Recent Happenings

You Are Stronger Than You Think

Living on a bus changes you. At first it breaks you down, wears you out, questions your sanity and your qualifications of a minimalist. But then slowly it starts to release a better version of yourself. You realize how awesome God made you, you have […]

Let’s Be the Good

Hey guys, its been a while.Β  For that I am sorry, but I have realized that my love and passion for writing is the first to go under due stress, and well, I think we all can agree that 2020 has been just a tad […]

Bus Life vs RV Life

I didn’t realize how different they were. Jaime says he thought I knew considering we talked about it till we were blue in the face. But a fun fact about me is that I have to experience something to truly understand it.

So what do I mean by they are different? They are both rolling homes that you take wherever your heart desires. They also both have issues from time to time. To sum it up, I think the best way to describe the difference is that when you live in a bus, you are constantly being judged. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. But it seems to be an everyday experience, judgment. And the judgment seems to be on the far end of the spectrum, not in the middle. People either get very excited, ask for a tour and don’t stop smiling the whole visit. Or the exact opposite, their facial expression turns a bit ugly, their voice cracks because they are uncomfortable and they want to escape the confrontation quickly.

So let me give some examples. When we pull up to a camping spot, whether that be in a campground or BLM land, heads will turn. Automatic, I can’t remember a time that did not happen. One time, Jaime had barely turned the engine off and a lady came up and was so excited and inspired and we talked for 20 minutes and had a great time! It was so fun and we were sad to hear her family was leaving that day and we could not spend more time together.

A few months down the road, we call a campground to see if they have availability and they say absolutely no need to reserve just show up. Perfect. We hit the road and upon arrival are confronted and told we are not allowed inside and they have a strict 10 year old rule (but let’s be honest, its the bus and we all know it). She relents and says we can sleep but need to be out before her boss arrives the next morning. Thanks, I’m sure I will get a great nights sleep now :/

The next week we show up to a casino that has good reviews on iOverlander and park, get set up and are looking to check in with security. Security ends up coming to us and with a put off demeanor requests proof of registration in order to stay. He accepts the documents and once our stay is up we try for a nearby campground looking forward to a long shower and easy dishes, only to abruptly be told on the phone “bus conversions are not allowed” and get hung up on. Oh well, longer drive to some BLM land and continue to save water as always!

Those are just a few examples of our personal experiences, but 9 months into bus life and I have determined that our experience on the road is different than if we were in a typical manufactured rig. We met some bus friends last fall and have stayed in touch since then. We recently heard they put the bus in storage and switched to a toy hauler, that way they can join thousand trails and be more involved with the full time community and other families. (Never heard of thousand trails? It is basically a membership to go to specific campgrounds and is very popular with fulltime families, aka LOTS of friends for your kids to play with and be around all the time. The problem? they are a very strict NO to bus conversions).

I could go on and on with other friends we have met and their experiences, but I think you get the point. Are we complaining about the judgment? No, we are simply saying that it exists and it does have an impact on our daily choices, where we go, how we get there, and where we avoid. Is it unfortunate? Absolutely. Especially considering the majority of buses we have met are better built than your typical manufactured rig. We simply wanted to put this out there for others who are considering bus life. I think it is important to put this out there. The bus community is the most amazing we have ever been a part of. It is a close knit group and when you see another bus in the wild it is almost an automatic friendship! Would we chose a bus again? Yes, we would. It has taught us so much and the experience of building your own home is irreplaceable!

