I must admit, I am truly prosperous to have a woman who loves me and would go just about anywhere with me. I am truly a lucky guy. And god knows I am intrigued by the magic bus trip and I truly do want to do it for at least a year just to see if I find it fulfilling. I want to do this, but I would be lying if I said I do not have reservations. That does not mean I should not go through with it, it only means I am more focused on my concerns over the trip than I am about the potential rewards. I do not like it when I go and do something stupid!
I truly do believe I would want to do this for the remainder of my life, if I just tasted it and learned enough to truly make it my own and to feel secure in it. So I think I truly do want to take this leap, but I do so with some fear and reservation, for it is something I have never done before. There is nothing wrong with that, I think.
But Jen has pushed the idea just a little – she gave a small nudge. I feel she did this because she feels it is right for both her and me. I trust her opinions. Her opinions are closer to my own than they are with most people; therefore, the degree in which I trust her can be directly measured against the amount of trust I would place in myself. That is a fair bit of trust!
Anyway, enough about my life consequences thoughts concerning the magic bus question. I do not think I could say I was ever truly happy with what I did with my life if I did not try to at least experience the potential rewards of such a journey.
So for a few weeks now, we have been having serious discussions about RVing for the remainder of our lives, or rather an extended period of time as yet to be defined. We looked over a few options and truly think the best option for us is to try to buy a used school bus and to convert it into a custom motor home.
There are a few reasons for this decision, not the least of which is affordability and sustainability. First of all, a school bus is one of the safest vehicles you could possibly live out of. The entire passenger compartment of the vehicle is a giant crash roll-cage designed with the safety of children in mind. Second – the economics – the law of supply and demand makes them affordable! Third, you can custom build it yourself, over the course of a period of time, and live out of it while you are doing it, so that you can build your home around your new life; which, is the much more intelligent, convenient, and personally satisfying option, I think. Building your home around your life could only lead to a happy and harmonious home, in my opinion, because it will always be the most sustainable home for you, and it will improve as your sustainability skills improve.
So we decided on a school bus. We already have an idea of what sort of school bus we want. We want a front wheel drive diesel powered and dog-nosed school bus, if such a bus is possible; otherwise we will settle for dog-nosed and diesel. We already determined the short buses are too small for two people, so we are going to toy with finding the correct size in the larger ones. For me, the shortest bus we can get, and still create a comfortable living experience, would be the best length bus. I truly hope to keep it under 30 feet, but I am beginning to think that is not going to happen.
Then I insisted that we purchase tire chains for the school bus (I lived in the Pocono Mountains when I went to school and rode buses with tire chains), and that we have a really good mechanic's tool chest and other necessary tools in the back. I got into security mode and started talking about having hanging areas for backpacks (in case we have to hoof it) and a bike rack on the back to carry one sturdy mountain bike for each of us (to get around without the bus). I went on about options for obtaining money and insisted we have space in the vehicle for folding tables to sell things at festivals.
Jen started talking about solar power, showers, room for beds, toilets, coaches, and desks. We both started talking about kitchens (probably because we both like to cook). So the conversation got onto the interior dimensions of any give bus, specifically the width.
I looked up the dimensions of a school bus, in general, and learned a few things. First, school buses are generally 8 feet wide with about 7 and a half feet of interior space, widthwise. Second, you can get a rough idea concerning the length of a school bus by countng windows. You count the number of windows and multiply by 25 inches, then divide by 12 to get the length in feet. The latter is neither here nor there though, it is only neat knowledge and really won't determine much for us.
So I am going to look up some school bus conversion floor plans today. Last night, I drew up a sort of rough draft, based on a 36 foot school bus with an interior floor area of 28 feet by 7 and a half feet. It turns out I could conceive of something satisfactory that would fit into that area. I would even be able to fit a queen size bed and a 3 foot by 7 and a half foot shed/garage area, along with a dining area, desk, coach, kitchen, shower and tub, a toilet, two closets, and storage area for clothing and odds and ends. It would even have a direct line of sight down the center of the bus and leave a walkway near the size of a normal hallway following the same course. Of course, the drawing did not account for the dimensions of walls and such – it was just a rough idea.
But we have many questions we need to ask and many things to find out. There is much learning to do! We need to know about drivers licenses, insurance, civil rights and classification differences concerning those rights, the possible conversion of the diesel bus into a veggie bus, power options, plumbing options, camping options, kitchen options, and other such things. And finally, for me to figure out whether or not I am "all talk," as Jen put it, or not.
Am I all talk? Can I do this? Can we do this? I want to find out.