Kayla is the founder of beautiful lifestyle blog This Little Wandering. She lives in Colorado with her husband Ben, their daughter Jessamyn and their two dogs, Finn and Tux. Both she and her husband have always loved to travel and spend time outdoors, so naturally having Jessamyn they wanted to include her in that lifestyle. Living in Colorado they have the unique privilege of being within walking distance to trails and they try to take advantage of it as much as possible. They are currently in the process of converting a school bus into a tiny home, hoping it will be an asset to their adventurous lifestyle and allowing them to be together as a family while exploring, living simply and debt free. Read our inspiring interview with her below.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO EMBRACE THIS LIFESTYLE?
For us, it wasn’t so much about embracing a lifestyle but pursuing what we love. With our current living situation, my husband drives two hours round trip to work every day and is often too tired to hang out on the weekends. The bus will allow us to be closer together as a family and have the freedom to travel on the weekends. So I guess it is the freedom to move, and ability to be close that has caused us to pursue this lifestyle and move into a school bus.
HOW ARE YOU TEACHING JESSAMYN ABOUT THE JOYS OF WANDERLUST AND BEING IN TOUCH WITH NATURE?
A lot of what we do is just about getting out and exploring. When I think back on my childhood it is the moments where we were out together as a family exploring and having fun that I really remember, and so I am hoping to create those memories for her. At the end of the day, I want the moments together, outside, wandering through nature, to be the memories she can hold onto and look back at. I want her to feel comfortable in nature and know there is more to life than just want we read online or see on TV.
DO YOU THINK EMBRACING THIS LIFESTYLE HELPS TO CREATE A MORE MAGICAL, CAREFREE CHILDHOOD FOR HER?
I hope so. As we downsize and move into the bus I am truly hoping she won’t look back on this and hate us but look back and remember all the moments we had together. Living in the bus will mean more nature, more togetherness, more adventures, and yes fewer things just because of the space and practicality of living in less than 200 square feet. Will this be magical? I am not sure, but I hope whether in the bus or a traditional house she will know she is so loved.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR SKOOLIE CONVERTING AND WHY YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND DECIDED TO DO IT?
We decided that this was the lifestyle for us after taking a serious look at our life and reprioritizing. As I’ve said, my husband commutes two hours to work every day, which doesn’t leave us much time together. We have talked about moving closer but don’t really want to be tied down to a mortgage again. The solution to this is the bus.
I have had several people accuse me of being irresponsible and reckless with this decision but let me assure you the bus is incredibly responsible and at the end of the day is going to hopefully be the move that brings our family closer together and allows us to have experiences we would otherwise miss out on. The bus is a little less than 200 square feet and we are renovating it completely. What this means is I am getting my dream kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, etc. all in this small space. Things that people would throw on their renovation wish list we are doing by converting this bus into our dream home. I will have a generator, solar power, a fully functional kitchen, composting toilet, working shower, and a wood burning stove. Basically, a cosy cabin meets modern city loft on wheels.
WILL YOU BE LIVING IN IT FULL TIME?
Yes, our house is currently under contract and we will be living in the bus full time. The goal of this is to be debt free, have the ability to travel, and be closer to my husband’s job. We aren’t sure how long we will do this but the plan is to re-evaluate in two years and see whether we still love it, or think it might be time to move on.
HOW ARE YOU HOPING THIS WILL IMPACT JESSAMYN’S OUTLOOK ON LIFE AND HER UPBRINGING?
The main purpose of living in the bus it to live responsibly and without debt. So my hope for Jessamyn is that this example will positively impact her and that we can model good life choices and responsible financial living. Honestly when you get down to it there is nothing terribly magical about that but hopefully, through setting a good financial example we will set her up for success as well. Most importantly though I hope that when she looks back on her upbringing she knows we loved her and did everything we could to be together and make smart decisions for our family.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT SO FAR?
I think the best part of the bus so far has been watching my husband build our home from scratch. There isn’t a guidebook for converting a bus into a tiny home and so dreaming together and really building a home together has been just beautiful and so empowering. We both have so many hopes and dreams for the bus and so every wall, every plan brings us that much closer to our dreams and this beautiful life we are pursuing.
ANY TIPS ON HOW TO START INCORPORATING THIS LIFESTYLE?
As silly as it sounds the biggest tip I can offer is to live within your means and find a way to do that well. The bus, our outdoor lifestyle, hiking, camping, exploring… these are all things we can do within our budget. If you want to live more you need to learn to be content with what you have and embrace that. This has been the factor through all of this that has really led us to the bus and helped us embrace a more adventurous lifestyle. As boring as it sounds being responsible and managing your budget is the gateway to bigger and better adventures. The bus has required a lot of downsizing and living more practically but in the end, this is leading to a lifestyle previously we would have only dreamed of.
Another tip would be to just go outside! We are lucky to live in Colorado and have access to a lot of trails and wilderness areas but even with that, what ends up being the hardest is just getting out the door. If you want a more magical experience and to spend time outdoors… you actually have to go outdoors! We make a point to get out at least once a week (often more) and even when I am not feeling it and have a hundred other things I could be doing I have never regretted going hiking and just stepping out into nature.
AND FINALLY, WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WANT YOUR DAUGHTER TO REMEMBER FROM HER CHILDHOOD?
More than anything I want my daughter to know she is loved. Everything we are doing, the bus, living debt free, hiking, exploring… all of it is our attempt at living fully and being together and I hope when she looks back as an adult that she will remember the love and the moments of togetherness.
With thanks to Kayla x