One year ago we became bus owners and the conversion began. There had been months of planning and research to figure out what we needed and wanted and last March we bought a bus. The whole process of shopping and finally buying a bus was rather surreal. We giggled for days, weeks even, every time we looked out to the driveway and saw a bus sitting there. Over the course of this past year we have had a buffet of emotions about the bus, our travels, and the changes that our lives will take but we do not regret buying the bus and changing our lives at all. We acknowledge that it won't always be easy but nothing worth it ever is. I wanted to take a minute or two to reintroduce ourselves, talk about how our vision of our travels and lives have changed, and give an update on where we are and when we might be leaving New Jersey.
So hello to you again or for the first time! I am Jessica Ruscetta, a mother, wife, birth worker, bus converter, and soon adventure traveler. Nick is my wonderful, talented husband and we have three awesome kids, Edie is almost 11, Jackson is 7.5, and Ida is almost 3. We currently live in southern New Jersey, 30 minutes from Philadelphia. In the fall of 2017 we were a bit itchy in our typical suburban lives and were looking for a change. I had been into minimalism for some time and was becoming obsessed with families who lived a nomadic life traveling around the country and world having adventures. My kids and I watched a lot of YouTube families, Knorpp & South being one of our favorites and I kept thinking if these families could do it why can't we. My fantasies continued and eventually everyone in the family was into the idea. There were so many questions though, how to make money, do we home school, how do we get started? We started watching tons of school bus conversion videos and were really intrigued by the whole idea of converting a bus into exactly what we need. At this point no one was ready to pull the trigger and jump into bus life, we were dreaming and designing buses in our minds. Until our dear friend Paulie died and the world started to look so different, life was actually really short. We spent that December in a fog and in January decided to really LIVE, we went and looked at a bus.
That first bus wasn't THE ONE but it really fanned the flame and we were getting more and more excited. We decided to name our bus, when we did buy one, Paulie so he could go on our adventures with us. In March of 2018 we went to Wolfington bus yard in Pennsylvainia and saw our bus. Mr. Wolfington thought we were a bit crazy but seemed intrigued by the idea. By the end of our dealings with him he was almost fatherly to us and the bus. It was obvious that he cares about what he does. We had someone drive the bus the hour ride home for us, as per Mr. Wolfington, and soon a bus was in our driveway. In the next few weeks we did all the things you need to do to get a bus ready for converting it into a tiny house. We ripped out the seats, the floors, the ceilings, and all the no essential parts for us. When we ere left with a shell the build could begin.
In the last 12 months we have changed the bus ALOT. We have installed insulation, a kitchen, a bathroom, built a composting toilet, the kids' beds, and master bedroom. I have taught myself plumbing, calculated our solar needs, learned all about seat belt safety in an RV, done a bit of electrical, made a stock tank into a bathtub, sanded hundreds of feet of pallet wood, and scrubbed all 40 feet of that bus top to bottom. We still have a ton to do but it feels great to see how far we have come. This spring is the big push to finish all the big things and get it to a point where we can live in it by the end of the school year. The grey tanks and propane tank are going in very soon which is huge because those two system will then be complete. Once the solar goes on the roof and is connected to the batteries on the bus the bus will be almost livable.
The last 12 months we have also changed. In the very beginning we were thinking we would have a YouTube channel to document the conversion and the travels and maybe make a little money but our view on that has changed. We also thought we might try to make money off the adventure, like with sponsorship or endorsements of some kind and we also decided that probably wasn't for us. We have really taken this adventure very personally, to live a life we only dreamed was possible. We have made steps to keep our lives simple once we sell our sticks and bricks house so we can truly live full-time and work part-time. We are not getting any younger and someday our kids will move out and we want them to be taking memories of a life well lived with them.
As the journey continues, we are looking to be leaving New Jersey in late August and head up through New England to Maine. Between now and then we need to finish the bus, sell our house and most of our stuff, buy a new manual car and learn how to drive it, and dozens of other logisticals. Its no biggie, look at how far we have come. We love having you all along on our adventure and are fueled by your excitement and encouragement. We understand that this life is not for everyone love that you appreciate that it is for us. Please keep the comments, questions, and compliments coming. we really love them! Happy anniversary!