But if you are considering bus life, you need to be aware that it can be a different experience than RV life. Not everyday will be different, but some days will. Just contnue on down the road with a smile on your face and enjoy the ever changing scenery πŸ™‚

Have any questions? Reach out! We are always here to chat πŸ™‚

I Am Not a Quitter Anymore (And Neither Are You)

When I was a senior in high school I quit soccer. It was quite the scandal at the time. Soccer had been my whole life since I was a very young girl. I had traveled all over the country playing and my world revolved around […]

Living A Life More in Tune with Nature

We are currently changing from fall to winter and it is our first cold season in the bus. I have never been a fan of cold weather, I am a true southerner in that respect. Until I had babies, I was always beyond freezing and […]

I Don’t Love Tiny Living, But the Freedom is Worth It

Let me first start by saying, tiny living is not bad! Really, it is so much easier than I was anticipating and I could definitely do this for years to come. It simply takes a thankful mindset, less stuff, and organization. Which, isn’t that a good way to live anyways?! But also, there are daily inconveniences that can be hard to swallow some days, when I am just not in a good mood and am being lazy, really. But, at the end of the day, I would make the decision to live tiny time and time again.

There are many reasons why the inconveniences of tiny living are worth it. Here are a few of them:

First, we are debt free. We do not owe anyone and live within our means. We do utilize a credit card for points to help with international travel, but we pay it off in full every month. Don’t be fooled though, we still spend a ton of money. Cost of living is sky high, simply what we spend on food makes me a bit sick. But the money spent is on necessities (food, propane, diapers, diesel, clothes here and there.) We do not waste as much money on Amazon anymore because before we buy something, we have to plan out where it will be stored. No space means no money spent!

Secondly, we have so much family time now. Before, Jaime would wake up early to try to beat traffic, still sit in traffic for at least 1 hour (both ways) and then try to leave the office at a reasonable time, and still only get to see the kids for maybe 30 minutes to 1 hour. Just thinking back to that makes me frustrated. That is no way to live and is detrimental to the family unit. Seriously, it is. Now, Jaime has no commute, we all wake up when we want to (well, really when the baby wakes us up which is now about 7:45 everyday, YAY) and have breakfast together, lunch together and dinner together. Everyone’s quality of life is better and Jaime actually gets to be a part of raising his kids and have a deeper relationship with them.

Lastly, let’s talk about travel. Which is a bit ridiculous and amazing. There are so many things I could bring up in this part, but I will focus on opportunities and growth. Jaime and I have always loved to adventure. Jaime requires frequent adventuring and we have attempted to prioritize travel in the past, but alas, life always got in the way. Big deadline so no PTO allowed, had to repair the retaining wall so no money, or simply too tired with our over scheduled lives to plan anything! We only could ever manage 1, maybe 2 trips a year and we were always frustrated about it. Now, we simply wake up one day and say “hey, I want to go here” and then we plan a time and route and GO. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Also, that means there is no pressure on trips. You know how you want everything to be perfect, kids happy, no meltdown, delicious food, smooth bedtimes etc when on vacation? And then you get so upset when things don’t go as planned? Yeah, it sucks. But now, there is no pressure. We simply extend our stay or know that we can easily go back in the future.

But travel is so much more than fun adventuring. It is constant growth, because you are almost always out of your comfort zone. You are always meeting new people and seeing that the world is so much bigger than your little bubble. Traveling is fun learning, that you actually enjoy and remember, not because you were threatened with bad grades and forced to read it in a book, but because you were standing on the battlefield and saw the weapons they actually used. I could go on and on, and yes we love to adventure, but we love the opportunities and growth from travel even more.

So yes, living tiny can be hard some days. But our life now feels more natural than it did before in our sticks and bricks. We are not burdened down by a big house to clean, furnish and heat. We are not separated everyday by Jaime dealing with the rat race & commute, instead we have quality family time. At some point, you have to make a decision about what is most important to you. No life is perfect, every priority requires sacrifices somewhere. To us, right now, the sacrifice of living tiny is worth the quality family time and memories of new places, experiences, and learning together. To put it simply, we have reduced our overhead and have more breathing room. And it is such a breath of fresh air.

