When you first begin playing around with the idea of a bus conversion you search the web and social media for likeminded people with the same crazy idea of living on a bus. We stumbled upon the Midwest Wanderers on Instagram and then checked out their website and liked what we saw. They have a great lookin' bus and did an excellent job raising their roof. Luke also has a beard that even the burliest of men envy.
Things have been slow on the blog lately, we just had our third kiddo and thought it would be cool to show you that we are not the only crazies converting a bus. Vanessa and I have been finding more and more reasons why we feel the bus life is for us, but I wanted to hear from others about bus life. I gave Luke a bunch of blog ideas and he was up for all of them. So without further ado, its my pleasure to introduce you to the Midwest Wanderers.
A few weeks ago I received an interesting message on Instagram proposing a guest blog post from a fellow ‘skoolie’ builder. I honestly didn’t think anything I had written thus far on my own blog was all that note worthy so I was pretty excited to see the invite from Denver! Thanks Denver
The ‘Midwest Wanderers’ aren’t exactly wandering yet so don’t go scrolling down the page looking for the postcard worthy pictures of breathtaking American landscape or tales of our nonstop travel and adventure. This is what’s really happening right now.
The bigger picture is family. The Davis family to be exact. We are a family of three (myself-Luke, my wife Rachel and our daughter Charlotte). We also have two dogs (Louie and Baxter) who will continue their roles as “vicious” guard dogs for the bus. I am a Chicago pipefitter, Rachel is self-employed as a custom baking entrepreneur, currently on a hiatus, and Charlotte is a full time kid. We live in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and aside from the 37-foot school bus in our driveway, we are pretty much your average Joe’s. That’s the problem. We want to try something different, something new. Something with wheels!
When I think about the future and the plans I have for my family, it always looks the same. A year into the future I’ll be coming home from the same job at the same time, doing a few chores, eating dinner, spend a little time with the family, going to bed, and starting it all over the next day. In five years, the same. In ten years, the same. When will I have the time and money to travel and break up this droning routine I’ve created.
While in the middle of getting a tattoo, my favorite artist turned me onto the idea of building and living in a school bus aka skoolie. I instantly warned him that this was a dangerous conversation. It was too appealing a thought to just dismiss as ‘wouldn’t that be cool’ and with my skill set it was by no means out of reach. Dangerous indeed. Within two months we had a bus!
Once the bus is done (hopefully fall of 2016) and we are on the road, the time line is fairly open ended. I’m 27, Rachel is 25, and Charlotte is 15 months. Realistically we have nothing but time. Besides, Charlotte isn’t going to be school age for some time. When we think about it we both agree it would be a waste of all our hard work and resources to live the nomadic lifestyle for any less than a year. On the other hand we aren’t opposed to a significantly longer period of time. Until we’ve tried it, who knows? I have a hunch it’s going to be great though.
From the little I’ve seen on the internet about fellow bus dweller, its seems to be an extremely diverse group of people that are choosing this alternative lifestyle. The reasons are endless: freedom, exploration, isolation, zombie apocalypse, spiritual, financial, you name it. I think for us it’s more than one. Initially the most appealing thing is traveling. That’s a given. The more I thought about it, all the extra time I would have with my family became even more convincing. Even further there is a spiritual side to it. Having less material things that end up owning you and demanding your attention equals more time. In my opinion there is nothing more valuable than that. We all get 24 hours in our day and we want to start investing our 24 more wisely. So the spiritual side is that we believe our Creator has more for us than a 9 to 5 and a lawn to mow. We want to see more of God’s creation as a family and we want to be able to give Him more of our time while we are doing that. Rachel and I are born again Christians. We aren’t traveling the country marching out a religious agenda but we do stand on what the bible says. If you ask anyone who has honestly dug their nose into the good book they will tell you, with out doubt, that the most important theme is Love. So that’s our plan! We are really excited to meet new people as we travel and show unbiased love to everyone we cross paths with. I’m excited to see how the bus can help us grow in this area.
As a soon to be wanderer one of the questions we get the most is what are you going to do with your house? That’s a great question. I ask it to myself quite often. Honestly I wish I knew… Five years ago we bought our first house, which we still live in. Our taxes are a little painful but overall our mortgage is pretty comfortable. What I’m getting at is that there are pros and cons to both renting and selling our house. If we sell, there is nothing holding us back and there will be no burdens to lose sleep over. If we rent, we could potentially have a very small income that would be a huge bonus on the road. The downside being that we would have to manage a rental property from afar. What if something goes wrong while we are 4000 miles away? Even worse, what if something happens that requires extremely costly repairs. Ah see what I mean!? I guess we will cross that bridge a little further down the road.
It’s all part of the bigger picture but for now we are just planning, dreaming, and building.
A huge thanks to the Midwest Wanderers for writing. You can find them online at midwestwanderers.com or on Instagram @midwestwanderers.