Today I shared a photo of the bus with my favorite babywearing group, Babywearing 102, and the responses were so fantastic! My favorites were the mommas’ requests for me to adopt them and the marriage proposal. Obvs. More than anything I was asked a gazillion fabulous questions and I really want to try to answer all of them!
We have been living in the same house for 13 years and 2 months and it is a lovely house: a Victorian beauty with well over 2,000 square feet, 2 attics, a basement, a carriage house, a wrap around porch, a big fenced in back yard with a huge playground and garden all just 3 doors down from Uptown and the historic district. When we bought this house I knew it was a starter house and we would trade up to a big Main Street mansion or a hobby farm with a huge old farmhouse when we started having babies. Then slowly, as we started having those babies, we realized what our real priorities were. We eventually stopped using half of our house and started giving away so very many possessions. We began to really feel owned by our belongings. Minimalism spoke to us. Pretty much every major religion and an overwhelming number of philosophers have told us if we want to find happiness, peace, fulfillment, oneness with god, etc. we should live simply. Jesus told us to sell everything we have and give the money to the poor. I think he has the right idea. The more we purge the better we feel!
As we were realizing our minimalist leanings we became even more intrigued with the tiny house movement. Of course we had heard about it for ages because we had already been reading things like Mother Earth News for ever but by this point we were taking about building a fabulous little cob house in a clearing in the woods and making a go of organic heirloom farming for self sufficiency and profit. (Don’t worry, none of that dream has been forgotten.)
Then again our thoughts shifted-how could we travel with our children when we would be tied to a farm? How could we build an old fashioned hand built cob house with all of our babies and almost no one to help? Living on the road full time and roadschooling seemed the clear answer!
We strive to live as organically as possible eschewing gmo foods, voc laden paints, carpets, etc. and walking as lightly on the earth as possible by upcycling and repurposing where ever we can. Not only did an old school bus fit that bill but it is built of safe and sturdy steel (RVs are wood and fiberglass generally) and we get to build it to our exact specifications!
I shopped for years. Literally. I stalked eBay and Craigslist and auction sites like it was my job. I was beginning to feel so smothered by our house and our suburban lives. Finally one day it occurred to me that I should call all of the local school districts and see if they were selling any. It obviously wouldn’t be my vintage Flxible dream bus but it would be a bus and we could get started. After a bajillion calls a man called me back from a district that had turned me away and told me he wasn’t sure why he had told me no because he was buying new busses and actually had a few he was trading in and he offered the best one to me for the price he was getting for trade in-it was literally the scrap price! He even washed it and backed it right to my driveway!
My husband, Matthew, got right to work gutting out the seats. Next I laid a solid tongue and groove red oak hardwood floor that was sold as scrap and finished it with an all natural zero voc wood wax, Rubio Monocoat . We then bought some clearance beadboard for the walls and I painted it with a non voc paint.
Our most exciting bus accomplishment so far has been the installation of our Hobbit wood stove from Salamander Stoves in England with our hearth of tin ceiling tiles made domestically by AmericanTinCeilings.com.
I managed to salvage 5 steel food safe drums from a local dairy for $1 each and we hope to use these for our water tanks as soon as the weather allows us to begin that job. We will be installing a composting toilet and we hope to recycle our grey water to maximize our independence and sustainability. We currently use a Purification System with 4 Black Elements“and we will bring that onto the bus and add Fluoride and Arsenic filters to make up for our current whole house filter. We have been on the fence about whether or not we want a hot water heater but after the horrific winter we have been facing we are leaning toward one. This will of course be a simple on demand unit that will be powered by the solar panels we will install on the roof and will warm the water for the shower and the kitchen sink. Currently the kitchen consists of two fab old pieces of furniture that belonged to my great grandmother though we are toying with the idea of a kitchen from Ikea. The back of the bus will provide storage and additional seating and sleeping areas. My intent is to keep the floor plan as open as possible, to avoid covering any windows, and to minimize the amount of overhead space occupied. We are minimizing, after all.
As far as our income on the road that is still very much a question to which we are both actively seeking answers. I am an Independent Distributor of Young Living Essential Oils and I sell my handmade organic and fair trade body care line and I am working hard in the hope that these things will keep us financially comfortable.
Now we live in way less than half of the house and most rooms we use are practically empty and it feels so good and it is so encouraging. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t feel like I could just pack up the bus and walk away from the rest and that is the most freeing feeling imaginable!
I hope this answers most of the questions I was asked but if you have just let me know in the comments. I am so excited to share our dreams and our adventures with the world and I hope you will stick with us and share your dreams and adventures with us too! Perhaps we will even meet face to face some day soon out there!
Love and Joy to You All,