They attended The Bus Fair before finishing their own bus and will come back as part of the show. 

As we wrap up The Bus Fair Feature series, make sure you stay tuned for updates on Bus Life Adventure's Bus Fair 2021! In this interview, Isaac Turner of The Skooliana Sessions EP shares how The Bus Fair influenced him and Julia Tetreault's bus build, Skooliana. They started the bus project after moving from his '95 Chevy G20 van conversion. The duo is now taking part in hosting the Wolf Pack Roundup, a bus and van meetup at the end of October in southeast Oregon. 

Hammock Skooliana

You could say that The Bus Fair 2019 was the birth of Skooliana. Julie and I attended while we were still living in our 1995 Chevy G20 van. We came to get build ideas and got lots of those along with a bunch of new friends who we leaned on as resources during our build. We bought our bus off Facebook Marketplace and built it in about three months. We had a very different vision in the beginning but the bus kinda manifested itself in the way it did. It’s a very simple build and design that works for us. We love traveling around, taking pictures, and making videos. It's our creative space, vehicle, and it helps keep our bills low. 

Side View Skooliana

Bus Specs:

Make: Ford
Model: e450
Motor: 7.3 Powerstroke
Year: 2003
Interior Square Footage: Uh 22ft long…
Current Location: Oregon is my home
Purchased From/Location: Facebook Marketplace
Cost in materials for the conversion: $12k
Total time from the purchase date to life on the road: 3mos.

Interviewee: Isaac Turner

 

Have you been to The Bus Fair before? If yes, what was your experience? We went in 2019 to get ideas for our build before we started. We loved meeting the skoolie community and made friends we will have forever.

       

What can someone expect attending the Bus Fair? (You can speak to other skoolies. people attending, or both) You can expect to be inspired and meet awesome people. It's one thing to look at them but a whole different experience to walk thru them in person and talk to the owners and learn from their experiences.

 

Did you show your bus or camp? Our bus wasn’t road legal at that point. My temporary permit expired and we were having some title issues. We camped in our built out van and partied with all the homies. 

*Need to register and insure your skoolie? Check out this article.*

Frontfacing Full Skooliana

Why a bus? We loved the windows and the width. You don’t feel so enclosed. It can feel that way in a van with no windows.

 Inside Outside Skooliana

Does your bus have a name or phrase you call it? Why did you choose it? We call her Skooliana. Julie named her one day and it stuck.

Will you be full-timing? We have been on and off as situations and circumstances change.

 

Where did you convert your bus? I rented a room at my buddy's place who had a shop to build our bus.


Did you do the conversion yourself or did you hire someone? Julie and I built the whole thing by ourselves with literally a jigsaw and a drill, lol.

 Julie and Isaac Skooliana

Who are you living/traveling with? My GF Julie and I live and travel in the bus.

 

Were you all on the same page about living bus life or did one person (or more) have to be convinced? Oh, we definitely were both on board, that's why I picked her, lol. I met Julie at a hot spring and showed her my van I built (that's how I won her heart). She ended up coming to visit, moved in and never left. The van was too small for both of us so we decided to build something bigger. That's when I bought the bus.

Isaaic Julie1 Skooliana

 

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far? I learned everything to covert when I built by first van: a '95 Chevy G20. So I went into to bus pretty much knowing what I needed to do and what worked and what didn’t. I used gnomadhome.com as my guide for both builds.

 

Tips/tricks/advice to help others have who want/are converting a vehicle? Something you wish you had known going into this? Any current troubles? I see a lot of people overbuild and spend waaaaaaaay more money than they need to. My advice is to buy the cheapest thing you can find, do a cheap conversion, and just get on the road. Learn what is important to YOU and what isn’t. When you figure that out get it right on the second build.

 

What is the most unique feature of your conversion? We love our live edge countertops. I found them on the side of the road for $30 and learned how to do epoxy to finish them. They are my favorite part of our whole build.

 Countertops Skooliana

What do you do for income? I do professional freelance video work. Julie and I were self-employed when we built the bus. So we basically took three months off to spend seven days a week, twelve hours a day to build it. That's how we got it done so fast. Just doing it on the weekends would have taken forever. 

