American Odyssey

A film about age, adventure and the open road
Year Released
Film Length(s)
34 mins
Remote video URL


As Americans, there's little we cherish more than our freedom. Our mobility is our lifeblood. We take to the road like babies to the bottle. What better example of this trait than the Wally Byam Caravan Club, a tight-knit band of older Americans who pack up their Airstream trailers and retire on the road.

Featured review

Viewers (who may be inspired to get on the road themselves) will surely enjoy this casual glimpse of Americana.
Ellen Mandel


American Odyssey travels from Ohio to a jamboree in Massachusetts, where over 2,500 trailers shine in precisely parked rows. Along the way, Airstream owners reveal their devotion to the enduring aluminum pod, the mobile community and lifestyle that keeps them active and engaged, some well into their nineties. Archival footage looks back at caravan pioneer Wally Byam as he leads an expedition of Airstreams around the pyramids of Egypt, across the African desert and down jungle roads deep in mud.

American Odyssey vividly captures not only an authentic -and vanishing - American Cultural experience, but also how the freedom of age can bring new and wondrous adventure.


In interviews with owners, mostly retired couples, we learn why they gave up fixed homes for life on the open road. Airstream owners describe their travels throughout North America, as well as the camaraderie and sense of community that develops as caravaners share common joys and difficulties. A fascinating... look into a slice of Americana. Recommended.
Jay Schwartz
Library Journal
Excellent for use in college and university classes on aging and American Culture... timely, well constructed and unique in its study of American nomads.
David and Dorothy Counts
Anthropologists and Authors, "Over the Next Hill: An Ethnography of RVing Seniors in North America"
A fine example of creativity in retirement.
Kathyrn L. Braun
Professor and Director, Center on Aging, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii
Delightful... Age as adventure... A perfect compliment.
Shirley Palmer
Professor of Sociology, Ohio State University

Awards and Screenings

Festival Internacional de Cinema, Portugal
Northampton Film and Video Festival
Cucalorus Film Festival
American Society on Aging
American Sociological Association
American Anthropological Association
Popular Culture Association
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