The Dream

As I sit here with my warm almond milk hippie creamer in my very non-hippie coffee trying to think of where to start…I can’t help but giggle because I’m sure most of you are all asking yourselves the same question.  “What on earth made you want to do THIS?”.  Well, that’s probably the easiest answer I could give you throughout this entire journey past and future, Freedom.

Have you ever just been sitting at home, paying bills and trying to find some way some how to put SOME money in savings, get all of your bills that month paid on time, buy new weather and size appropriate clothes for the kids, and hell…yourself too (because lets be honest…were in our late 20’s and the energy and budget to eat healthy aren’t always where we want them).  Then on top of necessities, you kinda wanna go on a date that MONTH, or maybe you want to do something fun and special with the kids that summer…or for heavens sake you just want one thing in, on or around your house to not need a repair that inevitably always costs over $500…there goes that nest egg you had JUST started a few months ago…ugh!

I was beginning to feel that Every.  Single.  Day.  That deep desire for more than just “work to live and live to work” life.  I wanted more than this little 3.5 acre money pit of a house and Georgia.  I wanted to live a life I would no longer feel so much resentment towards. I find myself always pushing my own desires to the side for what everyone else wanted because I was afraid of what would happen if I put my foot down and demanded my own happiness.  The times I thought I was doing what I wanted I was usually just being rebellious and making a hasty decision just to prove that I COULD do whatever I wanted.  Yet…I wasn’t actually doing anything that I WANTED. I was doing what I thought my only option was without considering that what I really want may be difficult but would bring so much more.  My pure, unbridled happiness.  Not the kind you have to work for but the good kind that just explodes from the deepest part of you.

I began browsing the travel section of Pinterest.  Dreams upon dreams were piling up on top of each other:  we could live in Europe!!  No wait…lets buy property and build a shipping container house on it ourselves, or rent a loft in downtown or maybe a combination of them all. Then I saw it.  The first blog about full time RVing I had ever seen and it absolutely blew my mind.  Living full time in a more cozy renovated permanent style RV or fifth wheel with your children, ROADschooling them (that’s going to be another blog another day!) and living minimalistic well traveled lives!

A concept I had never even considered was staring me down with a solution to all of my qualms with life at the moment.

  •  I wanted to be close to my family
  • I desperately missed Washington
  • I wanted my kids to know ALL of their grandparents and aunts and uncles
  • To be raised with a sense of family closeness that I never REALLY felt but desperately wanted
  • I didn’t want to be forced to only see our older children on our current schedules, but to be able to enjoy them during the school year if we chose
  • Oh but then I so badly wanted to travel…EVERYWHERE!

Skip was nervous when I mentioned it.  I instantly recognized that look in his eyes as the “um. Are you serious right now?  Is this a legit question?” face.  The face all wives know and HATE.  The one that makes us want to stomp our feet and do it anyway just because you wouldn’t go along with our crazy outlandish completely ridiculous idea {insert big pouty “harrumph”}  (not that I could blame him…it even sounded too good to be true to me so I can imagine he was not even in my realm of thinking at the moment).  Several times just for the heck of it I would drag him to go look at RV’s, read blogs and watch documentaries.  He did it all and didn’t complain once…most of the time he kind of enjoyed it.  I did it all knowing There was a 99% chance nothing would come of it, but hey, a girl can dream.  I was convinced this could be a real thing for us but he was not in the slightest…though he did agree it would be fun!  His biggest concern was stability.  “What are we supposed to do for work?  We still need to MAKE money.” he would say and I would retort with “we would figure all of that out…the opportunities are endless!”.  Eventually we decided to go with Skips dream first because we found the perfect house for it and well, everything was right until it wasn’t.

Once again I’m browsing Pinterest and I spot a school bus that has been beautifully converted into an RV for a small fraction of the cost, completely custom, sturdy and strong (these things are designed to protect very precious cargo so why WOULDN’T you want a bus?) and though they don’t come with warranties, they also don’t come with the RV price tag since most of it can be done with salvage items!  Great for those wanting to live on a smaller scale!  Once again I brought it to Skip…explained everything in detail with much enthusiasm…and this time…he smiled and happily indulged me.

