"To open a whole world of new experiences… a new dimension in enjoyment where travel adventure and good fellowship are your constant companions. To strive endlessly to stir the venturesome spirit that moves you to follow a rainbow to its end… and thus make your travel dreams come true." Wally Byam, creator of the Airstream Travel Trailer
The above statement is an excerpt from what is known as " The Creed". It is a moving manifesto that has inspired the Airstream company and Airstream owners to keep moving forward to see the best the world can offer and having this experience in the most iconic of all travel trailers. This concept of adventure is beautifully explored in "Alumination", the newly released, full-length documentary by filmmaker Eric Bricker. The film is narrated by Kate Pierson (of the B-52s).
Nearly 90 years ago Wally Byam began his quest to produce a travel trailer possessing the finest engineering and design in order to facilitate his vision for travel and adventure. The film captures Wally’s vision and the innovative, adventurous spirit that has carried the iconic American brand and its community of passionate road warriors through a century of exploration. From never-before-seen archival footage to interviews with today’s fervent fans, "Alumination" is a deep dive into American innovation and the joy of travel.
I found the film a very moving experience to watch. I had seen the photos many times before of Airstreams camping at the base of the pyramids of Giza and caravans fighting their way across the desert, but in the context of the film and with actual movie footage of these heroic trips across so many parts of the world, it was truly inspiring. The next time I am lamenting that my wi-fi is weak in some 5 star RV park, I will have to remind myself of the early Airstream pioneers who made it through unbelievable obstacles to make it to a destination so far off the beaten path that no one had ever been there before. It was accomplished with camaraderie, teamwork and an ability to see every setback as a new challenge. And they still made time to sit back, be social and value each other's company. Bricker created this film with a combination of historic footage, interviews, and commentary from current Airstream owners and restorers and it is all woven together with the effect of watching an old 8 millimeter home movie. I was thrilled to see people I know from the Airstream community that made guest appearances. The amazing thing is that no matter what your background is, this Airstream travel trailer binds us all together and the film captures this phenomenon wonderfully.
You can watch Alumination online in advance of its official debut. The link below will take you to the Airstream Inc. site where you can pay to download the film. Interestingly, the film was not financed in any way by the Airstream Company or the Airstream Owners club, the WBCCI. It was created with independent funding. The film was slated for an April 2020 premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival but the event was rescheduled due to COVID-19 precautions. The world premiere is now slated for April 2021 at Newport.
My final reflection would be that although this is a must-see for Airstreamers, it is certainly a most interesting film for all RVer's and anyone of the adventuresome ilk that has a heart for travel and an interest in the history of some of the greatest trailer adventures ever taken.
The feature photo is of Helen Byam Schwamborn, Wally Byam's cousin who was in charge of founding the popular Wally Byam Caravan Club International
(WBCCI) in 1955. This successful owners club continues to this day and continues to grow, host rallies and organize caravans to all parts of the world. Ontario has one of the largest chapters of Airstream
owners in the world. See the Ontario Unit's website here: WBCCI Ontario Unit