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Retired Virginia Prison Bus to Be Free Tiny Home

the wild drive school bus tiny home

I always knew we wouldn’t do things quite by the book. We haven’t so far, why start now? Who wrote the book, anyway? I like to think we all have the opportunity to write our own book of excellent successes and adventures, filled with highs and lows, victories and challenges.

My husband Ben and I bought a 1989 Chevy retired Virginia prison bus/mobile command center on Friday, and we’re converting it into an RV/living space. We somehow drove it two hours north on the highway and survived. In fact, the thing runs like a dream.

If you think we’re crazy, read on. If you don’t think we’re crazy, read on. 

Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the numbers or moving through the expected steps of adulthood? Navigating through major and minor life decisions to determine the best way to go in life involves asking and answering a lot of questions. This can be daunting. WHY do we want things? What drives these wants? Are they driven by the expectations of others around you, societal norms, your own expectations, or are they driven by something deeper? Does the same idea, passion, or path keep resurfacing over the years?

We’ve asked ourselves so many of these questions, and have started down a dozen different paths over the past few years, only to arrive at the same answer. Go with your gut and do what makes you happy. Write your own book.

For us, the thing that keeps coming back to the surface, despite our handful of diversions, is a simple, efficient, flexible, and mindful way of life. That’s it. It’s pretty simple. We’ve looked at houses, duplexes, buildable lots of land, we were even under contract once in 2013, but it never felt quite right for some reason. There were several times, some very recent even where we felt like we should just go for it, it’s the logical next step in the book of adulthood. We ARE adults, right? We’re done with our student loans, so we should buy a house now, right? Still, on every occasion, it never felt quite right.


Cue the frustration.


It’s easy to plan and plan and just continue planning in life; to go back and forth and back again before making a decision, if a decision is made at all. We have countless ideas and dreams that come to us over the years, some more detailed than others. But which ones are worth acting on? It’s hard to say, but, someday we have to realize, hey, our dreams don’t have to stay dreams. We define what the next steps are.

I’ve felt the comfort in the place where you say things like, “I’d like to do that someday.” or “We’re planning to do that in a few years.” Comforting, yes, but you certainly don’t want to wake up one day years later still planning. There’s a greater comfort in making those decisions, and starting that forward momentum toward your goals and dreams. DECIDE to grab what you want. Decide to make moves and take chances that make you happy, however that is defined for you. Just decide. We all deserve to be happy, fulfilled, and true to the path that allows us to feel those things. Goals. Yes, it’s scary at times, but what’s the alternative?


Being inside our brains over the past few years has gone a little something like this:

Should we buy a house?

No, let’s wait.

No, let’s buy a house.

Wait wait, should we buy a duplex and rent out the other half for rental income?

NO! Let’s build a house.

NO! Let’s build a TINY house.

Let’s find a commune and become farmers and call it good.

Let’s go back to school.

Let’s not go back to school.

Should we have kids now?

Should we never have kids?


Let’s go WOOF’ing.

Let’s never leave northern California.

Holy crap, land is way too expensive in California. Scratch that.

Should we start a Go Fund Me account to finance a hipster venture like a hike around the country? I do love hiking.

TINY HOME in a TREE. Tiny treehouse.

Let’s be professional house-sitters.

Should we get rid of everything we own and just live off the land in the woods?

What’s the deal with Earthships? Maybe we should build an Earthship…


Cue the brain explosion.


There are SO MANY CHOICES. It can be a little frustrating at times, dipping a toe or two or five into the water of one or more of these paths, then backing away or changing directions again and again. It’s tough. Who REALLY knows what they want the first (second, third, or fourth) time around a decision anyway?!

At the end of the day, you have to just ask yourself, WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES? WHAT MATTERS MOST TO YOU? Stay true to that.


So that’s what we did. Over the past 6 months or so, we REALLY started asking ourselves those questions. For us, the priorities we keep coming back to are freedom and flexibility. We always seem to stick with that. It drives our decisions and has brought us great, positive opportunities and successes. That’s how we arrived at our decision about not buying a house a couple years ago, and why we decided to buckle down to successfully annihilate our student loans.

So what now?

the wild drive bus conversion tiny home

Let’s buy a bus.

Seriously, let’s buy a bus and convert it into a mobile tiny home of our dreams.

bus tiny home driver's seat conversion

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