What do you think will be the hardest thing about this whole lifestyle change/ living/traveling in a bus? Easiest thing? I love the lifestyle. I like that every day is a mystery and an adventure.


Is there anything you wish you did differently in your build? Yes, I would have insulated it and built a bathroom/shower inside. Right now we have an outdoor shower and a portable emergency toilet.

Before After Skooliana


What about the bus is helping you reach your lifestyle goals? Keeping the bills low. I'm basically an entrepreneur and like to have money to be able to go after an idea. By keeping the bills low and having no debt I can save money and try to earn more money along the way.

 

Have you met other skoolies on the road? What have been people’s reactions to you buying a bus to live in? Oh yes, we love meeting other skoolie owners and sharing ideas and things learned. Most people think its really rad and want to build one themselves. A small percentage think that I am crazy.

Meetup Skooliana


Tell us about your layout. Kitchen? Bathroom? Bedroom? We basically have a living room/kitchen and a bed. Simple.

 

How has the pandemic affected bus life for you? Well, Planet Fitness showers died along with my video income. I may end up having to go get a real job until the market recovers and I can make stable money with a camera again.

Frontfacing Skooliana


What is the most memorable place you’ve traveled in your bus conversion? Honestly, my favorite camp spot in Oakridge, Oregon. We go there all the time and sometimes stay for a week. It feels like home: a river right next to me, walking distance to hot spring.


Where do you project you’ll be three months from now? Same place I am now but hopefully a few steps closer to having financial freedom again. Then again it's 2020, so who knows.

 

How can people learn more about you (social media, website, etc.)?

Instagram: @skooliana YouTube: Skooliana 

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Author and former FBI employee, Jordan O'Donnell, takes his new novel and cautionary tale for the U.S. on the road in his school bus conversion with 17 interns in tow. 

 Jordan O'Donnell Zoon Garden Bus TourZoon Garden Book Jordan O'donnell

What are two things that bring people together? In our opinion, books and buses. In 2020 America, it has become increasingly difficult for people with different beliefs to come together or talk to each other at all. But how would it look if we were animals in a zoo? How might we see our actions differently? Such is the impetus of Jordan O'Donnell's new novel Zoon Garden. It takes readers into an abandoned zoo where the animals are free to govern themselves. The zoo plunges into chaos and the book serves as a warning of what can happen if we continue down this precarious path. 

To promote his timely novel, O'Donnell and his buddy Jake “The Caveman” Harris built out a skoolie and enlisted 16 more interns to go on a book tour spreading its message across the United States. Although the pandemic upended much of their plans, they made the most of their time traveling to remote and iconic places and enjoying each other's company. Learn more about O'Donnell's book, the build and their wild bus tour below.

Bus Tour Zoon Garden Skoolie Full

Bus specs:

Make: International

Model: 3700

Motor: DT 466 International Diesel

Year: 1993

Interior Square Footage: 205

Current Location: Shenandoah, VA

Purchased From/Location: Richmond, VA (Collegiate School)

Cost in materials for the conversion: 8K-10K (About 5k was the electrical system)

Total time from purchase to the road: Roughly 18 months. The bus sat for six months untouched. We then worked on and off for a year until it was complete.

 Zoon Garden Team Photo Funny

Tell us about Zoon Garden and why it is so important for people to read right now.

Zoon Garden is a social critique very similar to Orwell’s Animal Farm. It tells the story of Clarendon Zoo and how the wolves and sheep, the nation’s two leading tribes, accidentally destroy the zoo. Whether it’s the pigeons squawking in the air, the bigger birds showing one side of the story, the wolves tyranny, or the sheep’s communism, the novel critiques basically everything.

One Amazon reviewer noted he “would highly recommend this read to anyone -- especially those who care about and/or take an interest in the future of this country...or in humanity for that matter.” The world is divided, in uncertain waters, and headed in a treacherous direction. Anyone worried about it should read Zoon Garden.

 

How/when did you get the idea for Zoon Garden?

The idea for Zoon Garden came while I was working for the FBI. 2018 was the height of the Clinton Email and Russia Investigations, and I was put on a team to sift through the emails of Director Comey, Deputy Director McCabe, and any related internal communications. The experience showed me the underbelly of Washington and combined with the increasing division across America I wanted to write a novel that opened people’s minds to the roots of our nation’s issues. Oddly enough the idea for animals in a zoo came about as I randomly walked through a grocery store. I couldn’t help but think America was like a giant zoo separated into different species that refused to communicate.

