Barn swallows build nests from mud and dirt. Robins use bits of dried grass and twigs. Penguins make little stone circles while an ostrich is content with a shallow dusty hole. Apparently, the nesting material of choice for Byers Without Borders is spraypainted sheet metal. Introducing Fiona! Our 1997 Bluebird Schoolbus, turned mobile command center.
When we sold our house last year we had the vague notion that an RV would be a good option for our new life. It took nearly a year of searching craigslist, dealerships, and RV shows. Airstreams, fifth-wheels, class-A’s with slide outs, we looked at and entertained every option. But consistently they were either too pricey (new Airstreams start at $100,000) or too heavy in motifs of ducks-in-flight, faux-Tuscan or wood-paneling (Jen’s style is best described as Himalayan-IKEA).
Beyond price and aesthetics, few RV manufacturers were able to meet our number one requirement, three separate bunks for the girls. We wanted each kid to have a private space on the RV. A spot that was all their own, a spot for privacy, a spot to nest into, a spot of consistency in our rolling-fluid lifestyle. We did not want to be forced to convert Stella’s bed daily into a kitchen table or sofa.
And then we spotted Fiona on craigslist/Jacksonville. Born a school bus in South Carolina, she spent a short time as a church bus before being converted into an RV by a family of five. They had been living in her, full time, for over a year, traveling to surf competitions up and down the east coast.
We found Fiona with her creators in a campground just south of St. Augustine. The better part of a weekend was spent with them, learning their story, and the story of the bus. Stella and their daughter Piper played Barbies. The big kids all went to a chalk-art contest together. In between bus questions, we discussed everything from homeschooling strategies to instapot recipes. We really got to know this sweet family, so it was with a slight sense of guilt that I drove off with their house Sunday afternoon, leaving them with all of their belongings, in a pile, at their empty campsite.
The kids have quickly claimed their bunks, dubbing them “sleep pods”. Presently they’re in deep design mode, planning how to personalize these pods. Jen is mapping out counter space and storage allowances, while I scour google earth images of our friends’ driveways. Be on alert if yours is 35 feet plus, you might be our next stop.
For those friends and followers who can’t make it to the “open bus” this Saturday, Isabelle and Lily put together a video tour of our #HappyBus.