.
It may be your last chance.
It’s easy to wake up and spend a day in your neighborhood or state and not notice the wonder of it all. Despite the daily curiosities both offer, most of us are so involved in our work-family relationships that make up our lives we rarely venture out to mine the magic.
That’s what I liked about the Nuberns’ story. Like so many other millennials I’ve met doing this job, they prefer to either ignore or rearrange the milestones that a generation ago marked our transition into adulthood.
These days, the whole idea of milestones — completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child — implies a lockstep march toward adulthood that’s become pretty rare. These days, our children are less inclined to just shuffle along in unison on the road to maturity. They’re choosing instead to march to the beat of their own drum and at their own pace.
“While we traveled, we met all these people from all over the world doing the same thing,” Lindsey said. “They call themselves digital nomads, so we had to give it a try. You just learn so much and you realize there are other ways of life. There’s not just one formula.”
After graduating in 2009 from the University of Georgia, Lindsey and Adam moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., to find jobs. They married three years later on Nov. 24, 2012.
Instead of settling down in the house with the white picket fence, an SUV and two kids, they decided to travel the world. To do that, they lived off one salary and saved the other.
Two years later, they had amassed $45,000, including a $15,000 emergency fund for when they returned home.
Across the miles, they discovered they could work remotely from the road, too: Lindsey as a travel writer and Adam as a certified public accountant. They didn’t need much space to be happy. They did, however, need to be mobile.
“We just would really like the freedom of location,” Lindsey said. “We’ve learned that when you travel slow, you have a much richer experience with the people and the culture and we see value in that.”
As I headed to the door, they told me they plan to strike out again in a few weeks, heading north to Asheville, N.C., and then, who knows?
You can follow the couple’s adventures at www.nuventuretravels.com.