Inspiring Lives 13: How Living In The Wilderness Brought One Family Together
Where did you find you and your husband find inspiration for building a bus? It’s quite a demanding task to undertake.
Originally it was Ben’s idea to build the bus as a way to save money, get out of debt, and live closer to work. The bus came out of an unhappiness with our current living situation, a desire to be closer together, and the only solution we could find at the time to our current living situation. We found a lot of inspiration from within the van life community. Videos on Youtube and Instagram stories that showed people already living on the road and travelling. We didn’t know what we were getting into or how to build a bus a lot of it was learning as we went along and just embracing the process, which was incredibly stressful and hard and brought us to some crazy places I wouldn’t have thought possible, but even though we aren’t currently living in the bus anymore it was all worth it.
How did living on the bus make you feel as a family?
I felt closer together as a family and that's really it. We moved into the bus in January, which in Colorado is freezing so we were not spending a lot of time outside. Not only that but living in a bus requires a lot of upkeep and so compared to living in a house the amount of time I had to get out into nature was no different than before. We still had things to maintain, things that had to be done to ensure we had water, heat…you name it. Living in the bus if anything was more about us being closer together and spending more time together but a lot of that time was spent making sure we had a spot for the night and all the basic necessities of life.
What was it like raising Jessamyn on the bus? Did you find it challenging?
Living in the bus with Jessamyn was challenging but equally challenging to living in the bus with Ben. The reality is that a bus is a small space and so you very quickly learn a lot about yourself and the others around you. During the time we were in the bus it was a growing experience for everyone as we learned to live without doors and without the traditional boundaries of living in a space bigger than 200 square feet. It was also beautiful though because we were closer together and got to experience life together and go through hard and beautiful moments well together. At the end of this that is what I want to take away, the togetherness and the value of that.
What does motherhood mean to you?
I have been a mother for barely two years and still don’t fully identify with the word mother. For me, it's less about what is being a mother and what does it mean to now live as a family with this tiny human we created. What does life look like with her as she learns and grows and so I guess that for me is motherhood; it's us together growing and experiencing life as a family.
What has been the most disastrous moment you’ve encountered and how did you overcome it?
Honestly, there haven’t been a lot of disastrous moments. I mean yes things have been hard at times but we are all alive and healthy and that's been enough. With downsizing to the bus, getting out of debt, choosing to live intentionally there have been a lot of things that could maybe be considered disastrous but we chose this path and we knew what we were getting into and so each disaster has been something we could get through because this is the path we are on together.
So far, what has been the most beautiful moment you’ve shared as a family?
I don’t know, which I know has been my answer a lot but I don’t think of life in terms of that. Each day has beautiful and hard moments. Each individual moment is something we share together and as we all grow and life changes these moments change and take on new meaning and I’m not even sure exactly where I am going with that except to say you find the beauty in moments, it's up to you to embrace every moment and if you are living life together, it's going to be challenging but it's also going to have a ton of beauty too!
What adventures are in store for you next and where will the bus take you?
So as crazy as it sounds we are actually selling the bus and preparing to move cross country. When we moved into the bus we knew it wouldn’t be forever but we could not have anticipated how quickly we would end up pursuing bigger goals. The bus was a bridge to getting debt free, to living closer together and all of that allowed us to actively pursue another goal of ours which has been to move to Seattle. We are in the process of moving out of the bus and into an apartment while we await the birth of baby number 2 and Ben works on transferring to Seattle for work. We don’t know how we will live out there but do know the bus is not realistic for moving to a new city and starting over with a two-year-old and brand new baby. We have actually talked about going smaller than the bus and may convert a sprinter van to travel in but don’t want to rush anything until I’ve given birth and Ben has settled into his job. So basically the moral of all of this is to embrace change. Motherhood, bus life, fatherhood, challenges, beautiful moments…all best experienced when you embrace the day to day change, the adventure you are on, and live it fully. We might be making a huge mistake but we also might be pursuing a goal we have been talking about for over 4 years and that alone is worth it.
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