Introducing Our School Bus Project and the Story Behind It | Creative Living
I’ll get into all of that more below, but I wanted to start by sharing with you why Shane and I made this decision for our family in the first place.
The beginning phase of our 40ft. school bus renovation, Fall 2020
We joke that this was our big 2020 covid purchase, like I’m sure many others made during that year to feel a little better. The dream of us traveling the country with our little family someday has been in us ever since we first got married.
A few years ago I was invited to be a vendor at Magnolia Spring at the Silos so we saw the opportunity to “test” this dream of ours by renting a motorhome to make the trip to Texas. Even though there were quite a handful of ups and downs we experienced through the trip (especially with 5 kids in tow at the time) the answer was still a yes for us. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it made our dream to travel the country grow even more.
Shane and I had been talking about taking a long trip to get out the summer heat for a while and started loosely talking about the idea of renovating a motorhome or camper. The more we looked into that idea the more we realized doing this with a motorhome wasn’t lining up with what we would need to accommodate our little (but big) family. Fast forward to 2020 a friend of ours introduced us to the Skoolie trend and a couple months later they stopped by our house to show us their minibus they had purchased to renovate (aka, their skoolie). It was a fraction of the price of buying a motorhome and the thing was completely empty and ready to be fully customized.
In that instant I said to Shane, half jokingly, “This is what we need!”. My heart kinda jumped a little at the thought of getting to design and customize a mini mobile home for our family, but honestly I didn’t think much of it when I made the comment. If anything, I thought it was still a far off dream that maybe would come when our kids were in high school.
A month or so went by and I started noticing Shane searching google and craigslist for school buses for sale. Something to know about my husband is that once he gets an idea in his head 99% of the time he’s going to make it happen–which can be thrilling and scary all at once, haha! But again, I thought it was a long shot (and a big investment for us if we actually went through with it) so I didn’t hold on to the idea too tightly.
Another few weeks went by and before I could fully wrap my head around the fact that we could actually do this, Shane was making his way up north in the middle of an Arizona summer heat to purchase and bring home our school bus, which we now call “Birdie”.
It was all so quick and also a little too easy to not pass it up. Once we both were on board with doing it, it made so much sense to do it now. It was in mint condition and already gutted on the inside, so the process had somewhat already been started. It seemed like an easy win to jumpstart the renovation, thinking “oh 5-6 months and we’ll be one the road with our family in no time”… so we thought.
THE WHY FOR OUR FAMILY
Like I mentioned, traveling with our family has been a dream of ours for a long time. For us, it's about giving our kids the opportunity to experience the world outside their comfort zone, to be together intentionally as a family, and to make memories with them they’ll hold onto for the rest of their lives.
Both of us traveled a lot in college and a lot more in our first year of marriage and we would both say that these experiences were some of the most life-giving and maturing parts of our lives. To be able to sit with others different from us, hear stories, and enter into their culture and world a bit was a gift and blessing that can never be bought or manufactured.
Something we want our kids to grow up knowing and understanding is that this life is not all about us, but more so about the beauty of getting to see, know, understand, and love others. It’s about the beauty of going through experiences that may be hard and stretching. And the gift that traveling together brings for our relationships when we make intentional time together.While traveling the world with them is still a dream in my heart, starting with this project feels like the next right thing for us. Not to mention it’s the most practical for a family of our size and kids' ages.
THE WHY IN SHARING WITH YOU
I felt this part of the story was important so you understand my heart in letting you into this project with us.
Like I said above, for a while I wasn’t sure if sharing it made sense or aligned well here. I’m pretty intentional about the things I share with you and didn’t want this project to be something that felt like I was flaunting it or randomly talking about a cool side project with no purpose behind it.
In a nutshell, I wanted to make sure that I was sharing this in a way that felt in line with the reason I share everything here–to inspire a life full of creativity, intention, and beauty.
So just to be clear, no, I’m not becoming a tiny home renovation blogger or travel vlogger or even an expert on skoolies (please no! haha).Another aspect to this was that this journey has been one we’ve been on for almost two full years now and like I said before, I didn't know if I was ever going to be able to share at all. The amount of stories and stresses and tears that we’ve gone through to make this dream of ours happen has been more than I can write in a single post. So I held off until the timing of it felt good and right and real, not trying to make something happen and put it out there in the world when in the background this project wasn’t getting off the ground.
Little by little we were making progress and were feeling like we were gaining momentum with getting this done. I started to feel like I could finally share about it soon...until a curveball hit us once again. It was another night of Shane and I processing the roadblocks we were coming up against and tears were streaming down my face as we weighed the options of giving up on this or moving forward. We decided that logistically we were too far along to turn back now and that ultimately deep in our hearts the outcome of seeing it through would still be worth it in the end.
And that’s when the “why” behind sharing this project with the world clicked for me.
Going after your dreams doesn’t come easy or without obstacles or pain or sacrifice. It doesn’t happen in a day or a year for that matter. Sometimes it takes sitting down with your spouse to look at everything from different angles with open hands knowing you may have to give it up or take a new direction.Sometimes it takes listening to others and letting them give you perspectives you can’t see. Sometimes it means being open to the journey of how you will make it happen knowing it may look different than how you thought it would play out originally.
When we keep our heart focused on the bigger picture, choosing to go through and do the hard work, and trusting in the end that it will all be worth it, we may even experience the outcome better than we had ever dreamed before.
My hope and purpose in letting you into this is that you would start to look at your life and see the opportunities you have to go after your dreams and deepest desires. You’ll learn things, grow deeper, dream bigger, and look back with gratitude on the journey that produced these outcomes. More outcomes that came along the way that you never saw when you started, but ones that you wouldn’t change for anything.
Although we are starting to see a light at the end of this project, we still have a ways to go and continue to hold it with open hands. I’m excited to take you on the rest of this journey with us and when I share the next post about it I’ll take you through my inspiration boards, the way we needed it to function for our family and probably a story or two from this long long journey that is so laughable you may not believe it really happened. (but I assure you, it did!)
I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think! :)
Thanks for being here friends!