Letters to Ourselves
I hope you are having a great time renovating and adventuring on your bus! Hopefully when times get tough, as they surely will, this letter reestablishes your motivation and reminds you that, you wanted this! Back in 2019 when you wrote this, in a world of manufactured desires and consumer driven goals, you were incredibly unhappy. You felt you had wasted your twenties following societies mantra of 'bigger is better' and a preconceived notion of the 'right way to do things', which forced you into white collar slavery at a very early age with absolutely nothing tangible to show for it. As the character Tyler Durden states in Fight Club, we are "...a slave to the system, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need!" and you found yourself constantly questioning: "What happened to an obtainable American dream? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You figured it's still there, just unrealistic by modern standards and your mediocre means. You'd proclaim, "I want more life! I want more freedom! Why is happiness measured by unnecessary possessions rather than meaningful experience?, are my goals even mine?"
These questions flooded your thoughts daily. You felt more and more trapped by your own life and came to resent yourself for this materialistic existence. You didn't want the next 10 years to have the same result as the last! You wondered, "Have I wasted my youth so I can live free when i'm too old to follow my dreams?" This self imposed hostage mentality led to your condemnation of the way things were, and you concluded that your life trajectory needed an immediate course correction. You made yourself a prisoner, but you also had the key to your own salvation.
'...People say we only live once - but that's not true. We only die once - we live everyday...'
With this in mind, you finally took control of your life. You pursued happiness and freedom your own way. Sure that big house, new car, cookie cutter existence was engrained as the "right way to do things" and didn't look half bad, but you desired financial freedom. You felt that wasting your hard earned income paying off someone else' mortgage was a despicable drain on your wallet. Earning for someone else... No thank you! You yearned for something else; something better - a new path, even if it's the path less traveled. Sure, this stubborn idealism doesn't jive with most modern perspectives - probably why you were scared, even embarrassed to explain all these feelings to your coworkers, friends, and family. But deep down, those that knew you best, understood you longed for something different. Needed it. As you researched alternative lifestyles, you soon found solace that your incredibly divergent decision to forsake a life of wealth was actually a trending choice nation wide. As you went deeper down the rabbit hole of tiny living, homesteading new questions arose...If not a house, what to live in? A tiny home? A truck? An RV? Van life? What do I actually need to make me happy?
You wanted mobility, space, something different, safe, and preferably a blank canvas. This 86'd each aforementioned option. What about a school bus? School buses aren't very mobile (in terms of maneuverability) but they do move! They are spacious, very different, and built with safety to protect our youth - and once the seats are out, can become whatever you want! The idea of repurposing something that’s been decommissioned and giving it new purpose also drew you in immediately. A bus it is! But what kind of bus?
While researching the Skoolie lifestyle you were introduced to the Crown line of bus' that significantly resembled your favoirte VW Kombi panel vans of old. Sure it's not as big (height wise) as other buses, costs significantly more as a collector item, and are typically much older than other used buses...But do you remember that first time you finally laid eyes on a glorious Crown in person in 2018? Love at first sight! It was settled, come hell or high water, you would own a Supercoach! As a king without a Crown, you realized this classic endangered species was hard to find, and each one you did stumble upon needed significant work and money just to operate, let alone renovate. During your half assed search you met your now girlfriend Samantha, and during that courtship you were surprised (but stoked) to learn she too was drawn to the idea of less house, more home. With this new commonality and support came incredible affirmation and enough courage to finally search with purpose. You scoured the internet and contacted collectors - one of which finally pointed you in the direction of a sale... This bus seemed perfect - great condition (for an almost 30 year old bus -that's right it's only a '90) - lived in Washington (your favorite State) and even shared your birthday! Bus 7... Lucky #7. Serendipitous? Maybe. Fate? Seemingly. So on your birthday (also shared with the crowns title date- crazy right?), as a contumacious yet determined recent 33 year old, undeterred by naysayers, you steeled yourself to take the leap and foolhardily took out a loan (yes you hate owing money but this was to secure a future debt free), clicked the "buy it now" option on eBay, and purchased your dream home! Future you is proud of you! This bus was a true fixer upper in every since of the word - but it was yours. This birthday present, an exploration of uncertainty, was just the start to your new heading... your new life. So even when it's hard. Even when others judge you for their lack of understanding. Remember to stay proud and do you. I'm proud of you.
Let the wild rumpus start!
- - - - - - -
To me, time is the most valuable currency we have. It’s nonrefundable. Non Transferable. And comes with an expiration date. Growing up (and I still am) I had a vivid imagination and wishful heart. I dreamed in movies and fairytales and felt life was best spent with your head in the clouds and toes tangled in grass. It was an adventure that never left my backyard. Simple pleasures made me happy and still do. I never was someone who loved getting gifts. I wanted an event. I wanted something that would bring people together to make lasting memories.
My sister and I were raised in a typical middle class family. We spent most of our time alone as our dad worked 2-3 jobs to barely afford a life he thought we deserved. At the end of the day we grew up with a less than part-time dad and he missed out on the most important time of our lives. He traded time for money and missed the bigger picture. We didn’t care about the big house and flashy cars; we cared about bike rides, and bedtime stories and the conversations that bring fathers and daughters closer together.
As a twenty-something Medical Assistant in Sonoma County I often find myself chained to a desk answering patient phone calls going over every which way to relieve constipation and the necessity of elevating your leg after surgery. I constantly change my desktop wallpaper to some gorgeous landscape far away. Canada. Fiji. Scotland. Montana. Mood determined the destination but ultimately it was anywhere other than where I was. And then - come home to an apartment I hated, filled with things I didn’t need. I found myself staring at the ceiling at night wondering what the point of it all was.
And then I discovered the wonderful world of tiny living. I mean, I basically was already; being in a studio apartment. I got excited at the idea of A) no ridiculously overpriced rent (hello financial freedom!) and B) a home I can travel in (finally living a life I don’t need a vacation from) and C) freedom from the conventional, cookie-cutter life we have all fallen into. I refuse to believe that I was meant to pay bills and die.
Fast forward a few years and enter Myke. Not only did he steal my heart with his contagious smile and sweet puppy dog eyes, but his complete sense of fun and adventure. His outdoorsy, hang loose vibe and Boy Scout survival skills captivated me in a way my inner gypsy couldn’t help but fall for. He appreciated his time. Valued it. Prized it and never took it for granted. He knew what he wanted and lived in every moment. I knew then he was special and know now that he was the tiny living companion I had been waiting for.
Bus life might sound crazy, but life is too short to spend waisting minutes of hours of days of months of years doing something you hate, with people you hate, all because it’s “normal” or “practical”. What could be crazier than that?
Living in a bus may not be a forever, but it’s going to make for one hell of a ride! :)
Sincerely yours and with love,