Hello world! There’s a lot to our story, but I will try my hardest to give a solid condensed version of where we are today and how we decided to live tiny. I’m Ashley. I am first and foremost, a mom. I have two girls ages 3, and 6, who are my world. They are wild and full of spirit, and are the reason I began looking towards the horizon, to a more simple, intentional, rewilding life. Because, I never thought I would be someone who would be excited to living tiny, especially in a school bus.
My husband and I have been together since 2006, and have definitely had a long journey of growth during those formative years of our adulthood and relationship. But one thing that we realized and really became a pillarstone to us was the things that mattered to most people, were not really a priority for us. Fast forward 10 years to becoming parents, and these ideas and thoughts started to become goals and priorities. The American dream we were being sold our whole lives, wasn’t one that we were interested in buying. Neither of us wanted 40 plus hour work weeks spent away from our family, in corporations who didn’t care about us. We didn’t care about a big house, or new cars, the newest phone models or name brand items. We started talking about what kind of life we did want to live. What we wanted to put into, and get out of life. Quality time, with each other was how we wanted to spend our days, not apart.
On a whim and a dream, we moved to the mountains with a newborn and a toddler. We instantly fell in love with the breathtaking abundance of nature that encompasses the Blue Ridge Mountains. And we began spending every extra moment we could exploring all the forests, waterfalls, and hikes we could find. I still feel in utter awe of the beauty of Appalachia everyday.
But, not everything was perfect. We were still not making enough money to be able to actually save any. Still renting. Which, after years of doing so, felt a lot like we were working to just flush money down the drain. So naturally, we started house hunting. And very quickly realized, that just wasn’t working for us. Everything we liked was drastically out of our budget, (oh hi 2021) and we didn’t want to fall into the perpetual cycle of having an expensive house payment and therefore grinding to make ends meet. We didn’t want “the grind”. But, what other options did we have? I felt trapped, and like there was no way to live the life I wanted to without significant support, or a huge amount of savings in the bank. And then, I thought smaller.
As all good things do, when I least expected it, an answer fell into our laps. Late night web searching brought us to some Youtube videos of people building out school buses, or Skoolies. I thought it was awesome, but not for someone with kids. Sure, pre-kids, flower child Ashley dreamed of such things in her younger years. But, Mom… me? How? It looked so small, and hard! But it answered a lot of the questions and concerns that we were facing in our world. How we could homeschool, how we could afford land, how we could minimize all our STUFF and focus on spending time together, and decluttering our mental loads. How we could work less and live more, within our means. How we could put our blood, sweat and tears in something and call it home, even if that home doesn’t look exactly how I planned it to in the beginning.
So, we bought a 40ft school bus. And for the past year and a half, I have spent thousands of hours, turning it into a tiny home in our driveway. We have done all the work (minus the electrical) by ourselves. It has been a huge challenge, and a transformative experience. We are in the final stages of completion now. While we don’t have it all figured out just yet, we are excited to share our journey and progress with others. We are looking towards the future with glee and promise of what our lives will be, and cannot wait to move into our little purple home. Challenges and all. We are far from perfect, we don’t have sepia toned envy-inducing lives. But, we like to think that at the end of the day, we are working towards curating a life we love, imperfections and all.