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3 Things I Miss About Our Bus (+ One Thing I Don’t)

A few years ago, I pitched a crazy idea to my husband – what if we moved our family of six into an RV? His response was an emphatic NO! Thankfully, he’s used to my crazy ideas and eventually agreed to give it a try.

You see, up until that time, we’d been on a bit of an uncoventional path. I’d discovered minimalism and immediatley jumped on board, eager to decrease the clutter and spend less time cleaning.

That was, of course, after I had discovered natural health and made many changes which had earned me the endearing label of “the family hippie”.

Why not see what it was like to live in an RV?

We sold most of our stuff, moved into a small trailer until the bus was liveable (the bus felt like a mansion after that) and despite certain people in our lives telling us we were crazy, we took the plunge. In June of 2013 we moved into our Skoolie (a school bus turned RV) on the condition that he’d try it for a year and then reassess (but that he’d probably hate it).

Just under six months ago, we moved back into a house,  a little over a year after moving into the bus. Our move had nothing to do with his reassessmment (turns out, he loved it) but because of a job change that required him to live closer to work.

Once again we have more than 275 square feet of living space. And doors. With locks on them.

It has a giant, fenced back yard, an apple tree and a laundry line (which made me squeal with delight). Plus, there’s plenty of room to park the bus.

Our place is right in town, near many of our friends (my extrovert son is SO happy about this). And it’s a mere 30 seconds from the ambulance station, so my husband can easily respond to calls from home at night – meaning I don’t have to kiss him goodbye for 48 hours anymore.

So July was a huge month of transition for us as we moved back into a house and hustled to find furniture for it (and resisted the urge to go out and buy everything new).

Now, as we approach six months of living in a house, I’ve noticed something. I really miss my bus.

Here’s what I miss most (and one thing I don’t):

1. The closeness

We were really close together in that bus. Literally. Which meant we spent a lot of time with the kids. Being in the house means we’re a lot more spread out and apt to do our own thing more often than not.

2. Ease of cleaning

It took about 20 minutes to do a deep clean of the bus, y’all. I love that. Now there are carpets to vacuum, bedrooms to keep tidy and a giant garage in need of organizing that I keep avoiding.

3. My bathtub

Baths are a big deal for me. I’m huge on self-care and soaking in a tub of hot water relaxes and rejuvenates me. Our bathtub/shower in the bus is a re-purposed steel feed trough. It’s cool, easy to clean and actually perfect for a nice, hot, deep bath.

And the one thing I don’t miss?

Not being able to entertain as easily.

Yes, it was possible, and since we lived next to my parents we enjoyed having them “over” for dinner with us. It was just … crowded. Plus, even though we lived on an organic herb farm with tons of outside space and gorgeous views of my beloved Cascade Mountains, we were still 20 minutes out of town.

And since many of our friends also have lots of kids, gatherings were usually relegated to summer, when it was nice out and we could hang out outside.

My heart was definitely yearning for more relationship.

What’s next?


Though my word of the year is sustainability, I easily could have chosen hospitality. Relationships have been an important part of our simplifying journey. And while I love the bus and living small, I feel so drawn to embrace the opportunity we have right now to easily welcome people into our home.

I want more drop-in guests. More Settlers of Catan nights. More family dinners around our table.

While much of our life has been focused on less for the few years, it’s so we can be available for more of what matters to us.

It’s been a good change.

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Lisa

    I can see the appeal of living in a bus and getting back to the basics, but I need some room to breathe…It’s the introvert in me. I would say you weren’t crazy, but brave.

    • Nina Nelson

      I’m such an introvert, Lisa, so it was definitely an adventure. Thankfully, I was able to get plenty of alone time. We probably were a bit crazy. 🙂

  2. Absolutely Tara

    Great post. Add a person who had sold everything I own twice (once to travel with my family of 6) I must admit that while I love minimalism, there’s something comforting about having a home and a certain amount of creature comforts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Victoria Mininger @ Simplified

    I can so relate to this post. We lived in a motor home for 11 months while we built our current house – 6 of us in one space was a lot but we have some great memories. Some things I don’t miss, but much of what you mentioned, I do miss too.

  4. Heather

    My soon-to-be husband and I have recently discovered living small and minimally. I am completely in love and have enthralled myself in both lifestyles as much as possible. I want a tiny house but he’s just not willing to go to that “extreme” so we’re talking about building our own, 800-900sq ft house. It’s larger than I would like, but it would give us, our future children and pets room to play and be independent while not taking up too much land and resources. I love that even though you’re out of your bus, you still holding onto the minimalist mentality!!

