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Living on a bus… still | The Big Blue Bus Tour


We’re still living on the bus. In case you were wondering.

It’s been a learning experience and we’ve found a new saying. What was once unacceptable is now acceptable. We find opportunities to say it at least once a day. Sometimes more. Living on a bus changes everything. E V E R Y T H I N G.

I have a sister who is looking at going full time on the road with her family. They want to buy a 40 foot 5th wheel. She sent me some pictures and my first response was “I could live in that!”.

In a rig like that you can have all the comforts of home: a private bathroom (two actually!), your own bedroom, a full kitchen with a refrigerator and oven and even a washer and dryer. Their biggest hangup is getting a king bed instead of a queen. They really want a king, but it’s not common.

Compared to that our humble bus looks even more humble. Why in the world didn’t we do something like that?! It sure looks greener on that side of the fence and can I be honest? I’m jealous.

But I have to remember that when we started this whole thing we had originally looked at buying a travel trailer and truck. We could have had all the comforts of home. We chose not to. If we had done that we’d be on a whole different kind of adventure. Different and perhaps a little easier. We could have a bedroom door for heaven’s sake! But that’s just Jake and I. We never go for the easy road. Ever.

There is something that compels us to do hard things. Something about being different and not conforming. In the planning stages, that’s all great and dandy. “Let’s live in a bus!” we said. “It will be fun!” we said. In practice the reality of it is something we live with every day.

Every morning we make our way to a public bathhouse and wear shoes when we shower, Jake and I live with no bedroom door, no privacy. Our boys sleep in 27″ wide bunks – barely enough for them to lay flat. We shop every other day for fresh food because our cooler is the size of a shoe box. We heat our water in a kettle and do dishes in a bucket. At night I pee in a bag. We wanted different? We got different.

I just went back and read a post I wrote on July 10 – when we decided to live in a bus. I invite you to read it if you are feeling the least bit sorry for us. It was good for me to read. This life we are living right now was a conscious decision.

We wanted more than an adventure. Our life has been full of adventures. We wanted EPIC (remember?)! It had to be more than a road trip. It had to be something that challenged us, something different, something extraordinary. Well, we got it! Everyday routine is a challenge.

But while I detest walking to the bathhouse every morning (DETEST IT), I’m thankful that I can have a shower. It could be worse. And there are a couple things that make our burden light that we had originally though we could do without. Like our minivan. I’m SO thankful for our minivan! I’m glad that the bus is not our only mode of transportation. Especially after those few days in Eureka when the boys took the van and we were left with only the bus to drive to get us around! Also I’m so grateful that Jake didn’t pursue his original intention of having us wash laundry on a washboard. He went so far as to order the special soap. In light of that I can even be grateful for laundromats!

So while this little space feels really small sometimes, I’m watching our family grow. I’m watching as we overcome difficulties as a family. We have the bookshelf I wanted and we’re reading great books. We didn’t bring the piano. The thought of that makes me laugh. We haven’t had rain, but we’ve had gorgeous days filled with sunshine and hikes.

This life we are living is the life we chose. Someday it will be over. Someday it will be a memory.

As for my sister, her family will likely be on the road for a couple years. With that in mind, she deserves some comforts of home. And I can’t wait to meet them on the road and use her bathroom, bake cookies in her oven, and throw a load of laundry (or 12) in her washer. And when she’s been on the road forever and needs a break, she can come hang at my house and take a break from the small spaces!


November 13, 2013 - 12:54 pm

Becca - That picture of Betsy could make some decent blackmail one day! I just laughed that it was the one you included with the post… very fitting!
I have envied your time with your family…. but not your bathroom situation!

November 13, 2013 - 8:54 pm

Tracy Bloom Wise - I am loving your journey. Thanks for sharing with everyone.

November 13, 2013 - 10:11 pm

Margie Malkin-Juszczak - Your trials, travels and amazing photography put a smile on my face! Many years back my husband, myself and 4 young daughters tented across the country, I can relate to the shower shoes, the washing of the dishes, peeing in the middle of a night, and the lack of privacy..treasure each moment, what an amazing journey you are on, your bus, the bunks, the bookshelf..awesome…We still love the journey, My bus, which has all the bells and whistles has just been officially placed on boards in storage for the next month as the cold settles in the northeast..packing it up today, I was alone just thinking about what an amazing time we had driving this past summer across the country, glaming if you will.. thank you for sharing your trip, I hope one day our buses pass in the wind!

November 14, 2013 - 12:16 am

Lisa Wood - We live in a Bus!! Mind you it has a shower, a kitchen sink, a gas cook top and a washing machine. It doesn’t have a toilet so we use the Caravan Park Toilet….but I so would LOVE and give anything for a Bedroom door :)
I love looking at your Bus Pictures. Its gorgeous what you have created….
We live in our Motorhome as a family of five, and no desire to move back into a house anytime soon, but one day I would love a vehicle that has more – something with a bath tub would be nice! And storage bins, and a toilet….now that would be my ideal place to live.
Love your photos :)

November 14, 2013 - 3:07 am

Tonya Pace Lupton - Your trip takes me back to the 6 trips our family of 5 took across county to and from NC and Alaska. In 1985 we took off with a 9×9 pup tent. Made it to Alaska 2 weeks early and tried to stay dry and warm in that tent. We graduated to 2 different pop up campers and finally a 27′ tag a long camper. In our travels, we slept just 5 miles from a town in Ohio (1985) that was flattened by a tornado in that pup tent, watched our son learn to crawl in a pop up camper (1988) and even experienced 2 major earthquakes in Southern California in 1992. I know what you mean about the bath houses, washing dishes and your face with water heated in a tea kettle, lack of privacy and those late night potty runs. Think I missed my washer and dryer more than anything. But what WONDERFUL experiences and memories we made with our children while discovering our beautiful country. I love hearing my grown children speak of their childhood and how they couldn’t imagine anything better then the tight quarters we lived in for 30-45 days at a time. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story and photos of the wonderful memories your family is making….together. Hugs and safe travels! <3

November 14, 2013 - 7:56 pm

Steffanie Warren Gillrie - What a great post!

November 17, 2013 - 8:34 pm

Jen Paris - Ha! Just read this. Sorry!! So Tuesday I will plan on you guys taking long, hot showers, doing laundry and everyone can go in separate rooms and even close the doors behind them!

April 10, 2014 - 7:28 am

Life is Good | The Big Blue Bus Tour » Simply b Photos - […] about our bus is the part where having no bathroom, kitchen, or privacy is a bad thing. I wrote this blog post about how doing hard things is actually a good […]

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