The book serves as a sort of warning, what is your hope for the future and what can we do now?

The book is certainly a warning. My intention was to show Americans, and much of the world for that matter, what could happen to a nation that continues down our trajectory. It shows how both the radical right and left are dangerous, how media manipulation cause mass distrust, and how the destruction of truth will cripple every institution and pillar in our society. It truly is a warning people should heed because it’s happening even faster than I anticipated.

My hope is that the novel inspires open minds and a genuine sense of understanding. Life is yin and yang, a dichotomy, a balance; it’s not one side or another. I hope Americans read this book and see that we need to find a middle ground and genuine empathy. Our future hinges on it.

 

Why a bus?

A good bus is more adaptable than any RV. Our bus is a diesel with only 120,000 miles… basically brand new. It just took a 10,000-mile road trip with zero mechanical issues and will go to 500,000 miles with ease. We installed solar panels and a water filtration system to allow us to go completely off-grid and did everything for under 15K. An RV with similar capabilities would cost 2x-3x that price. Overall, you can’t find the adaptability, size, price, or comfort with any other vehicle. A bus allowed us to create a personalized adventure mobile that can survive any journey, even one around North and South America.

 

Who are you living/traveling with?

To promote my novel I hired 17 college interns from around the country: California, Texas, Idaho, Florida, New Jersey, New Hampshire, etc. The 18 of us are living on the bus and two travel trailers as we adventure through America. The team is split into media (handles social media and podcast), video (shoots the documentary and creates vlogs), and publicity (promotes the book and schedules appearances). 18 strangers caravanning America has been absolutely crazy in the best way possible, lots of adversity and hardly anything has gone to plan, but that’s what makes it amazing.

 Zoon Garden Group Photo

Does your bus have a name? If so, why did you choose it?

Our bus driver Jake “The Caveman” Harris (The guy with the huge red beard) named his car Martha. Fittingly when he began driving the bigger older bus he named her Martha Sr.

 Jake and Jordan Zoon Garden Bus

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far?

I had carpentry skills and was able to build all the framing, walls, couches and beds. But two engineering friends helped me learn the plumbing and electrical components. The electrical system has hands down been our greatest challenge. It is fidgety and cooling the inverter charger in 110 degree Arizona heat has been very difficult. We’ve been having problems with it for two months and haven’t been able to fully diagnose the issue.

  Inside1Inside3

How has the pandemic affected bus life for you?

The pandemic has drastically affected us. It basically ruined our entire book tour because we couldn’t set a true itinerary or schedule any events. We couldn’t meet in groups of larger than 10 and we had to completely change our itinerary four times to avoid COVID-19 “hot-spots.”

At the same time, the pandemic is what made our trip such an adventure. An 18-person caravan of strangers road tripping during a global pandemic has never been done; the documentary is going to be incredible.

Zoon Garden Redwood Bus

What has been the hardest thing about this whole lifestyle change/ living/traveling in a bus? Easiest thing?

The hardest thing has been managing a team of 18 people traveling. The logistics are difficult, and if it weren’t for our incredibly flexible team I don’t think it would be possible. Outside of those challenges, the hardest part is not having a routine. Lack of showers, lack of sleep schedules, lack of working out, and lack of eating at normal hours have been huge challenges. Spontaneity is beautiful, but it starts to wear on the body.

The easiest transition has been the minimalism. We only have what we need, and it has been awesome to survive on the bare essentials. It has shown me just how many unnecessary many things are.

 

What has been the most memorable part of the bus tour and why?

They say that you shouldn’t take a journey alone because it’s the people that make the experience. I have found that to be true. As much as they drive me absolutely bananas, this group of 18 people has been the highlight of the trip. We’ve become a family. The best parts are driving with the windows down jamming to music, getting to know people’s idiosyncrasies, the constant laughter, standing at Lake Tahoe, Battery Point, Malad Gorge, etc., arm in arm with your new friends. It’s the constant banter, never knowing what someone will do next or what is around the corner. The uncertainty of the journey and bonding over that experience is the most memorable part.

We spoke with a man in Big Bear, CA, who said America was the most beautiful country in the world and that if everyone saw all of her beauty the world would be a better place. I have thought often of that conversation because it is true. To experience the forests of the east, the flatness of West Texas, the red clay of Arizona, the giant sequoias, the California beaches, the Colorado River winding through the Rockies, etc. shows you the scope and sheer awe of America. It gave me a new perspective on this incredible land and made me appreciate this country.

If I had to list one specific memory it would be when we tried to go to John Muir woods but it was closed. Instead, we went to John Muir beach. The quaint beach is nestled in the valley, the river running into the ocean, the driftwood with fires in the center, the hiking trails along the hills, and the 80 eccentric houses packed onto the cliffside—it’s a magical place.

Ultimately, why did you decide to do this?

Why not? Everyone complains about the 9-5, how they want to do something different with their life, and how they want to experience the world. How many people actually have the courage to do it? I thought a road trip of this magnitude, something absolutely crazy that had never been done, was the perfect way to promote a timely novel and also have the journey of a lifetime. The purpose was to spread a message of unity and encourage others to chase their own dreams. Don't talk, go out and do something wild.

SF Golden Gate Bridge BusInside2

How can people learn more about you (social media, website, etc.)?

Instagram: @zoongardenbustour

Twitter: @ZoonGarden

Facebook: Zoon Garden Promotion Tour

www.jordanodonnellauthor.com

The book is available on Amazon: simply Google “Zoon Garden”

 

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A textile artist follows in her parents' footsteps of nomadic living with her partner in a roof-raised skoolie named Sage.

Thirty unique skoolies were chosen to be featured exhibitors at The Bus Fair. Since we were unable to meet in person this year, we are coming together digitally to share their stories with you. Meet Jen, Jon, and their bus Sage!

Jen Rilley Jon Skoolie Bus Conversion Tincan Castle

My name is Jen Rilley and my boyfriend Jon and I live full-time in our school bus turned amazing tiny home, Sage. I am 23 and Jon is 24. We both love to travel so skoolie life was a natural fit for us. My parents lived in a van in Europe when they were young so I grew up hoping to do the same. While I was in college, I discovered #skoolieconversion on Instagram and Pinterest and was immediately hooked. I bought Sage while I was in graduate school and once I graduated in May 2019 I headed out west to meet up with Jon to start our tiny life. It’s been an amazing year and I cannot wait to see what else bus life has to offer us.

Bus Specs:

Motor: Cummins 5.9

Year: 2000

Interior Square Footage: 260

Current Location: Sedona, Arizona

Purchased From/Location: Weaverville, NC (but the bus is originally from Montgomery County, Tennessee)

Cost in materials for the conversion: too much

Total time from purchase date to on the road: 9 months

Interviewee: Jen Rilley

 

Why a bus?

Like many people, I chose a bus for the freedom it provides. I love the ability to travel, and I find inspiration for my life and work on the road, all while having the comforts of home.  I’ve always wanted to be an artist and creator, and after I got my Masters in Textiles, I decided to commit to my dream, even though it was terrifying rejecting the conventional wisdom of settling down and working a stable job. Sage is my vehicle for finding who I am as an artist and adventurer, and I am building the life I want around her. I considered other types of homes on wheels, but a bus seemed like the perfect blank canvas to create my mobile dream home with enough space to include a studio for my textile work.

 Front to Back Skoolie Bus Conversion Tincan Castle

Does your bus have a name or phrase you call it? Why did you choose it?

Our bus is named Sage! I chose after I painted it, I thought the color resembled the plant as well as my ideas to move west. I think it fits!

Will you be full-timing? 

Yes!

Did you do the conversion yourself or did you hire someone?

We did a little bit of both! We didn’t have the skills or time to learn them, so it made a lot more sense to hire contractors for the more challenging and technical tasks. Skoolie.com in Hendersonville, North Carolina did our roof raise and window replacement. We’re super happy with the results, and glad we paid a professional to do it so we know it’s structurally sound and it looks great. We also hired Alex Gaebe at Carolina Tiny Homes to take care of the electrical/solar, plumbing and basic framing. All of his work is incredible, and we feel lucky to have found someone so talented and flexible. With the basics complete, some amazing friends and I made the bus livable with the floor, ceiling, basic kitchen, and bedroom. Although Sage was incomplete, I headed west to meet up with Jon. Over the past year, he and I have been finishing up the interior to bring our tiny house to life!

