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minimalism

Breanna's Journal

Moving Into The Bus

josiah-driving

11 Days in a Bus

It has really been crazy living in our school bus for the last week & a half. We love it. We hate it. We never regret it. The 9th of September we set out on our voyage to Campbellsville, KY. It took us in total about 8 hours between two days to get to the place we now call home. On Friday night we slept at a truckstop in Seymour, KY. At about noon on Saturday we arrived at Green River Stables where we will be staying till the end of December.
Once we picked our spot, the fun began! I have been waiting for this moment for months. Finally, I could decorate and place all our knick knacks on display from past travels. It took about 3 hours to get everything set up in just the right place. Over the next week we would spend time reorganizing + pitching things that we just didn’t have room for. There’s several ten minute projects that we would continue throughout the week. Some of those projects were; leveling out the bus, putting more caulk on the roof (specifically on the screws), leak proofing the plumbing to the sink, mounting the tv, & hanging up the curtains.

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While here, we will be working for Amazon in one of their fulfillment centers as pickers. Hopefully we can make some decent money while here and leave with some great memories. Everyone that we have met so far has loved the bus. We expected a lot of hate from the Rvers parked around us who have spent well over 40K on their rigs. The only rude comment we received was “Do you have air conditioning in your bus?” Anyone could tell from simply passing our bus that we do, since we have a vent out the drivers windows. Apparently, the guy told Josiah he was worried about our dogs, as if we would leave them in a hot bus all day. That really upset me, because I would never do that any animal + especially not my furbabies.


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On that note, our dogs seem to really love it here. We have an end spot so there’s not too much traffic our way & they get to explore the woods and trails often since they’re only a minutes walk away. They’ve been getting along great. I do think their favorite part was the drive, because they would occasionally stick their head out the window, even on the highway.
Overall, the bus has been fun for last 11 days, we have deff thought of high tailing it home, but we won’t give up that quick. We know this is the life we want to be able to travel & not spend our life working away. I’m sure as the days go on, we will learn to love our bus more & more.

Till next time,
XOXO Breanna

School Bus Conversion Videos

Bus is out of the shop & Skoolie Neighbor

Yes the bus is back in action and while we were absent from the storage area a new skoolie friend had started working on his bus. So I ended up going to Trans Chicago to have the bus fixed. Originally I had no idea that it was a Freightliner dealer and when I found out thought that was a good thing. I was under the impression that we were on a Freightliner chassis but apparently its an international??? Go figure because  Freightliner bought Thomas Built Busses in like 98 or 99….. So i don’t understand why it would be an International Chassis but that’s what they said anyway.   None the less they were able to bypass the school bus stuff and get the bus back in action for the low low price of $1,047.91 unfortunately a great deal more than the tow.

Breanna's Journal

Shawnee National Forest

Exploring Shawnee National Forest

It was spring break for my long time friend Emily and I was itching to get away, so we decided to go on a hiking trip. After some debate and a coin toss, we started planning our trip to Shawnee National Forest.

We visited Shawnee March 14th-16th. We had perfect weather and decided to tent camp. Below I have descriptions of each of the places we hiked along with descriptions and helpful tips 🙂 Hope this helps you with your tip to Shawnee National Forest.

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Picking Up Maps

There are two districts within the national forest, Hidden Springs and Mississippi Bluffs. When planning your trip make sure to check which hiking places are in each district so you don’t waste too much time driving. Make sure to stop by one of the ranger stations of the supervisor’s office to pick up a overview map of the park and individual maps for each hiking spot. These will be helpful, as they describe the trail and give instructions on how to locate each area. Do not rely on signage to direct you where to go as the areas are spread out and brown recreation signs are a rarity. Also, there is horrible cell reception and very little data.

Hidden Springs Ranger District

Garden of the Gods: The views here are super gorgeous and will only take you about 45-60 minutes to explore depending on if you climb the rocks and explore a bit. This is a loop trail that will take you back to the parking lot. This place is definitely worth going to. The first night we also camped here for $10, just so you know there are bathrooms, but no showers.

High Knob: High Knob can be difficult to find. Make sure to hang right when you come to the equestrian campground and follow the road up the hill. You come to a super pretty overlook and some picnic tables. It’s a great place to have lunch, but there is also a small tail that should take less than an hour. There isn’t much maintenance, so it can be tricky to find. As you look at the picnic tables from the parking lot, go to the right, and look through the trees a little bit. There will be some stairs that will take you to the base of the rock where you can explore. It is a loop trail and you will end up on the other side of the picnic tables.

Rim Rock & Pounds Hollow: The trail for Rim and Rock and Pounds Hollow can be done together. Rim Rock is a loop trail that will have an opportunity to go to Pounds Hollow. Pounds Hollow is not a loop, so you once you get there, walk the same trail back. Frogs + turtles can be spotted along the way. At first when approaching Rim Rock trail from the parking lot you will encounter 3 different trails, stay to left, this takes you on the lower trail to explore around the base of the rock, you will come out on the right side.

