Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey enjoys relaxing in the same way we do—in a recreational vehicle.
McConaughey has enjoyed a stellar year with three screen stealing roles: a comical turn as sleazy trader Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street; his AIDS-gaunt and critically acclaimed rodeo cowboy in Dallas Buyers Club, and a continuing friendship with Woody Harrelson, a team on the hunt for a serial killer in HBO’s True Detective.
But the Texan actor has not let Hollywood go to his head.
Like many of us, McConaughey enjoys spending time seeing the open road through the windshield of an RV—for McConaughey, it’s an Airstream.
A road warrior, McConaughey is the proud owner of several Airstream trailers, which he enjoys customizing to his own specifications.
The Oscar winning actor bought his first Airstream in 2004. He’d been traveling around the previous three years in a GMC Savana van he called Cosmo, sleeping in the back. He could afford the upgrade.
Wally Byam, the creator of the Airstream, has long been one of McConaughey’s heroes.
McConaughey worked and lived in his tricked-out International CCD 28 Airstream trailer, nicknamed the Canoe, which he kept on a Malibu lot near prime surfing terrain.
Those 28 feet include a living area with a banquette and a dining table/desk, a streamlined kitchen, a toilet and shower, and a snug bedroom that the actor refers to as the Honeycomb on account of its rounded ceiling and golden hues.
“I named the Airstream the Canoe. I mean, the highways are like river ways, they’re just concrete,” he explained.
Over the years he’s personalized the Canoe with a satellite dish on the roof; a barbecue in back; book racks and ceiling netting to hold travel literature, journals, and scripts; and a custom banquette and table to accommodate his six-foot frame.
One of the things he really likes of his place is “It’s two seconds from making your bed to putting your coffee on the stove.”
“It’s got a great window right above your pillow, so when you wake up in the morning, you’re looking right at the ocean or wherever your backyard is that day,” he says.
The Airstream became multi-functional for McConaughey. For two years he managed his production company, j.k. livin, from it. He also took it out on the road for a month, when promoting his film Sahara in 2005.
It’s not a coincidence that McConaughey’s Airstream period runs concurrent with his coming into his own professionally. He’s eased into a life of starring in romantic comedies that women love—films such as The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
Best of all, they fund a vagabond lifestyle. After McConaughey bought the Airstream, he took it to a trailer park near Golden, Colorado. He drove from there to the Squamish Indian Reservation, near Vancouver, where he filmed Two for the Money.
Soon after, he moved the Airstream into a trailer park near downtown Austin.
McConaughey has simple plans for his retirement that involve his passion for Airstreams: “One day I’ll have either an Airstream hotel or an Airstream compound. I don’t know where it’ll be yet, but the thing about Airstreams is you feel a little bad for ’em if you got ’em parked too long and the axles aren’t spinning, you know, because they’re built for the road.”
McConaughey explained the many reasons behind his love for the Airstreams: “I’ve always loved driving. Driving is, number one, where I get some time with myself. Number two, it’s the main place I catch up on music. And number three, it’s the best way to see the country.”
I think we can all relate to these reasons.
I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band, I saw a needle that winked its eye. But I think I will have seen everything When I see an Airstream fly.
—music and lyrics by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington, in Dumbo