Kitchen 2 Skoolie Bus Conversion Tincan Castle

Who are you living/traveling with?

I feel very fortunate to live with my best friend. My boyfriend Jon is an expert botanist; talented mountain biker, climber, and hiker; and makes a mean breakfast. He has been so supportive and encouraging during every challenge and there to celebrate every success. Bus life is a blast, but even more so when you have someone amazing to share it with. 

Were you all on the same page about living bus life or did one person (or more) have to be convinced? 

No, Jon did not need to be convinced. The first time we met was on a whitewater kayaking trip near Asheville, NC where I knew there was a bus I wanted to check out. After the float, I dragged my friends to Vanlife Conversions, where I bought Sage. The rest of my friends were skeptical, but Jon was enamored from the very beginning. He was present for the first few failed attempts at demolition, then had to move west for a job while I finished grad school. We met back up later that year when the bus was partially finished and have been living in it together ever since.  

Bedroom Skoolie Bus Conversion Tincan Castle

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far?

Before building the bus, I was highly competent at assembling IKEA furniture. Fortunately, this came in very handy since I used their cabinets and a few other pieces in the bus. I didn’t have much construction experience past that, so I’ve had to learn how to do almost everything else on the fly. Jon has some basic construction skills, but he was working 2,000 miles away for most of the initial build.  While in college, I made friends with one of my professors and his wife. He is an excellent handyman and she is a skilled carpenter, so I bribed them with pizza and beer to help me with some of the more technical tasks. Over the past year, Jon and I have used trial and error, and lots of YouTube videos to figure out everything from installing a mini-split air conditioner to tiling a shower. We’re much better now at trusting our instincts and figuring out how to make things work! We’ve made some mistakes along the way and Sage isn’t perfect, but she is ours and we love her!

Bathroom Skoolie Bus Conversion Tincan Castle

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?

From the beginning, I knew I wanted my bus conversion to be part home, part textile studio. My final plan for bus life is to make and sell handmade clothing, home décor, and naturally dyed yarns and textiles. While it’s not quite finished yet, many of the design decisions I made during the conversion process were to create a comfortable workspace. I raised the roof and changed out the original windows to let in more natural light and create more storage space for materials, added 1800 watts of solar and 400 AH of lithium battery to run my textile machinery. I also plan to install a dedicated variable-height work table and to mount my industrial sewing machines into the countertop. I’m in the process of setting up my business now, and should have things up and running soon! 

How has the pandemic affected bus life for you?

We’ve had to make a few changes, but thankfully we’ve stayed healthy and employed! We decided staying put is the safest option for us, so we are parked at our friends house in Arizona for the time being. I’m enjoying working at a local bike shop and making the most of being in one place. Luckily, the quarantine gave us plenty of time to work on some necessary bus tasks. Since landing in AZ, we have finished our bathroom, installed an A/C, and added some personalization! Jon was originally planning to work for a national park in Alaska this summer, but the position was cancelled due to the pandemic. However, he found a last-minute position with an environmental non-profit organization in Colorado and will be close by for the next few months. I also put my sewing skills and workspace to use and made masks to sell in the community and protective gowns to donate to the local hospital as they fight Covid-19. We will most likely stay put until next spring, then resume our wandering!

 Kitchen Skoolie Bus Conversion Tincan Castle

How can people learn more about you (social media, website, etc.)?

You can follow us on Instagram at @tincancastle and read more about me, Jon, Sage, and our life on the road on our website: tincancastle.com. Stay tuned for more information about my textile studio from Sage & Oak!

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This family of six steers clear of the pandemic in their off-grid adventure mobile.

