Say hello to spring! The warmer weather has been awesome! We've been out on the TransCanada Trail every single day! Last week we were walking on snow and ice now it's actual trail and it's beautiful! The dogs have been loving it and have both gone for their first swim of the year. Cooper actually got chased out of the water by trumpeter swans! Back on the bus we are getting closer to leaving by the minute! As we cross off each project on our list (Michael hates the list because it always involves him) we have been reflecting/ improving on past projects. We both realize that we don't need to take this much stuff with us and have really started downsizing the amount of stuff on the bus. We took out the big flat screen television. We don't need it, we barely use it and if we want to watch anything we can use a laptop. We have both drastically downsized our wardrobes again (all of my clothes fit in a small drawer). The only areas I don't seem to be shrinking is my kitchen. We both like to cook and by having everything we need it actually saves us money by minimizing the number of times we eat out and it also allows us to eat healthier less processed meals. Or at least that is what I am telling myself in order to justify how much space kitchen stuff takes up in this bus. Michael is going to be blogging about this trip from (what he thinks is) the dogs perspective, while I will continue with a human point of view. I will post his website details soon!
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Thursday, December 1, 2016
- While maintenance of a bus takes a minimal amount of time and money compared to a house it can be difficult to execute. So far we have only had to do preventative maintenance but even then we had to carefully plan when it could be done and have a planned place for the dogs to hang out for the day. I imagine any last minute mechanical problems could be a nightmare requiring a few nights stay at a hotel that allows pets. Thankfully that hasn't happened but I do see the potential for problems in the future.
- Now that the weather has changed we all spend more time inside and the bus seems to have shrunk! Especially at meal times or when I am making the bed. I'm sure this space would be the perfect size if we didn't have two big dogs (or if a certain person would pick up after himself) but now that it's cold outside it feels like just a bit too much togetherness! This might not be an actual problem and I can probably adjust to it but I thought I'd mention it as it could easily be a problem for someone else.
- We haven't had a problem finding public washrooms or places to shower yet and have found several places where we can fill up our water containers. However, we have had a few water related problems and all of them have involved the dogs. Our dogs seem to like skunks and in the summer this wasn't an issue because we could sent them to the lake to rinse off but now that it's cold out it is a little more difficult. I'm sure a hot water on demand system would eliminate this problem but last night I had to rinse off my dog in freezing cold water and today I will have to use the rest of our water sparingly because I'd like to refill at a natural spring out of town tonight rather than refill with town water. Again, not the end of the world or anything but I can foresee a few frustrating incidents ahead.
- When you move into a house there are usually one or two things you might have done differently if you were the one building it but for the most part you are usually happy with what you get. Although I am very proud of what we have designed in the bus after living in it I would like to change almost everything! I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out the importance of a great design especially in a tiny space. Some of the great ideas we had just don't hold up to the extra wear and tear that is required when it is used all the time. Again, this isn't a deal breaker for us and we are having fun planning out our next bus!