Our First Month of Nomadism

Well, we did it! We survived a whole month of life on the road. And I think survived might be the best way to describe it (kidding, it was awesome πŸ™‚ ). Jaime and I both agree it was an amazing month, but also exhausting […]

Absorbing Growth & Change

I (Jessica) am a processor. I have to sit back and embrace periods of growth. It takes time for me to wrap my head around it all and understand what is happening or just transpired. And if I am hearing God speaking extra loudly in […]

Why We Chose a City Bus Instead of a School Bus

Want to take a guess at my first concern once we decided to pursue bus life? Not the typical, what about your job? What will people think? How is that possible with kids? Nope, that stuff I was not too worried about. My first concern was: We are tall and need head room!! This is what first brought us to the not as popular decision to go with a city bus.

Now, I know a ton of people these days decide to do a roof raise on a school bus so they can have more head room. But we knew this would not work for us. We were realistic in the sense that we knew a bus conversion was going to be epically challenging for us, so adding in a super complicated task of raising the roof on a school bus was never an option for us.

Next, this lead us to researching school buses with the tallest roof possible. This took us toΒ  the Thomas HDXΒ  or Saf-T-Liner. Jaime found one nearby so we went to see it, and I was not ok with the amount of head room. Especially after adding in the space for future flooring and ceiling. It might have worked if we were going to be weekenders, but definitely not for full time.

So, at this point. It was either figure out how the heck to survive a roof raise, or go with a city bus. So then we thought about other items that were important to us and if a city bus would give us those or not. The next biggest thing on my want list was big windows. If we are planning on visiting all these beautiful places, you better believe I need to be able to lay in my bed and see the beauty. City buses definitely deliever with the windows! I mean, have you seen our bus? πŸ™‚ Next up? Width. The one thing that I love about manufactured rigs are slides. The extra space they provide is drool worthy and it was hard to give up slides by going with a conversion. Well, city buses are wider than school buses. Our bus is a whopping 8.5 ft wide. Say WHAT?! Yeah, so that’s nice.

So now for some negatives. We see 2 significant downfalls of the city bus, and those are:

less clearance

&

overall size

A city bus does not sit as high up as a school bus. When traveling, especially out west, clearance on your vehicle can be a big deal. School buses sit so high up that they rarely, if ever, have to worry about bottoming out, but it is a concern for us.

Also, we are big, y’all. When we went on our first trip, I overheard someone walking by say “Do you see how big that thing is? Wow” ha! We are basically the same size of a 40ft Class A, but I think Gillie appears bigger. We are wider than a Class A, and a little lower to the ground, and both of these factors have an impact on our traveling.

The reason we decided we were ok with these limitations? Jaime’s work and our awesome Suzuki Samurai. Going with 40 ft we cannot fit into the vast majority of National Parks. Major bummer! But you know what you do not get in National Parks? Quality cell/internet service. So unless Jaime takes PTO, we cannot stay in a National Park anyways. We are planning on tent camping a couple times a year in National Parks and he can enjoy some PTO. The vast majority of the time we will simply find an RV park just outside the National Park and drive in in our Samurai.

So to sum it up, the reason we decided to accept lower clearance and being a big rig, is we knew Jaime would still have a full time job, and the need for quality internet and cell service restricts us out of where we would need more clearance and to be smaller anyways! Plus, we have a super fun tow vehicle that will provide some fun off roading πŸ™‚

 

Full disclosure: Some days we hate how big we are! (And by we, I mean mostly me (Jessica) But being full time, and newbies, when we bought our bus, we thought we “had to have” 40 ft. Now living in this not so tiny space we know we could have gone smaller, but we are very happy with where we are now!

 

Are you looking to buy a bus or camper? What are your must haves? If you have any questions or want some help, let us know! Seriously, Jaime misses looking at buses for sale. We helped some friends buy a bus last year and he loved being back in that research πŸ™‚

 

How to Stay Sane Living Tiny with 6

We have 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 baby and 2 boxers living in our converted city bus. So, as you can imagine, it turns into a hot mess in about 3 seconds, several times a day! There are a few things I have learned that […]