 Skoolie Bus Life The B Hive Family off grid Living

The B Hive Family has been living their bus life adventure for over two years. Johnny is a USMC veteran and together with his wife Shiang-ling B, the two have been "roadschooling" their four children and teaching them the meaning of living a full, sustainable life on the road. They cook together, play together, and travel the country in their bus named Buzz searching for the ideal piece of land to settle down. But by the looks of things, that setting won't be happening anytime soon. They are currently staying with friends in Vermont, and this winter they will embark on their journey West. In this interview queen bee Shiang-ling B gives us a look at what sparks joy in their daily lives and what inspired them to choose bus life.

 The B Hive Family bus exterior

Bus specs:
Make: Thomas Built Bus
Model: RE MVP
Motor: Allison 3126
Year: 2000
Interior Square Footage: 320sqft
Current Location: Vermont. We will be leaving before Halloween
Purchased From/Location: American Bus Sales in Oklahoma - we wanted a well-maintained engine because neither of us know engines!
Total time from the purchase date to on the road:
Three months! We weren’t complete but it was functional-ish.

Interviewee: Shiang-ling B aka Queen Bee

Queen B Skoolie The B Hive FamilyBus Portrait The B Hive Family


Why a bus?
We went to one of those RV shows to check out the spacing. You know, get a feel for it. Johnny wanted to see how tough a cabinet door was and kind flexed it… and it cracked. We knew our family wouldn’t be able to live in one. I’d break it. We are always wrestling and tossing each other. So many things would break. Plus everywhere I looked in the RV I wanted to redesign for efficiency, so might as well build with 2x4s and wood, things we were familiar with and enjoyed!

 

Who are you living/traveling with?

It changes depending on who has a pet at the moment. Consistently there is me (Shiang-ling), my husband (Johnny), our four kids Alexis, Matthew, Chloe, and Jacob. Current animals are Phoebe our pitbull, Neko our cat, and Alpha the beta fish with Ned the snail.

 Bus Life Build The B Hive Family Interior diyBus Life The B Hive Family Interior American Flag

Does your bus have a name or phrase you call it? If so, why did you choose it?
Our bus’s name is Buzz. He’s a drone searching for his “queen” (our land). He even has antennas (Johnny’s pull up bars). It was the only name we could think of that went with our bee theme since we have never owned bees.

Skoolie Exercise The B Hive Family

 

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far? Johnny has a background in construction/odd jobs and engineering. He learned maintenance for this large vehicle's engine, how to get insurance, and registration changes - all things relatable to the bus life. I, Shiang-ling, am a DIY builder. I am always working on some project that I've seen somewhere and said, “I can make it myself." I thrive on learning new skills to build the things we want or need. This includes learning to weld so I could attach the roof deck to the bus!

 

Tips/tricks/advice to help others have who want/are converting a vehicle? Something you wish you had known going into this? Any current troubles? Take your time and make sure you have essential items done first. Don’t get me wrong, now looking back on our two years of bus living I wouldn’t take anything back. But when we left on our maiden voyage we didn’t have hot water hooked up (for a year), or our pee diverter wasn’t piped in, we still don’t have solar (and it's been fine!) and we are STILL working on the bus. It will always be a never-ending project, but I am glad that we kinda lived in the space while we were in the middle of construction because it allowed us to really understand the smaller space and build as needed.

 

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?
This is a hard one, I love soooo many aspects of our build. I think my favorite thing is that there is a unique space for every individual on our bus to be and not be “disturbed”. It was really important to Johnny that the kids each had a place to sit, build, create, write, eat, sleep, and retreat to without being in another's “space”. Not because they can’t get along, but it just gave everyone their own space. Johnny and I are flexible. Other than that feeling we were able to create with our build, I really love the amount of storage we have on the bus. Like, stupid amounts of storage. When the “pandemonium” started, Johnny asked me one night if we had to “bug out” and live off of what we have aboard how long could we last, to which I answered, probably five months.

Skoolie Bus Life The B Hive Family cat and Homework

 

What do you do for income? How often do you work while on the bus?
Johnny receives a stipend from the VA after serving nearly 13 years in the Marine Special Forces. Alongside that, he owns an LLC and contracts every so often as a way to continue to add money to our savings for our future homestead and our traveling adventures. I am ‘working’ on my homesteader skills, I'm learning how to go back to basics. Eventually, we will be back homesteading and I want to keep my skills sharp!

