So we have passed our one year anniversary of buying Cuddlebus! What a year. It all started out like this: Brad and I were talking, and he says to me, “Ok, I’ve got a crazy idea, but just hear me out… What if we bought a van and converted it into a home with room for our skis and gear? We can drive to the mountains, park at trailheads, and have a warm space to come back to after long days of climbing and skiing.” I said, “That’s not crazy!” That had been my dream for as long as I could remember. I was obsessed with books on “small spaces” when I was a teen (before “tiny homes” were a thing). I was inspired by an Apartment Therapy story about a woman converting a double decker bus into a home, before “bus life” was a thing. My Pinterest page was full of articles and stories about van conversions and nomadic living.
We had been looking for a property because we wanted to build a treehouse home, but were getting discouraged at not finding the right one. So we started looking at vans on Craigslist and doing research, watching videos. I wasn’t really sure how we would convert a vehicle into a home. We had never done anything like that before. Were we actually going to follow through with it, or just dream about it?
After looking at a couple vans, we decided they were too small, and started checking out box trucks. There were a lot of options out there, but nothing felt right. Then I got a Craigslist search alert for a shuttle bus being sold by a local church, and as soon as we saw it WE KNEW. It was the one! Two days later we owned the bus, and started demolition the next day. We were committed.
There was a lot of literal blood, sweat and tears shed over the course of the next nine months. Perhaps there were some profanities uttered also… Moments of pure frustration at seemingly impossible tasks. Fighting with tools and equipment. Trying to stay organized. Everything took many times longer than planned. Motivation and energy was tough to maintain while working days then coming home and working on the bus at night, sometimes in the dark and the cold. Not feeling like we had any time to just relax. Not having energy to cook dinner. We had differences in opinion, and differences in aesthetics. We learned a lot about each other working on the bus. We learned how to communicate better, how to compromise. How to find joy in the accomplishment of building something with your own hands. And realizing we are not too old to learn how to do things we’d never done before, like electrical, plumbing, fiberglassing and woodwork!
Now we live full time in our tiny home on wheels. We’ve moved from Oregon to Washington. Brad quit his job and I’ve become a digital nomad. Our lives have changed dramatically, and will keep changing. I love change. What will the next year look like for us, I wonder?1