- Finally, and as usual nothing has really gone as planned. We wanted to be adventuring around the country by now. I know you can't compare this to living in a house but when your purpose of moving into a bus is to travel around it is a little disheartening to still be near "home." I don't really mind this it has become an adventure on its own but I really hope the bus doesn't die before we get to travel the continent. In a house this isn't even a thought.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Everyday now I realize something new that I really appreciate or am grateful for that I didn't pay attention to or even notice while I lived in a house. It made me think about the comparisons or trade offs I've made to get where I am today. A few years ago when I got back from thruhiking the Appalachian Trail I went through a rough transition going from living outside on a trail to living back in a house, going to work and living in a typical Canadian small town. I clearly remember thinking that so many of the choices we make living in society were totally wasteful and needless an at the same time missing or yearning for the natural beauty and peacefulness and freedom that I thought came from trail life. I wanted to figure out a way to make those two totally different worlds come together because let's face it I probable couldn't live the rest of my life on a trail. Fast forward three years and here I am doing exactly that! I'm finding a way to make the two worlds collide! Here is a list of trade offs I've made and how I think it's worked out: Traded a 1000 plus square foot house for an 80 square foot bus. This trade alone has given me so much more free time than I had imagined. It takes minutes to clean or tidy up the bus compared to the hours it takes to clean a whole house. It takes way less work! Half a months wages to pay for a house compared to half a weeks wages to live in a bus for a month! Imagine only having to work for half a week a month to pay for you bills! Traded mostly indoor living for mostly outdoor living. Even while inside now I have a 360 degree view! This trade off on its own is enough to change someone! I have noticed every sunrise and sunset since living on the bus! I have sat in bed as deer walked right past my bed on the other side of the window panes! I notice the clouds and their shapes, the colour of the sky, the direction and feel of the wind! I hear the howl of the coyotes, the sounds of the birds and the scampering of the squirrels on a daily basis. I have a love for creation, an appreciation of the beauty of nature and a gratitude that I am able to enjoy it and a joy that wells up in me for life everyday! This is the difference for me between living inside versus outside. I am so much happier now! Traded my modern day appliances and conveniences for a slower way of life. This doesn't sound like an advantage but it truly has been. We take our time prepping and cooking our meals together now. Our food and coffee tastes better (well not as good as in Spain but you know what I mean). We seem to get more enjoyment out of everything! We can pick and choose our surroundings for each meal. Do we want to eat at the park, by the waterfront, or at a secluded spot? Our life isn't so stationary anymore! We spend more time together now compared to both of us being at home but in different rooms of the house doing separate things. Living in a bus has also made us so aware of everything we use and how wasteful we were before. We carry limited water on the bus and use it sparingly. We use solar power and are very aware of how much power we use if we ever plug something extra in. We don't have space for garbage and recycling on the bus and find ourselves leaving the packaging behind at whatever store we happen to be at when we purchase something and we only purchase what we need as we need it. We notice how needlessly wasteful our society has become. We are still getting shedding possessions that we realize we don't need and learning just how little we actually need to have a healthy, happy life!
Monday, November 21, 2016
The weather has been so good! We haven't needed to keep the heater on all night yet but we were a bit nervous about the cold weather that is going to come. The other day while at Canadian Tire we decided to pick up a small electric smart heater just in case our propane heater doesn't cut it on the cold nights. Friends have already offered their homes to us in case it gets too cold but we'd really like to try to stay in the bus. We came up with the idea of the heater knowing that if it gets too cold we can park in a friend's driveway and plug in the bus. This way we will be able to use both heaters if needed. Michael took the console at the front of the van off (so we've lost our cup holders) to make the perfect spot to mount the electric heater. He did a great job and we got to try out the heater last night. It was actually too warm and I had to turn it off during the night! I think the bus is ready for winter!
We have been using the small 1 lb propane canisters for the Coleman stove and our Mr. Heater. They work great and allow for us to move the stove outside whenever we feel like cooking outdoors. However, it's not very cost effective and the it's hard to find places to recycle the empty canisters. Today we are mounting a 20 lb propane tank to the back of the bus and installing permanent pipes and hoses to both the stove and the heater. It's hard to watch as Michael drills multiple holes from the outside in so close to the back window that I'm afraid the window is going to shatter. No windrows were broken in this bus renovation and all of the holes in the bus have been filled with screws or the pipe for the propane. We chose the easy route and bought a hose designed to go from a propane tank to a barbecue for outside the bus. Next we purchased two universal torch extension hoses that we used inside the bus and some teflon tape to make sure each attachment is sealed. I was nervous as we turned on the propane for the first time wondering if we were about to blow up our bus but Michael had added an extra shut off valve so he was able to let just a little bit of gas into the lines and test each connection safely. It was a good thing he did because we did have a leak that needed fixed! Everything is in working order now and we can keep the heater on all the time if we need to! We just need to remember to shut the tank off before we drive away!