It’s been two months since we bought our school bus to convert it into our own home for next year. We may still be in the gutting phase, our arms and back aching as we’ve never experienced before. Yet, we are happy and excited about our future in the bus. It’s an adventure we daydream about daily. I constantly think of bus design, how we will decorate it and the places we will go on our bus. Read more about how we got to this place here.
But under all that excitement, even us who love a good adventure, there is fear. Some things make me nervous about this journey we are taking. And I think we should talk about these things. Because school bus life, as fun as it looks with all the adventures, it has its downs. We know that. And even though, we aren’t officially living that bus life just yet, maybe we can connect with some other people about the uncertainties we are feeling about bus life.
Living in a small space as a family
I’ve seen enough families on YouTube doing the tiny living thing and thriving to know that it’s possible. What I fear is the initial shock of going from 1000 sqft into like 250 sqft if that. What happens when the honeymoon phase of the bus living fades away and we realize the reality of living in 250 sqft skoolie with 2 kids and 2 dogs.
Here are some questions I keep asking myself.
- Are we going to get on each other’s nerves a lot?
- How am I going to keep up with the mess?
- Will our personal space be respected when we need that time out?
- What is it going to be like to go back down to only having 1 toilet?
I’m sure we will have moments. It will take time to work things out. To find a routine that works for us a family. I’m optimistic about it all, but I still wonder about these things.
School buses are notorious for being too hot or cold. All the windows which are the charming part of bus life, are incredibly drafty so we have been warned. Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue if you were to put in all new windows, but that won’t be happening for us. The thing is that I get cold super easily. We’ve already experienced what it’s like to not have central heat for 4 days in the mid-winter of New England. Surviving by just a small fireplace that was incredibly inefficient. I hope to never go through that again.
It seems that most of the bus life community ditch the cold weather and snow, but for us, as we don’t plan to move around a lot, it means here we come cold temps and some snow.
- How many sources of heat do we need?
- Will we be able to keep up with heating the bus?
- Will I always be cold?
- What will happen if our pipes freeze?
On the flip side….
- What happens if it gets too hot for the dogs?
- How do you keep them cool enough during the heat with no AC unit?
Seriously, all the questions are running through my mind. I know that we will figure things out as we go. We will take precautions. Maybe we will install an AC unit.
Not having good internet
This one is both a blessing and a fear. It’s good in the fact that not having easy internet access will push us to occupy our free time away from a screen. I’ll admit that I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of letting screens occupy our families time way too much. It will teach us to find hobbies and interests that are new to us that we enjoy. It will help with my social media addiction.
But it also makes it difficult to listen to music or podcasts. To Skype our family members we don’t get to see very often. To work on this online business I want to create.
It’s not the lack of internet that I worry about. We’ve gone 8 months without proper internet, only relying on cell phones to provide us with all the data usage we could imagine. The thing is that even though we have great service in our area when it comes to loading any data, it does a terrible job. There might be amazing services or products our there that can help solve all my internet issues, but I just don’t know of these just yet.
This one goes along with the internet one, but I hate how much we rely on screens right now for giving us something to do. 90% of my hobbies just happen to be online as well. It’s one of our goals for bus life to decrease our technology use time. We hope to be outdoors exploring more. Spending quality family time together and making memories.
Ultimately boredom is going to hit, and I have this distinct feeling it will hit hard. With the limited space that we shall share as a family, it means a very curated minimal amount of things will be going on the bus. Sure, it will be of the stuff that we love. The things that we cherish the most. But from experience, even those things after a while can get old sometimes.
As I type this, it doesn’t sound like such a terrible thing to fear. I feel silly to be worried about being bored. Like I’m some millennial who can’t go through life without constantly being stimulated and entertained. But I have to argue that there is this thing called winter, and snow. As a family in general, we love the snow. It provides tons of fun things to do. Living in New Hampshire also taught me that no matter how much you can love the cold and snow, after a while you get cold and you find yourself back indoors again. Hence the boredom and my fear of it with 2 kids in a converted school bus.
Limited water, electric supply
I feel a slight win at this already, purely since we don’t wash our hair every day. This equals out us saving a ton of water in general when it comes to showers. I’ll be real, taking proper showers in a skoolie just seems ridiculous anyway. Why you make ask? Because there isn’t an endless supply of water. This leads me to believe that we will be doing mostly rinse off showers only in the bus. Real showers will be left to the gym, or maybe a campground if we stay there.
I did have a little freak out a couple of weeks when I realized that shaving is going to be a whole new world for me. But I’m sure I’ll figure something out. If you do have any suggestions, don’t hesitate to send them my way.
We plan for a 100-gallon freshwater tank to provide with our water. But I can’t but wonder……
- well how long will that last us as a family of 4?
- How many times a week are we going to need to fill up?
- How much water do we really need?
Between cooking and dishes, it just feels like water is going to disappear so quickly. Alongside the water is electricity. Sure it worries me that if we were to have multiple days of overcast or rain on how solar panels will do. We are accustomed to unplugging everything out of wall sockets to save money, so that’s not a worry. Of course, I’m in no habit of having to unplug the fridge, so if that is the case, well hopefully I figured that out soon.
I would say Colby is the one more freaking out about this in regards to not having a solar system not big enough to provide enough electricity. And the money it’s going to cost to install a system. He keeps talking to me about solar and watts. I just give him the glossy eye, one-word responses because I have no idea of what he is talking about. But I understand the fear.
Our bus breaking down in the middle of nowhere
Buses might be pretty cheap to purchase, but getting them fixed? That’s a completely different story so I hear. I’ve seen enough video’s on YouTube how skoolies are breaking down in the middle of nowhere. These YouTubers seem to hide their stress and anxiety well in these situations.
I’m not that person. I have no faith in myself to even drive the bus, let alone to figure out what’s wrong with the thing. So that’s all on Colby. Except that he has this nasty habit of taking our cars in places which they shouldn’t go, getting them stuck or popping tires. Somehow I don’t see that changing with the bus. Of course, there is the legit fear of the bus just plain not starting, things breaking and requiring maintenance. How will we get help? How much is going to cost? With the bus being our full-time home, where we going to live if it needs work done?
Well, there you have it. Some of the things that we are freaking out about before we even move into our school bus. And all the questions that I seem to have on how we are going to make it all work. I have huge faith that once we start living on the bus full time, we will figure all of this out. And I’m going to laugh at myself for being so worried about everything. But until then, these are the legit fears that I have that I won’t talk about with you. So if you are considering bus life and have all the questions and fear about how you are going to make it work, just know your not the only one.