 
Is there anything you wish you did differently in your build?
Always… HA! I joke about wanting permanent couches in the front area all the time. I’ve even joked that I’d rebuild areas while Johnny’s away working (I usually tinker on something either way). Realistically though, I do feel like our build is perfect for our adventurous, foodie, wild family. I tell my husband at least twice a week how tickled I am that we live on a bus - it’s my little cottage on wheels. Every adventure we’ve been on while living the bus life has been just that, an adventure! It’s been fascinating to watch our kids' minds open and our bonds grow as a family.

Bus Life Skoolie The B Hive Family Queen BeeSkoolie Bus Life The B Hive Family Kids


What about the bus will help you be successful in reaching your lifestyle goals?
The end-ish goal: to get property and build out our self-sustainable homestead. Every weird thing you can think of that we can figure out how to make ourselves we just might try.

Living aboard the bus is allowing all of us the luxury of TIME; time to find what we really like and experiment with it. Not just for us as adults, but we try not to limit the kids either. Our kids Alexis(12), Matthew (10), Chloe (9), and Jacob (6) all have interests in cooking… not just cooking but farming, gardening, foraging, and butchering. Our three oldest can whip up delicious meals and desserts from scratch either from a recipe or off the top of their heads! Even Jacob can fry you up a mean eggs and bacon. The way we look at it, we are using this time of adventure and wandering to learn and grow our skillsets. While Johnny works and is the primary homeschooler, I learn and experiment with as many self- sustainable practices as I can… and then "Cliffnotes" it to him.

Garden Veggies The B Hive Family Bus LifeBreakfast Skoolie The B Hive Family

This lifestyle is also allowing us not only travel and adventure, but we are paying off debt, saving money, and learning along the way! For the past two years we have traveled like this: We connect with friends and people with homesteads or properties, and we go help them on their property in exchange for free stay. Right now we are staying with our friends in Vermont and we are splitting utilities and then some. BUT IT'S SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER THAN STICKS N BRICKS! We’ve had a great summer hanging out with our friends. We cover our cost and then some because it’s still savings for us. And since we have more “free” time, we help them (painting rooms, setting up pig pens, culling chickens, moving) with anything they need to check off their list. As long as we can all be adults and get along it just works out SOO well for both families.

 

What have been people’s reactions to you buying a bus to live in? 

I think people love it. I think they also think we are a roadside attraction sometimes. The only reason I share on IG and YouTube is for the other families that need to see it's totally doable. My hope is that I come across as genuine as I present myself. Yass I am that wild, apparently I “speak like a princess” (Ahem it’s Queen) and make weird mouth movements… but I’m sharing because other big families think this lifestyle would be chaotic, messy, and impossible. And while sometimes it can feel like that, you just have to choose to see the good in everything. Be disgustingly optimistic and opportunistic… Try it for a week, I challenge you.

So what if the kids make a mess in the kitchen after making waffles? It buffs out. Someone broke the new french press YOU JUST GOT? It's replaceable. Tiny spaces with a lot of kids will get crazy as hell, but if you can learn to choose happy and positively redirect, you can SO do this!

 

Have you met other skoolies or buslifers on the road?

Absolutely! They are usually some of the best people with wildly different backgrounds and reasons for living the same way. Also, the community is always up for lending a hand to anyone who might not possess the skills it takes to “build” their dream.

How has the pandemic affected bus life for you? It honestly hasn’t. We were ahead of the pandemonium by a year. We did the homeschool hooplah... It's that feeling like you're supposed to do ALL these things and then you realize that homeschool is simple. You are teaching your kids to do life alongside you. 

 Road School Skoolie The B Hive Family Queen Bee

Where do you project you’ll be three months from now? Hopefully heading West! We have a plan to start heading West at the end/beginning of 20/21.

Family Prortrait The B Hive Family Bus Life
How can people learn more about you?
Follow our adventures on Instagram & Youtube! I post pretty much daily on IG about our crazy lives and I am working on getting back into weekly Youtube videos again. @thebhivefamily. You can also follow @halfbakedandbarelymeasure to see all of the cooking/food experiments I test out in my tiny kitchen. From raising/growing the food, to butchering/cooking and even preserving, I’ll show you how close I am getting to be completely self-sufficient.

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