Answering The Call to Live Differently | WHY Live In A School Bus?
It’s a bold move to decide you are going to live differently than most. Since we started our skoolie conversion, the question comes up often, “Why live in a school bus?”
Throughout this article, we are going to share some of the things that attracted us to alternative living so you can make an educated decision for yourself if you are thinking of doing a bus conversion or building a tiny home on wheels.
If you are BEing called to live differently, keep reading.
Not a reader? Watch this on the BEAP YouTube Channel!
The appeal of living differently.
After spending several years owning houses (before we were together), we were both ready to test alternative ways of living. For over two years, we lived in 19 different countries together. Looking back on this experience, Brian + I both realize this was a massive research project that helped us learn what we prefer when it comes to where we live.
(Above pic is Brian’s house, which he sold)
During our time as homeowners, we both experienced a lot of debt, which led to a lot of stress. By the time we met, we were both tired of debt and wanted to live more simply. Within a blink of an eye, we had both sold most of our belongings and our houses.
(Above pic is Erin’s house, which she sold)
The minimalistic lifestyle was calling us, and boy did we dive into it. Next thing you know we were traveling full-time, and living out of carry-on backpacks. Bouncing around from one Airbnb to the next taught us what we both want & need in a space, and what we really don’t like. It also taught us that we could survive and be happy with less.
There are so many alternative lifestyles.
While living in other countries was, for the most part, fantastic, the accommodations weren’t always great. This experience led us to seek a lifestyle where we could continue traveling WITH our home.
Obsessive research began. We were already really hooked on tiny homes, and the more videos we watched, the more we ran into van lifers. For several months we researched the idea of living in a van. Taking notes, jotting down specs, and copying links onto our “Van Life” Trello Board (we couldn’t get enough).
The idea of living in a van soon dissipated when we lived in Santa Marta, Colombia, for a few weeks. Our Airbnb was adorable, but the kitchen was SO small.
Imagine using the sink, then turning around to toss some veggies in a pan, but not being able to because you are stuck behind the fridge door. (See how tiny the kitchen was in this video, and have a laugh on us.) Cooking is a dance, and we could never let our kitchen flow be interrupted by a fridge door. So we said buh-bye to the van conversion idea.
Living differently from 90% of the population doesn’t stop at van life, though! People are building tiny homes, earth homes, cob homes, and off-grid homes. They are converting boats, train cars, shipping containers, crashed airplanes and old school buses.
We were blown away by people’s creativity and loved the idea of taking something old & making it new.
Could it really be more economical to live differently?
We suggest you take some time to do your own research. You could go stay in interesting Airbnb’s to see what you like and dislike about different living spaces. But if you want to save your money to invest in your future home, YouTube has endless stories that prove the financial benefit. Plus, you may already have had many different living experiences and already acquired your own likes & dislikes. YouTube will give you a copious amount of ideas to help you get the ball rolling.
Story after story, people of all ages, backgrounds, and circumstances, are sharing how tiny living has changed their lives and their finances. Many have even become debt-free, which allows them to cut back on work hours, enjoy their loved ones, and spend more time in nature.
Every video we watched, it seemed like people were thriving instead of just surviving. We wanted THAT! Who wouldn’t want that?!?
What if you could own your home sooner?
Owning our home became REALLY appealing to us. Especially after having mortgages & splashing around in the pool of debt. There had to be a quicker, more financially beneficial way to be a homeowner.
When we decided that bus life was for us, we saved up enough cash to buy the bus flat out. Everything we put into it after that is ours. After owning houses in big cities, it was a relief to both of us to know that we straight up own our tiny home on wheels. That seems to be the common thread with all people choosing to live alternatively. Not to mention many other benefits, making the minimalist lifestyle a no brainer.
Why live in a school bus?
For us, wheels mean freedom & flexibility to be where we want when we want. At this moment, we still want to explore and aren’t entirely done with our research project. You see, at some point, Brian + I would like to have a homestead where we grow our food, produce our own energy, and live completely self-sufficient.
