Here are some truths about our family that make our current adventure living in a 300 sq ft bus possible for us, and might not make the same lifestyle possible for you:
- We have always slept with our kids. We co-slept with our babies, and we often let them come into our bed even when they got older and had transitioned to their own bed in their own room (or slept in their beds if they wanted us to). We realize that this musical beds and sharing sleep with our kids is only going to happen for a few years. We can live with that. We’ll have lots of time with our beds to ourselves in the future. As much as we can, if our children express a wish to be close to us, we try to say yes. And as for parental intimacy, you can always google cosleeping and sexto find out that there has been a lot said about this even in the context of house dwelling. For a little laugh, I’ve always liked the t-shirt that says “Cosleepers do it in the kitchen.”
- We rarely close doors to bedrooms or bathrooms even when we’ve lived in houses.
- We like being in the same space. I like being able to see and hear what the kids are watching while I make dinner – not because I love kids’ programming or watching the same show over and over, but because I can supervise what they are watching, can discuss content with them, and have a reference point if something comes up in play or at school that is coming from what they are watching. I like being able to sit side-by-side with my children as we are each involved in a project of our own. I like being in the same room with Aaron in the evening when he’s doing office work for our business. Sure, he’s working most evenings after the kids are in bed – but at least I still get to see him. We can chat, have tea together, discuss plans for the business and because he’s putting in the hours in the evening after the kids are in bed, he gets to come home a little earlier and he helps with dinner and bedtime so it helps us find balance between work and family.
- Our kids shared a room in every house we rented, and likely would have continued sharing rooms for a long time. It doesn’t hurt them to learn to share and get along. We had already developed methods of getting them to bed in the same room by staggering bedtimes and tackling the job together.
- We have prioritized having fewer toys. We’ve been making the switch to natural toys, with an emphasis on having a few good quality toys rather than on having a lot of cheap toys.
- I don’t wash my hair and shower daily. I have heard the argument that some people just have to wash their hair daily or it is impossibly oily. To me, this demonstrates an overdependence on shampoo and conditioner, which can disrupt the balance of natural oils in the hair. Many people who use No-Poo can attest to this. I weaned my hair from needing to be shampooed daily over ten years ago (and for the first two weeks, it was hard). I was still showering before work every morning, but gradually dropped that habit too. Showering every couple of days is more than sufficient to keep clean and smelling nice.
- We are domestic adrenaline junkies. That is, we thrive on change. In the in-between times, between moves, new babies, new businesses, career changes, big projects, we often feel bored or stuck in a rut. Sure, we like structure and stability as much as the next guys, and we aren’t likely to make decisions solely for the purpose of not getting bored, but at the same time, we do like the excitement that comes with crafting a life less ordinary.
First Year - Back
We’ve done this before.We lived in this very bus for 5 years. This means: 1) We are familiar with and used to life in a small space, and 2) the bus was designed by us, for our needs, and is pretty much exactly the way we would want it to be. Bearing that in mind, the main adjustment we’ve had to make has been adding the two extra little people who weren’t with us last time we lived here. This would be a total different experience if we were still doing the conversion with kids in tow, or if we were also trying to adjust to other aspects of bus life (like learning how to use the propane stove and in-line water heater, downsizing, sharing space, etc.). Also, this time around, our bus experience is a vast improvement to what it was the first year or two when the conversion was still underway. The first year we had no plumbing, no furnace, no stove/oven, and only a bar sized fridge. Our current situation is a palace compared to the old days.
- We have experienced how freeing it can be to have less stuff. I come from a family of savers (pack rats). It was hard for me, initially, to get rid of stuff, but the more I did it, the better I felt. This is still a work in progress, but as we go through Round 2 of downsizing, having a reference point as a reminder of how good it feels helps make it easier to throw away my notes from Psyc 101.
Are there any family traits that you think would be super powers if you embarked on a simple living journey?