    : )

    • Nina Nelson

      Thanks Heather! Our hope is to purchase some land and build a small home in the near future. We love Carmella’s cabin at Assortment Blog and think 800-ish square feet would be perfect for us (with the right design)

  5. Rebekah

    Nina! It’s so neat to hear about another mom living in a bus for a year :p my family and I are planning and hoping to do this very same thing come June! We are excited for the adventure ahead 🙂 it’s funny that you say you are an introvert though because I have to admit that I am a crazy extrovert and totally get energized by being around people ;p one of our family goals for living in a bus is to hopefully share our lives more than we do now in our house haha. So it’s funny he way different personalities function in different places. I’m very curious now how things will change or turn out, as far as hospitality is concerned. What do you think about being hospitable outside your own home? I am really hoping to bring dinner to friends and just show up at their houses for the evening (with a little heads up of course) but so often I feel like I get stuck in a rut of doing my own thing within my own little house. That’s why I love the idea of literally bringing my house to other people haha, even if it may be a bit crowded inside ours soon. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m so happy to have found a fellow friend in the skoolie world 😉 blessings to you and yours

    • Nina Nelson

      I love that idea, Rebekah! I confess that I’m so much more comfortable inviting people over into my space than I am going to their homes, at least when my entire family is involved. But I tend to feel that way taking my four high-energy kiddos anywhere. 🙂 That’s another part of hospitality I hope to work on this year – recognizing that my gracious hosts know that I have four kids and want to welcome our whole tribe in, craziness and all.

  6. Kathy

    Your journey is fascinating to me.

    We’ve gone full circle over the past 25 years from very small house to too-large house and now back to smallish (probably not small enough).

    Small is just so much easier and less stressful! Everything from utility bills to yard work is just easier to handle. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. Kelsey

    Oh, I love the idea of “hospitality” as the word for the year. It isn’t something that comes naturally to me, but we’re moving into our first family home next week and I have continually felt God saying he’s blessed me with a lovely home so that I can share it with others, starting with hosting our weekly small group.

    Your bathtub in the bus sounds amazing! Our new one is super shallow. I wonder if my husband would think a feed trough was too unconventional in a little cottage? 😉

    • Nina Nelson

      Haha! I dream of bringing my trough in here, Kelsey. Or asking my husband to hook up the bus so I can use it for baths. 🙂 It really is the perfect size for a nice long, hot bath.

  8. Catherine Forest

    This really resonates with me. You see, we live in a bus (an ’84 Bluebird Wanderlodge, 35 feet long) with our 3 daughters (10 yo twins and 9 yo) and LOVE our life on the road. We have found the perfect balance of community and freedom by finally meeting families that we really connect with and traveling together. It is simply awesome. We entertain (we can crowd a lot of people in there!), have Saturday morning coffee and waffles together, hike, rock climb, bike with other people. It’s great. And yes, I love how little we need and how quickly I can clean the bus, and how close we all are. Not sure I could move back in a house right now…

    • Nina Nelson

      That sounds so lovely, Catherine! Do you have any pictures of it online?

  9. Lois

    Nina, your bus reminded me of the life I had raising my boys in an 840 sq ft mobile home. No, it wasn’t as small as your bus but it was small enough, especially when they were teens, to have that closeness you talk about yet still have private space for each of us when needed. If I could do it all over again I would do the same thing.

  10. Mary P

    My family full-time RV’ed for 8 years (me, my husband, 2 small children) and loved it. Like everything else, everything has its season. Now, more than 20 years later, many things have changed. My husband died, my children are now adults with families of their own, and I have come almost full circle to living in a small (450 square foot) studio apartment. It is by choice – the apartment is attached to a 3 bedroom 2 bath home that I own and rent out. I would never have made that choice if I hadn’t had the RV experience.

  11. Linda Sand

    My husband and I moved out of our RV into a 2 bedroom apartment. I don’t like having so much space. It echoes. I wish I could talk him into going back to RV living.

    • Nina Nelson

      I said the exact same thing when we moved back in, Linda! It’s taken me quite a while to adjust to that. Were it not for our amazing neighbors and game nights, I’d be looking for a way to move back in ASAP. 🙂

  12. Melanie Poteat

    Thank you for sharing! My husband & I are been talking about moving into an RV! We don’t have any little ones (just our 2 dogs) so I think we can make it work! I admire you for doing it with children!

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