The most common question I am asked is – WHY? “Why do you have to sell everything?” Many are trying to “help” me by finding alternatives to my new alternative. “If you sell your house, where will you live?” TRANSLATION: Where will you put your stuff? What most folks do not understand is this new life is exactly the life I have wanted to live most of my adult hood. In fact, the reason I went back to school in my 20’s, was to get a trade/skill I could use in any state I travelled to, and realistically roll into any state and most large cities and get a job quickly and easily. An RT certificate would allow me to do that.
The only trouble was, life became very comfortable as I began my pursuit of the American Dream. Buy a house, accumulate stuff, start a family, then die young with a bunch of toys and debt. Never much interested in the family thang, but I did enjoy collecting toys. I realized pretty quickly the dangers of debt, and decided that my new dream was to own my house before I died – my new idea of freedom.
Fast forward 20 years – four houses, and a divorce, and my ideas about happiness started to take a radical turn. With the absence of dependents, new doors suddenly opened up, and I started exploring some of my alternatives. The ideas of travel/working I had in my 20’s started to flood back in. So now I only needed to figure out how to LIVE while travelling.
For many people, making a living on the road would be quite an overwhelming task. Or one that would require them to take a large cut in pay, while performing menial tasks, or at least jobs that focus more on general labor, than skill. For me, that is not a problem, as I have been making my living from the web for the last 10 years. In theory, I can do that anywhere that I have web-access, I hope.
So then the issue became – where and how will I live? This has been a long journey. I started with the idea of reducing the expenditures to ease the requirements of flexible living. I looked into how I could live in the west, midwest, and Appalachians. In the process I found the Tiny House Movement, and started to realize that you could reduce your yearly living expenditures by reducing your footprint on the earth (square footage) The idea of living in a tiny house quickly overwhelmed me. I started to feel guilty about the way I was living. Why do we need all this SPACE? I live by myself, in a 2,000 sq.ft. house, which is easily 5x as much space as I really need. Much of the space is used to store CRAP that I never use, but most of the space is COMPLETELY unused. WTF? Not only am I paying for this HUGE house every month, I am also paying to heat and cool it, and CLEAN it. Don’t get me started with all the yard work.
So I was sold. Tiny space, yep, I can do that. So I started looking into sail boats as an option. Then I realized how hard it would be to get a motorcycle on board, and I put that idea on hold. Another idea evolved from the fact that building tiny houses is ILLEGAL in almost every community in America. Many builders skirt local building ordinances(min. size) by building onto a trailer platform. Once you put wheels on it, ALL codes and requirements go out the window. I like that. I also liked the mobility aspect. Crank it up, hitch it up, move on.
So I played with the Tiny Home on Wheels idea for several months. Mostly because they looked SO COOL, and they had many of the assets I was looking for. Then I began to realize how heavy, bulky and expensive they were to build. The idea that the real design of a more permanent structure on wheels (mobile home) became less appealing. So the RV idea came into the picture. Class A, Class C, all pre-built, ready for the road, and living inside. For about the same cost or less of building a 400 sq.ft. home on wheels, I could purchase a used RV, built for rolling down the road for 100,000 miles or so. So I went shopping.
After looking at several hundred traditional RV’s, I decided what I wanted was a solidly-built chassis, with quality construction on the inside as well. This does not exist in the real world, outside names like Prevost, and Wanderlodge. So a typical RV, I discovered, was cheaply built trailer, driven by a pickup truck. The problem is, a typical used RV is well withing my price range. A used Prevost is not. Even a 10 year old Prevost is a quarter million dollars. I started looking for more alternatives.
I knew that some people turned used school buses into RV’s. In fact, Wanderlodge uses Blue Bird frames and engines to construct their luxury version of an RV. Additionally, sometimes it is very hard to distinguish a converted school bus from a $1.5 million dollar Wanderlodge. The call them Skoolies. The projects range from basic, redneck-engineered “campers”, to really nice luxury coaches. My plan is to fall somewhere in the middle. I plan to document THAT journey here also.
I am the high bidder on 2 used buses currently.