Which leads us to the here and now.  We had the dream but what…what is the PLAN?!

The plan as of right now is to get this bad bus ready for her first Maiden Voyage in a little under two years.  Our current lease is up 1 Dec 17 and we are hoping to extend month to month until after the last frost up NORTH where our kids are.  That way we can start our road trip without any worry of encountering snow right out the gat.  Well grab each of the kids and do some summer traveling…then we’ll bring them back or fly them back from wherever we are. From there we will wrap up our warm weather tour and head to our first seasonal parking place.  We figure one winter we will park at his dads property in California 30min from Tahoe.  Go camping on weekends with the skoolie, depending on weather we may go up to my family in Washington for Thanksgiving.  Then come warmer months we would head out to be with our kids and friends around the country and the process would continue.  We have the option to live in a different state each winter to allow us to be close and spend consistent time with anyone in our realm of friends and family.  Or if we want to tour the south where its nice and warm we can do that for a winter and home school.  Our options are endless, because were free.

 

THE STARS HAVE ALIGNED!

WE GOT THE BUS!!  What a WHIRLWIND few days!  One minute we are sketching out plans for the garden and pastures and the next we own a BUS!

As soon as my mother called to confirm, I breathed a deep sigh of relief and excitement.  My dream is coming true.  For what seems like the first time in my life…things moved seamlessly into place like this was exactly what was supposed to be happening.

I purchased the plane ticket the next day for Skip to fly into Phoenix on June 8th to pick up our girl and bring her on home by the 11th!  Poor guy just made this trip two and a half years ago and has not been shy about his heroic willingness to make this drive for me and I willingly play along because he is my Knight in shining armor after all!  Although his trip two years ago had air conditioning and it was in early December, not June on a bus with no AC.  *awkward face* sorry babe.

I’m so beyond excited to begin the real fun of stripping her bare are watching her come to life all over again!  Hopefully it wont take long for us to come up with a suitable name for her.

 

Holding Our Breath…

Three days ago we found out the devastating news that the house we currently rent is not in our budget like we were originally told.  Talk about a heart breaker!  I was putting my dream of touring the country in a fifth wheel with my family on hold so my husband could have his dream of buying this house, renovating it over the next several years and starting our hobby farm on this beautiful 3.5 acres.  Which is the reason part of me feels guilty, because three days ago I saw an opportunity for MY dream to come true.  However Skip still felt this looming dark cloud of financial instability and I was sure he still wouldn’t go for it. Even still, I talked and yammered on about how fun it would be and obsessed over pictures on Pinterest like I did two years ago.  He would stare at me like I was out of my mind but was still kinda interested because it DID sound like fun.

But, this time would be different.  Skip looked me in the eye and said “If you want this, if you really do want this…go find us a bus.”

Three days of cramming every bit of information about buses into my brain that I possibly could.  Researching engines and transmissions, reading forum after forum about the process from start to finish, expected costs, UNexpected costs, space for our family, bus dealers and so much more!  I had several lists made for things to look for and things to avoid, things we couldn’t live without and things we were willing to sacrifice.  Then I found her.  A 2000 International RE3000 with an 8.7 NAVISTAR DT530 engine and an MD3060 Allison Transmission, less than 200k miles, no rust fantastic tires and way more than our minimum 12 rows!  Shes PERFECT!

AAAAAAND shes $5800 more than we were willing to spend from our savings.  DRAT!  That’s not even mentioning the fact that it is in Phoenix, AZ!  However, I hadn’t lost all hope yet.  Instead, I did what any other millennial would have done!  I called my Mother. (OK, maybe not any…but this was time sensitive extenuating circumstances!)

Long story short, grandma sold her house for a lot of money but, she’s getting old so a financial adviser helped her ration it out for the rest of her expected life based on her current health.  That serves as her income qualifier for medical insurance, so she can’t just dip into it whenever she feels like it.  If all goes well the adviser and my mother will be able to come up with a solution that will work.

On top of that I was able to talk to the dealer about our max price and to my shock and aw, they didn’t just bring the price low enough to cover sales tax, but also to cover our gas driving her home!  Holy cows, thank you so much to AAA Bus Sales in Phoenix!

so now we hold our breath…and wait for the last duck to get in line.