Tiny House Meet Skoolie
I have been writing a little heavy lately and I am working on a few posts that heavy and/or close to my heart…some might be considered hot button things. I want to take my time with these pieces, so today I am going to update you on the adventure toward tiny living.
It has been a while since we have talked about the tiny house. So much has been going on with me in my spiritual growth (God is SOOOO good, bad grammar – big truth), then there is all the other random stuff that populates my brain. You may recall on our way home from Niagara Falls we stopped in Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania to look at the three tiny house models set up at the headquarters for 84 Lumber. (https://84tinyliving.com) I misspoke in my earlier post when I said it was the Shonsie we liked, it was the Degsy…it is all one level. Each model is attractive…but they do not quite fit for Joe and I.
Not to be deterred, I was sketching up plans based on Degsy, but a little larger. Then Joe, my husband, says, “Why don’t we just do a bus.” I respond with, “I don’t want to do an RV.” I was thinking that 1. RV is too expensive and 2. I want something uniquely us. He corrected me and said, “No, a bus.” He was talking about converting a school bus. He had suggested this before and I blew the idea off. I rode a school bus in junior and senior high, no desire to live in one.
Then I started looking up converted school buses, or “skoolies” as they are called. This had potential. Much more room than a tiny house. Much less expensive. (Did you know you can buy a surplus school bus for less than $5000…one in very good condition. They may have 100,000 miles on them but they are built to go several 100,000 miles.) This would solve the drying in issue we were concerned about. We cannot exactly build our own tiny house ground up because we can only work on it a little at a time. We have no way to protect the build.
The skoolie actually hits more of the marks for achieving financial freedom because you do not need a $40-60,000 truck to haul it. We would not need to finance a skoolie, we could build it over time. Again checking off that financial freedom box. The registration and insurance issues are not still out in limbo with a skoolie like they are with the Tiny Houses. The biggest concern for me is what happens when you do incur a mechanical problem? The answer is you haul your house to the mechanic.
My husband is handy. He can fix most everything around the house, he often surprises me with all the things he knows how to fix. He is also very good with vehicles, but he is not a diesel mechanic and if we go with a gas engine, that is a large engine in a bus. Everything is bigger, more expensive and it is not like you can pull into Wal-Mart or Firestone and get your oil changed and new tires. I have more research to do, but even with the larger ticket on tires and such – if you have no mortgage, you can save for those big repairs. You can put money aside for a hotel stay, if needed. We would have to build up a little nest egg before being full time in the skoolie no matter what the circumstances. We would have to do that in any tiny living option.
I am excited about the new idea. I have a lot of research to do, but this is a few years out – no rush. We have decided on the exterior color scheme…Mystery Machine 2.0. (I have to see if the Mystery Machine is trademarked where I can’t use the original…if it is I’ll use the colors, lol.). Joe says that means our next Great Dane will have to be a fawn, just like Scooby-Doo. (So does this mean I am Velma or Daphne? And is Joe, Fred or Shaggy…never mind, he is so not a Shaggy.)
One thing that I will say about both the Skoolie and Tiny House communities, they are amazing groups of people. To find out more information, I trolled Pinterest, liked Facebook pages and reached out to people in the tiny life. They are so helpful. They are honest about the pitfalls and perks of living tiny. They are quick to tell you it is not for everyone. They are also some of the happiest people you encounter in conversation. (They don’t even live in Colorado or Washington…lol). They are living life. They are from all walks of life. Let’s be honest, when I first thought converted school bus I had an image of hippies and alternative lifestyles that was for me and Joe. There are missionaries and pastors living tiny so they can dedicate their lives more fully to ministry. Pre-retirees scrambling to get financially free so they can enter retirement worry free and enjoy their families. Families with small children, home schooling and exploring our country. They are teaching US history first hand. It is a different life but it is a life.
As I read some of the “testimonies from the road” I can’t help but think about that verse I mentioned just yesterday, “…I have come that they may have life; and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Each testimony rather from a tiny houser or a skoolie talks about the fact that despite any obstacles, they are living a fuller life now. Many can afford to be one income families, work part-time, or reduce work hours due to the drastic reduction in their expenses. They are taking those trips around the country and seeing the places we are all talking about seeing…one day. They are doing the things everyone else is just talking about.
I cannot claim to an environmentalist. I support recycling, but I do not go out of my way to recycle. We use regular dishes, unless there is a cook out. I am passive about the environment. I do not litter or encourage pollution, but I am not doing a whole lot to stop it either. In our skoolie we will be solar powered. With a small footprint, there will be less waste. We have even talked about utilizing a water catchment system so we can be off-grid. No we are not doomsday preppers. I, for one, am just tired of being told I need the next big shiny new thing. We canceled out cable a week ago. Except for a few hours of 1070’s era Battlestar Gallactica each evening, my days and afternoons have been quiet. I have read my bible, I have written, I have prayed and I am not being bombarded with messages from society about what I should want or need. The skoolie conversion may be just a dream for Joe and I. One of those things you toy around with…like I used to do with my “mansion” plans as a kid. The minimalist lifestyle of doing more with less is a reality I am pushing toward. I like my nice things, but I would rather have a few nice things and many memorable experiences, than a museum of stuff and lots of dusting to do.
As I mature spiritually, I think about minimalism from a spiritual view. In spirit, we do not need material things. If I have learned ANYTHING from this fast, I do not need half of what I thought I need. (Considering food is a necessity, that is a serious lesson.) Things, material items that can be bought and sold do not feed the spirit or enrich our lives. I am not passing judgement…remember we are all on a journey, developing and growing. Five years from now that pretty purse, video game, tool or whatever is not going to have a long term impact on our lives. It is just a thing. Spending time with our families, helping others, serving in our churches and communities, enjoying experiences, teaching others and sharing our talents will impact our lives and you can take that to the bank.