Bricks, Sticks and New Skoolie Plans

Our home was on the market a week when we received an offer for purchase! The housing market in Nashville is truly crazy! If all goes according to the current plan, we will be houseless by mid April and moving forward with Our Most Excellent Family Adventure.  Since our last update, there have been a few changes to our plans regarding how we will be traveling on the road.   This post will share some of those details and how we came to these new decisions.

Our plans for many months now, have centered around converting a used school bus for our family to live in full time.  There are many reasons why we made this decision, which you can read more about in our post Why a Skoolie?.  But after a lot of contemplation and reflection about what is important for our family and our future on the road full time, we have decided to travel down a slightly different, but related path.  

Choosing how to live on the road is no easy decision.  There are so many variables that have to be taken into account.  So many decisions about what is important for our desired quality of life on the road - what are the things that are truly required and what are the things which are wants or desires.  I will detail these decisions and why we made them further in another post soon, but needless to say, it is a lot of information to contemplate, discuss and decide upon.

One of the biggest factors influencing our decision to delay the conversion, was timing with the seasons of the year.  A bus conversion is ideally completed when the weather outside is cooler and there are lower chances for inclement weather.  The original timeline anticipated that we would have our home sold by late February or early March.  We then planned to travel to Florida where we would begin our conversion on a friends rural property.  But, with our timeline changed, we would not likely get started until mid to late May with completion sometime in June/July.  This timeline would require that we work on the conversion at a time when daytime highs in FL would be well above a point where workinging inside of a tin can would be very uncomfortable.  

Once we realized our timing would be off for a comfortable conversion, we then started looking further north, and we found a couple of additional locations that would provide the right temps and weather.  But, after a lot of conversation between Mel and I, we realized that getting on the road in July would adversely affect other plans that we have been looking at making throughout the spring and early summer.  It seemed like a shame to miss out on some of the best parts of the year for travel working on building our home.  This would come after the many months of blood, sweat and tears put into getting ourselves free of all the encumbrances of the American Dream.  It kind of felt like we were jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.  

So, we have decided to do the next best thing, we are going to buy a school bus that has already been converted for full time living!  We could have gone with a small Class A or Class C motorhome, but our decisions about why to go with a Skoolie were too important to pass up - safety, reliability and specific design/ability for full time living.  We have a couple of options when it comes to purchasing an already converted bus. We can look for a Skoolie that someone else has converted, and this is still an option, or we can purchase a very unique vehicle that we learned about:  The Bluebird Wanderlodge.  

"Large Marge", a 1980  Blue Bird Wanderlodge  FC33 taken on  Sanibel Island Causeway , Florida USA

"Large Marge", a 1980 Blue Bird Wanderlodge FC33 taken on Sanibel Island Causeway, Florida USA

The Bluebird Wanderlodge is a factory converted recreational vehicle that the Bluebird Bus Company made from 1963–2009.  The early years (prior to 1989), the Wanderlodge was factory converted using an actual school bus frame and body.  Later, after 1989, Bluebird moved to producing the Wanderlodge as a custom wide body coach, similar to other large touring coaches and Class A vehicles.  These later designs have fewer associations with school buses, but are still of an incredibly high standard for recreational vehicles.  

For us, the look and character of the early Wanderlodges (1977-1988) spoke the most to our sense of fun and character for the adventure ahead.  They are incredibly well made, have all of the basic things needed for full time living on the road and they look incredibly cool!  We can purchase a well maintained 1980's Wanderlodge, at a reasonable price, and have a home that we can immediately begin our adventure of traveling and seeing the world around us.  We plan to purchase our new home shortly after closing on our house.  

The Wanderlodge will, for the immediate future, likely be our new home on wheels.  While it is a departure from our original plan, we are still able to pursue the mission and vision that we have for our family and the new chapter in life ahead of us.   As we are finding to be so very true about our new push for more experiences and less stuff, being flexible and willing to adapt is so incredibly important when you are chasing your dreams!

Of course, we will have more details on this coming soon.