We’ll look back on this and smile because it was life and we decided to live it.
We said goodbye to our friend The Big Blue Bus tonight. I can’t help but shed a few tears as I write this. What an adventure we’ve had the last 16 months since we bought the bus! I’m thankful for every one of our experiences.
It all started when we learned it would take 6 months for Jake’s transition back into the Air Force to be complete. We had six months to do anything we wanted to do. We came up with the crazy idea to sell practically everything we had, including our house, buy a bus and travel the country for those six months.
We were limited in funds and traveling in a bus seemed like exactly the right course of action. We couldn’t have been happier with our purchase of The Big Blue Bus. It was exactly what we needed and quickly became our home. (You can find pictures of the interior here.)
Living in 210 square feet with four children (including two teenagers) but without a bathroom, a kitchen, or a bedroom door was not without challenges. But it also had the most magnificent moments. The memories we made will stay with us forever. If you ask our children if they enjoyed living on a bus, they will give you a giant smile and say, “It was AWESOME!”
We started in Florida and drove across the country and Canada to Alaska. Then we headed south from Washington to Oregon and California. After visiting Arizona we set our sights on Texas. The original six months turned into a year. The last six months we didn’t live on the bus full-time, though we did continue to travel. We finished the loop around the country by driving from Texas to Florida, spent a couple weeks in Puerto Rico as well as a month in Utah over two separate visits. It was a year of adventure. In all we covered 15,000 miles, visited 18 states, 5 provinces, a territory, and Mexico for a day.
But that’s just a travel log. The real story is in the details. Like all the people we met and got to spend time with. Our year was full of the most incredible people! It was also full of the ups and downs of daily life. I’m working on recording all those details because they are too precious to be forgotten. Life with The Big Blue Bus changed us. It looked nothing like we thought it would. But it was everything we needed it to be. We are stronger as a family. We know that with the help of The Lord we can conquer anything that is placed before us. My heart is so grateful for the last year. It was filled with stories we’ll never forget as well as innumerable tender mercies from The Lord.
I have found a peace and patience with life that I never had before. Those are the two biggest lessons I learned on the bus. Both come from trust in the Lord. I can trust His plan and I can trust His timing. Often they are completely different than my plan and my timing. And that is okay.
When our year was finished and we were back to our regularly scheduled program, we spent a considerable amount of time trying to decide what to do with this Big Blue Bus that we loved and that was now a part of our family. As we prayed, our thoughts turned to selling it. After our epic year, we could certainly use the money. We felt it was the answer to our prayers. It was also time to explore other adventures, adventures that didn’t include the bus. I started making my list of dreams which includes surf school in Nicaragua, visiting Josh’s mentor and his family in Costa Rica, backpacking in Alaska, bicycling across Colorado, a romantic vacation to Italy – just Jake and I, and a month long trip to Europe for our family when Jacob returns from his mission. (When we dream, we dream BIG.) But then as we settled into life and took a few weekend trips, we wondered how we could part with our friend the bus.
Again, the Lord blessed us with a tender mercy. He sent us The Webb family. When I first met Stephanie, I knew she was a kindred spirit. (Though as we just finished reading and discussing Anne of Green Gables together, I think I’ll call her my bosom friend.) Our hearts beat to a similar drum. We dream of simplicity, adventure and travel. We’d live in a tiny home over a mansion any day as long as we could have a wall full of books. We homeschool and are passionate about self education and setting an example. Her husband even flies the same aircraft for the military that Jake does. Speaking of, her husband is pretty amazing too! He’s passionate about endurance sports. You should check out his blog here.
When I mentioned that we were going to sell the bus, she knew she wanted it. She wanted it with her whole heart and soul. She wanted it from the tips of her toes and with every fiber of her being. She was a tender mercy that Heavenly Father sent specifically for me. We may need to sell the bus, but it was going to a friend, and someone who will love it and treasure it as much as we did. I can’t wait to follow her family as they have their own epic adventures in The Big Blue Bus.
Today when we drove away from their house after dropping off the bus, I cried. And Betsy cried. Poor girl. She’s going to miss the bus too. We all will. But I also feel peace. It’s the right thing to do. The bus wasn’t our first adventure and it won’t be our last. But it was one hell of a ride.