I try to steer clear of New Years Resolutions. I’m not into planning as a general rule, because I feel like it often leaves little room for spontaneous opportunities (and that’s where the good stuff in life is). A year ago, I would’ve never guessed that I’d do everything I did last year. I definitely didn’t think I’d be preparing to live in a Skoolie right now. It seemed more like a fantasy than something that could actually happen, but here we are.
In hindsight, last year was all about taking creative steps and seeing what happened. It wasn’t a New Years Resolution per se, but I did make it a point to acknowledge and work to abolish my Impostor Syndrome. Kyle and I started this blog, our YouTube Channel and the Roll With Us podcast, and I started my own podcast, No Ordinary People – something I’d wanted to do but been too afraid to pursue for a year. We bought our skoolie and worked our butts off gutting and renovating it. I worked on my mental health every minute of last year, and it was worth it. I walked into 2018 more confident than I’ve ever been.
This year I decided to step out of my comfort zone even more and actually make a New Years Resolution. 2018 is the year I start seriously blogging. We’re in the final stages of building our skoolie and preparing to hit the road. Between the build and the emotions that go along with it, there’s no shortage of material to write on, and no time like New Years to get started. That said, allow me to introduce the newest member of our family, Agatha.
The number one thing I hear over and over when I tell people we’re preparing to live in a school bus is, “I’ve always wanted to do that. How are you able to?” The truth is, we just decided to go for it. It’s terrifying and intimidating and exciting and neither of us feels super prepared, even now, but we both know it will be an experience we’d regret not having. As for “how?”, every adventure starts with the first step, and ours is no different.
Step One: Do We Stay or Do We Go?
Last fall, we got a notice that our lease was up. We looked around at homes in the Detroit area but weren’t in love with the idea of signing another lease. The way we saw it, we had a couple of options: find a new city to live in, or build a house we could take wherever we want. Since Kyle & I met, we’d talked about “van/skoolie life”, but we weren’t sure we were in a position to execute it. Eventually, we decided it was now or never.
We only had a couple of weeks to move out of our home. If we were really going to do this, we needed to get rid of everything we owned but the essentials. We listed everything of value on sites like Craigslist, eBay, Poshmark, Amazon and Facebook Marketplace, invited our friends and neighbors to come and take anything they liked, & held a garage sale/donated everything that didn’t sell. On move out day, we had whittled our belongings down to only the things we need.
Step Two: Short Skoolie, Our Goldilocks Vehicle
We knew that the process of buying and building a vehicle into a home would take some time. Kyle’s parents have been gracious to let us stay with them while we work out the details. The day we moved into their basement, we started researching vehicles, trying to figure out what fit our budget/lifestyle. We drooled over Sprinter Vans but knew that spending $30k+ on a vehicle alone was out of the question. Conversion vans were another option, but one of the requirements for me was that my full-size mattress had to fit in whatever vehicle we chose. A van would be too small. Next, we looked at school buses (skoolies, as they’re called if you live in one), but the full-sized ones were way too big and consumed too much fuel. Eventually, we found the mama-bear of all vehicles – a Thomas Built Short Bus.
Walking up to this bus, I got the same feeling in my gut that I got when I saw my dog Jake for the first time. Hell, I got the same feeling in my gut as when I met Kyle for the first time. It just felt… right. I felt at home. I had to have her in my life. We took her for a test drive and decided to sleep on it, but I knew that she was the one. Now we just had to find a place to park her while we did the renovations.
Step 3: Home Is Where You Park It
Kyle made some phone calls and found us a place to park our bus while we work on it, at his godfather’s house. Their home is beautiful, and they’ve got a barn full of tools they’ve been kind enough to lend us while we work on the build. The first time I met them, they gave me a tour of their house, including their beautiful wine cellar Kyle designed and built. It was my first time seeing Kyles woodworking skills firsthand, but not the last. Kyle has transformed this bus into a proper Skoolie, inside and out. I’m telling you, this man can do anything.
Stay tuned for more in-depth blogs on the build, and what we’re doing as we count down the days til we hit the road!
It’s so much more fun to keep up on the blog when I know people are reading, so leave any questions or comments below!