By Abigail Epperson
Prior to beginning our fulltime travels, we were an urban family dreaming of
But in the summer of 2015 everything changed. Job opportunities presented themselves that allowed us to start our own business, and we knew our time in the home we loved so much, the only home two of our three kids had known, was coming to an end. We were feeling the Chicago crunch, housing costs and general city living costs were skyrocketing. We were facing decisions that would either move our family into a smaller apartment, relocate us to the suburbs, or travel?
I’d be lying if I said that last option didn’t materialize out of the blue and freak me out a little. The idea of selling everything we owned, leaving the comfort of Chicago, our homeschool community, the theater community, trusting we could sustain a nomadic income, and raising three kids on the open road was both overwhelming and electrifying. Could we do it? Would our boys be happy? Would we be happy? Could I survive without my neighborhood Thai place? Big questions with very few answers. So, we tabled the discussion and moved on with our lives.
That is until one cold night in February 2016. Dozing on the couch, kids fast asleep, just about to call it a day, Jason comes over, sits down next to me and says “what do you think about converting a school bus into an RV?” I looked at him, and I mean, I looked at him because I thought maybe I was dreaming. But, no, I wasn’t dreaming. He was serious. Curiously intrigued I said, “no way,” but Jason saw right through me. Over the next few days, as we struggled to find an RV in our price range and had dedicated space for three growing boys, YouTube videos on
It didn’t take long before a 2002 Thomas fell into our laps. Fresh off an Ohio school district the bus checked off most of our boxes (flat front, extra tall ceilings, nice and long, low mileage), plus the price was right and the seller was motivated. Problem was, we lived in Chicago, in an apartment with zero space to park a bus. We immediately started scouring Craigslist for a shop, lot, or individual who’d be willing to let us keep the bus and convert it on their property for a small monthly fee. Within a few hours, we’d found a guy about 90 minutes from us in Hammond, IN. It wasn’t going to get any better than that, so we made the necessary arrangements, put the kids in the van, and made the five-hour drive there and back to pick up the bus.
With the bus officially ours, we eagerly began the conversion process, a conversion that we would do 100% on our own. We had to move fast if we were going to turn this project around and have a place to lay our heads. Our lease was up end of August and it was late February, and did I mention our youngest was going to undergo surgery during our conversion timeline? Our cup most definitely runneth over.
Looking back, I’m amazed we accomplished all that we did. It may not have been the smartest move, and we certainly pushed ourselves to the physical and mental limit, but we did get it done. In six months we converted a bus into a home, sold 90% of all our belongings and continued to build our business and homeschool our kids. Determination and a hard deadline are incredible motivators.
At the end of August, we officially became a
We have traveled to some of our nations most beautiful parks, and we have experienced a host of urban adventures in between, and all of this has been done with a home on wheels keeping us warm and safe.
I may not have my local Thai place or a Starbucks on every corner, but what I do have is a life of travel with the people I love most in a home that was created with our own very hands. It is truly a grand adventure, and boy, am I glad we didn’t wait until the kids were older.
You can find more information on the total cost of our conversion by clicking here.
Want to see what our home on wheels looks like? Check out our YouTube video for a quick walk-through.
This article first appeared on the FMCAdventure Blog. To read the original article click here: