"If your dreams don't scare you, they are not big enough." Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said this. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first female head of state ever to be democratically elected in Africa. She also won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her efforts to further women's rights. She has a good heart and her priorities in check. In other words, we'd probably be wise to follow her advice.
Dreams are called dreams for a reason. They have to be a little outlandish, or what's the point? We have to keep reminding ourselves this, whenever it all gets too much. Whenever it dawns on us how big a project we have taken on and just how much we still don't know. Whenever we proudly tell someone our plans, and they look at us like we're aliens. Whenever we are led to question whether all these sacrifices we are making are actually right for us.
We are just days away from packing our life here in Brisbane onto one plastic pallet, and shipping it across to New Zealand, where a new chapter awaits.
Naturally, we're shitting ourselves. Don't get me wrong, we are also bursting with excitement, but this is a big lifestyle change, and that in itself is pretty scary.
We recently wrote down all the fears we had surrounding this lifestyle change. We did it for ourselves as means of stress management - I've always found putting my worries on paper alleviates them massively. But I've decided to share them in case they can benefit anyone else on a similar journey, even if it's just knowing that you aren't alone.
So here is our personal (made public for your entertainment) list of what makes us nervous about this big move. And, as always, some TLDR links, for those of you who prefer to skip the waffle. ;)
- Fudging up the roof raise
- Getting all up in each others' grills
- Finding the balance between work and play
- No more long showers
- Feeling like we don't have a home
We're adults. We're both aware that the other poops. I'd say 90% of the time we're happy to poop with the other in earshot/ smellshot. In fact Alex takes a weird amount of pride in his faeces. But there are times, usually the morning after Mexican night, when a poop could end all potential romance in a relationship. You know the type. How will we navigate through those? Will one of us have to evacuate the house to give the other some space? So much to consider.
Note to selves: extraction fan in bathroom.
On a more serious note, this is our main concern with the build. During the demolition phase, we found more structural rust than we were hoping for. At this stage we believe it's nothing we (Alex) can't handle, but we're not experts, and there is a small possibility that it could simply mean too much fabricating for it to be worth it.
Fudging up the roof raise.
Cutting a roof off a large vehicle and extending the walls vertically isn't something we've ever had to do before. We've spent a substantial amount of time watching other skoolie builders raise their roofs (shoutout to Wes and his bus baby, Transendence, for the excellent guides he's provided), but that's the easy part. I have a (hopefully irrational) fear that, a few months from now, we'll be standing there with a roofless bus in one hand, and an utterly mangled bus roof in the other, saying "shit... we broke the bus."
Getting all up in each others' grill.
We already spend a lot of time together, verging on too much time. And we're a couple. Sometimes our wires get crossed and we fight. What if we fight when it's raining outside? Where will we go to get some cool off space? If one of us goes to the very front of the bus, and the other goes to the very back, that's only 10 metres between us. We'll borderline still be able to hear each other breathing.
I'm disgustingly messy. I'm clean (usually), but oh so messy. I'll do some painting, and I'll leave all my paints and brushes sprawled freely, ready for the next time I might like to continue painting. (Could be days, could be months.) I keep most of my clothes on the floor. You know that stage when they can't go back in the drawers because they're not clean, but they don't quite need a wash yet? There is a perfectly legitimate system to my floordrobe, but to the untrained eye, my organised mess could look like pure mess. And then there are dishes. We tend to wash our dishes and let them drain for a few days before putting them back in their homes - a system that might need to be re-evaluated. And then there's Alex and his mess, and that's a whole other story. But we won't go into that because I don't want to get into too much trouble. The bottom line is, in such a small space, any mess is magnified, and if we won't keep on top of it, we will quickly find ourselves living in a pig sty on wheels.
Finding the balance between work and play.
Once we've finished the build, we both have individual projects we'd like to pursue, and both intend on making money independently. We've never worked for ourselves before. And we will have never lived in such a cool space before, or had the whole of New Zealand as a back yard. So it'll take some adjusting to find a healthy balance between living our best lives and getting no work done, and not knowing when to stop working and enjoy our beautiful back yard.
No more long showers.
Alex loves long showers. I'm not really a fan; I like to be in and out. Apart from when I'm either hungover, stoned, sad, happy, hot, cold, bored... or just really filthy. I do also love taking my speaker into the shower, blasting some bangers and having a lil boogie. So in conclusion, we both really love long showers and have some adjusting to do.
Obviously we'll take all the necessary precautions to secure our home, but an old school bus will never feel as safe as a house, no matter what we do. I actually haven't come across a great deal of advice online from fellow buslifers surrounding this topic, so please leave a comment if you have any advice to share.
Feeling like we don't have a home.
Does anyone living in a mobile home feel like this? As homely as we make our bus, I can imagine the inevitable odd night at a truck stop or supermarket carpark won't quite feel like a home sweet home. Maybe feeling like we don't have a true home (if this is the case) is the price we have to pay for the thrill that is life on the road?
We'd love to hear any fears you might have had pre-bus life, whether or not the reality of bus life lined up with your fears, and how you tackled any fears that might have otherwise held you back. Leave a message in the comment box for us and others to read, to remind everyone that we're all as crazy as each other, and any fears you have that you might deem futile are totally valid.
As always, thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful rest of your day, wherever you are.