The bus will allow us to explore, learn about growing food in different climates, and find our future property. Our favourite part is the fact that we could buy a patch of land, and live in the bus while we plant our food forest. Then we can build a tiny home if we ever get sick of living on the bus.
Plus, the bus is a perfect bug out vehicle if the shit goes down. See what we mean by freedom & flexibility? It may be kind of big for extreme off-roading, but we could have the necessities we need onboard— definitely a bit of food for thought.
Other benefits of choosing to live in a skoolie.
Not too sure if you have ever seen an RV get into an accident, but Brian saw his fair share working in Austin Texas as a firefighter. When motorhomes get into a wreck, they look like a tornado hit them.
School buses, on the other hand, are strong. Even when they roll, they are left intact. Why? Because they are made to carry precious cargo (i.e. kiddos). I don’t know about you, but we would rather build our home on a sturdy foundation.
What is calling you to live differently?
You are reading this for a reason. Something has awakened this idea within you to explore alternative dwellings, or else you wouldn’t take the time to read this.
The potential savings that come from choosing to live a more minimalistic life opens up a lot of opportunities.
If you are seriously considering flipping the script and changing how you live, you will want to ask yourself these questions:
- Where do I want to live?
- What material will I use to build my home?
- How can I take something old & turn it into something new?
Based on those questions, are there other questions you could come up with that would help to make a positive decision? Write’em down and be truthful to yourself about the answers!
Location is one of the most significant benefits of alternative living.
My first dream home was an enormous house, overlooking the ocean, with its own private beach. If you skip the enormous part, you will discover many more opportunities, especially if you are like us. Ordinary people, earning a pretty average salary.
Depending on the type of dwelling you choose, your experience will be different. If you still want to travel, building a tiny home on wheels or a skoolie may be a solution. This way, you can take your home with you, and change up the scenery as often as you wish.
If you want to build a cob home or an Earthship, you could more likely afford that dream property with a sweet view because these homes often use less expensive, and even recycled materials to build them.
While building or converting an alternative space into a home still costs money, people are proving to create more affordable living situations, and in many cases leaving debt behind them.
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Think differently, live differently.
As I write this, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. While the world is in lockdown, people are being laid off into the unforeseeable future, grocery stores are having a hard time keeping up with the demand, and the media is pumping us full of fear.
The system is proving more every day that it is, in fact, broken. People are terrified they aren’t going to be able to pay their bills, or eat, while others are focusing on not being able to get their hair did or buy more stuff they don’t really need. Something isn’t right with this picture.
Others are seeing the smog clear over their cities, and noticing nature is starting to thrive again… This is humanity’s opportunity to make decisions that allow us to thrive again!
The thing we have noticed most about those who choose to live a simpler life is that their values are more about love, living smart, upcycling what’s old, and giving back to nature. This is far more appealing to us than the material focused lives we once lived. Attaining more & more stuff doesn’t lead to happiness. Brian + I know this first hand. To get all that stuff, we humans work around the clock and end up sacrificing our quality of life.
To experience a higher quality of life, our thinking must change. The way we live must change.
Live differently without regrets.
This global crisis is showing us the value of the present moment. In our humble opinion, there is no better time than now to choose how we live. We can’t rely on a broken system to save us. We must learn to live smarter, simpler lives to be more fulfilled. There is no point in thinking, “what would you do differently in another life?” We have this life, right now. This moment. These people. This experience.
If you want to live differently, go for it! Follow the beat of your own drum. It is a choice to live more consciously, and it is up to us to lead the positive change this world so desperately needs.
Hey, we're Brian + Erin. Currently, we're workin' on our bug out bus. Lucky the proverbial $hit hadn't hit the fan yet when we picked up this 40-foot beauty in Phoenix AZ and drove it up to Canada to convert it. Hopefully, we all still have time...
Honestly, this bus conversion has been the only sane thing in this insane world lately. We can't tell you how good it feels to BE working on something that lights our souls up and has such potential for a life that is entwined with nature, love, and happiness.
Our main goal is to inspire people to get off-grid and become self-reliant. We are well on our way and are super excited to talk about solutions with others who are shooting for a similar way of living.
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