Look around. Listen.
It’s in trees. It’s in architecture. It’s in singing birds and colorful overpass murals. It’s in laughter and music. It’s in a helping hand and in random acts of kindness. It’s in the sweet air we breath, and the sound of crashing waves.
It’s beauty. And it can be found everywhere.
Often, beauty can be found in nature for all of us to experience and enjoy. But, sometimes, it takes root through the efforts of everyday people–from creating a sweet melody or a work of art to helping to clean a once-pristine park or in the preparation a warm meal for folks in need.
Airstream, the beloved and handcrafted travel trailer, is a quintessential example of American industrial art, and a gleaming object of sheer beauty. This head-turning ‘silver bullet’ has for generations epitomized the romance of the open road. And Airstreamers have been gifted with a unique freedom and perspective and the “great wide world at their doorstep.” Theirs is a tribe of passionate purveyors, creators, and admirers of a nostalgic icon: shiny travel capsules so lasting that often they are passed down to future generations, much like a family heirloom.
Inspired by the first-ever Airstreamer, the company’s founder and globetrotter, Wally Byam discovered beauty in travel, derived from priceless interactions he and his fellow Airstreamers enjoyed with cultures the world over. Starting Airstream in 1931, he claimed to discover beauty “along twinkling boulevards and trackless deserts…to the traveled and untraveled corners of the earth.” In the mid-twentieth century, Byam, sometimes referred to as Oregon’s Marco Polo of trailer travel, famously led adventurous caravans of these stunning aluminum trailers as publicity campaigns for his Airstream brand. His most notable sojourn was one that he organized in 1959 with 106 American men, women and children caravaners. Together they made a seven-month trek from Cape Town, South Africa, to Cairo, Egypt. In the course of this amazing journey, he and his fellow Airstreamers made new friends of African tribes as well as then-Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassi, among many other encounters. The magnitude of the undertaking, not limited to their Nubian Desert crossing and other logistical challenges from one end of Africa to the other, was astounding even by 2016 standards. But the rewards were also nothing less than extraordinary. Later, Byam would go on to conduct similar treks through Central America, Europe and the Yucatan Peninsula.
To honor the spirit and passion Airstreamers have for experiential travel, the Ohio-based manufacturer has created a new “Leave it Beautiful” initiative. Its aim is to support Airstreamers’ beautification projects, goals and dreams that can be shared on the company’s dedicated platform where they can post and share their on-the-road efforts and projects at LeaveItBeautiful.com. Some examples might include chronicling a trip to national parks with photo journals; the beautifying of our nation’s highways and byways by disposing unsightly trash and planting trees; or finding other worthwhile volunteer opportunities throughout our 50 states. At a time when we as a nation likely need it most, the “Leave It Beautiful” campaign encourages us to create more beauty wherever our travels take us. And now with the début of the initiative we can share our adventures with a community of Airstreamers and passionate travelers everywhere. Qualifying applications for support will be acknowledged with collectible “Leave It Beautiful” swag.
In Byam’s own words: “To strive endlessly to stir a venturesome spirit…,” the new “Leave it Beautiful” initiative is a nod to this pioneer’s grand sense of adventure and all that he created. It inspires the intrepid to take to the road and explore whatever awaits them over miles of untrammeled landscape, keeping it beautiful for others who follow in their footsteps.
Please join us as we celebrate and create beauty, and continue the promise of a legacy that began more than 85 years ago.