Our New School Bus

We did something amazing last weekend, we picked up a school bus that we plan to convert into our new home. Now, for some people this may seem like a unexpected choice but for us, it is a well-thought-out logical decision. I've been following a photographer friend of mine for almost three years, watching his story of his family of 5 living in a converted school bus. I've stuck my cellphone with his Instagram photos into my boyfriend's face too many times to count. I've sat around jealous of the lifestyle he lives and wished it was me. And then the pandemic hit, the shut down happened. And as most people spent the time off working on projects around their house, I spent it feeling lost, disconnected and praying for guidance. And one day it hit me like a ton of bricks, we need to buy a school bus.

We can do this, we have the knowledge and the strength this journey will take. My job has the flexibility to travel and to work as much or as little as I want. I'm sick of feeling robbed every month by the amount we pay to rent our house and saving up to own a house just doesn't feel right. My boyfriend's dream is to buy land and build us a home. That just doesn't feel obtainable when we have so many expenses every month just to keep us afloat. The bus will help us scale down our life, afford our living expenses, travel without having to "save up for a vacation" and build our home when we are ready to buy land. For us, it's a perfect choice.

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This is a choice that we included the kids in. I have been talking about the idea pretty much non stop since May, so they had seen tons of pictures and expressed an interest in the idea. About a month ago, my friend Aaron was in town with his family and I reached out to have my kids tour his skoolie. I hadn't seen him in years but I explained the situation, and he thankfully agreed! My kids talked about it for weeks and when the day finally came, they were so excited to go. It was my make it or break it moment. If they hated it, there was no way I could go through with it. I didn't feel right making the choice for their life without their consent. Well, they loved Aaron's bus. They didn't want to leave! And when it was finally time to go home, we had a whole new list of what our bus needed. For my 3 year old, it includes lego's, stuffies and of course the bus needed to be painted green! Duncan is by far the most interested in the bus and since picking it up, he asks about it daily. I can't wait to include him in the build and take him on the road once it's finished!

Instagram @simplyusandabus

About a week ago, I hit my goal of $2500. Time to start bus shopping and go look at a few buses in person. The last few months, I've looked mainly on Craigslist and eBay. I reached out to a few private sellers in the past, but didn't have quite as much money as they wanted. Last weekend, I hit the same selling platforms. Normally on eBay, anything I'd find would be a few states away but this time, I hit a bus dealer in Chicago with two different buses right in our price range. Boom, I was on the phone with him getting more details. I've done enough reading the last few months to know the things we needed to ask about to find the right bus for us. I wasn't positive that it would work out but I told him I would call him in a few days to set up a day to come look. I figured seeing them in person would help even if we didn't end up purchasing one.

A couple days later, I had finally gotten my boyfriend to commit to a day to make the trip into Chicago, so I called. The dealer was very excited that I reached back out and told me he had been looking for my number all morning. He explained that a lady who had just purchased a bus the week prior from him had changed her mind and was asking to sell it back to him for $1000! She was much closer to us and the bus would be cheaper. Funny thing is, it's the exact same size and year as the bus we planned to go look at. He gave me her contact information and wished us the best. I was thrilled to find something at the lower end of our price range.

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When I called Laura, I had no idea that a simple phone call would change our lives forever. Laura explained they had recently bought the bus, on August 4th. Her two teenage sons had pooled the money with two friends to purchase it with the plan to convert it. After seeing how much work it would be, the two friends backed out and her sons were no longer interested in the bus. She really wanted it gone and was happy that I called. I explained to her our plans with the bus and how we could pick it up on Saturday. She was located in Oswego, only an hour and 15 minutes south of Belvidere, which is where the bus would be parked while we convert it. We started discussing details and I finally asked how much she wanted for it, she had told the dealer $1000, so I was hoping it wouldn't be much different. She said she wanted nothing, she was happy to help our family and said it was a lesson learned for her kids. I was completely blown away and when I hung up, I immediately ran outside to tell Bret, he couldn't believe it either. Honestly, I was waiting for her to change her mind. But Saturday when we picked it up, she pulled out a bill of sale for $10. Yes, you read that right. Our new school bus cost us only $10 and it already had a tank of gas in it to drive home. How in the world did this happen for us? It's fate, it's chance, it's luck. But in my opinion, it's God sent. We are supposed to take this path in life. I have felt pulled towards it the last few months and haven't been able to explain why it seemed so right. And then this happens, this miracle moment. And it just justifies to us that this is the right path. This is the way we are meant to travel. Our plans may seem crazy to some but for us, it's absolutely perfect.

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We are now the proud owners of a 2006 Thomas School Bus!

And now the fun starts! Please follow my Instagram for updates on my blog AND add our new page for the bus! We have started a YouTube channel and plan to post fun videos of all the projects during conversion. We are so excited and can't wait to see how it turns out!

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