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Burden Falls: Burden Falls was awesome. The waterfall is beautiful but be prepared to get wet. It’s a good idea to bring waterproof shoes since most of the time you’ll be by the creek or in the waterfalls. Don’t be afraid to climb down the rocks and explore! The trail here can be tricky to follow. It stays close to creek and can be found at the top by the parking lot. When you are on top of the hill and feel the trail has ended, don’t worry, just go down the hill!

Bell Smith Springs: This was one of our places and would definitely recommend. It is also within 15 minutes of Burden Falls and has a campground as well. Once again there are no showers. Just note that if you grabbed a specific map for this area from a station it is not updated with the white trail info. There is a map at the trail head that shows the white trail. Emily & I got lost on the white trail. I definitely recommend taking the blue trail and then going onto the lower yellow. Once you come across the ladder it will take you to the upper yellow which leads into the white if you go to the right. Overall a great place to go hiking for hours with colored markers along the way.

Cave-In-Rock It is technically not a part of Shawnee, but is apart of it’s own state park, but since you’re in the area you might as well stop here. It one massive 55 foot opening of a cave. There is not much to do once inside but it’s magnificent to see. Also, sitting by the river is a great place to watch the sunset.

Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District

Little Grand Canyon: This is a great place to do a couple hours of hiking but make sure to bring your waterproof shoes. This is a gem that is easily missed due to sketchy trails and waterfall staircases. Emily and I entered the trail by the parking lot and then when we got to the overlook after wandering and climbing on the bluffs we found the slim trail to the right that takes one down to a waterfall and natural rock stairs. When you get to the bottom there are white trail markers and a defined path. To exit the canyon you will have to go back up another waterfall. You have gone just a tad too far if you hit “private property” signs. Overall, I would definitely recommend this hike.

Inspiration Point: This is one of the most scenic overlooks and makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. It is a very easy hike and suitable for most. Takes about 30 minutes total but words can’t describe it. The hyperlink to trail is the exact format of maps that can be found at the supervisor’s and ranger’s stations.

Pomona Natural Bridge: This is also a very easy hike and is family friendly. There’s a couple large rocks to play on, but honestly Emily and I didn’t find much reason to stay long. Glad we did it, because we were in the area, but left much to be desired.  

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Fountain Bluff: I can’t find much information on them about them on the website but there are some bluffs with a couple of trails. They’re pretty tricky to find and most areas have been covered with damage due to a storm in 2008. But if you want to find them there is a couple trails heading North on Gorham Road from Route 3. The first one will be .5 miles in and you just park on the side of the road where tire tracks should be. Go down a little bit and there will be another trail. There is waterfall and a ladder to climb. The damage made it hard to do to much hiking here. I’d bring a machete to cut branches out of the way. Go North again on Gorham Rd and there you will get to where the bluffs end. Park you car and walk the north line of trees until you come across the path. There’s not too long of a path or much to see but we were determined to find something. We never really figured out how to get to the top of the bluffs. There is a street off of Gorham that goes past a school and there’s a cool view there but not much else. Please let me know if you found how to get up there.

Overall, Shawnee was awesome & Emily was deff the best partner to do it with. We both had a great time & one day I hope to return again.

Happy hiking,

XOXO Breanna

School Bus Conversion Videos

School Bus Conversion RV~Skoolie~Tiny Home #23

More work on our new home in a school bus conversion. Sure does take a lot of work to turn an old school bus into a livable RV/Tiny Home. Finishing up the fiberglass as well as showing you the final result. Let us know how you think we did with the fiberglass in the comments below.

Captains Log

Minimalism & My Sweater

So I have actually decided that I am going to go deeper into minimalism than I had originally thought. I am going to go more into this in another video however because I have just found out about the capsule wardrobe. So more on that later.

Breanna's Journal Europe

Best of Europe

Everyone keeps asking me what my favorite part of Europe was and I just can’t decide on one!

SOOO. I decided to write my top favorites from each country!

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LONDON

  • Going to the Borough Market. There was so much delicious food everywhere. This is where I go to try the Egyptian food for the first time & have been craving it ever since. It the biggest and best farmer’s market I have ever been to.
  • I’m not sure where we were, but we were on the other side of the channel + directly across from Tower of London at a viewing of an important soccer match. There were a couple pop-up bars and furniture space out for people to mingle. This is where I had the best falafel ever. It was a beautiful night out and we felt totally in with the locals.
  • During a tour one day, we had a 45 min break to go have lunch. While everyone else was headed to Express Pizza or Prett a Manger, we wanted to go to an authentic english pub. The guide directed up towards a place we would some delicious fish + chips. Not only did we receive fish & french fries, but very bland guacamole or green mash potatoes as well. We eventually found out about the mushy peas & laughed it off.

Notice all my favorites are surrounded by food LOL

PRAGUE

  • While being in Prague we had an awesome Jewish Quarter tour. Our guide was awesome + we wish he could have been our personal guide for our whole trip. There was some powerful history with us that day & it felt like the old city felt alive. Learning about people from such a different period of time and being able to see the same exact buildings as they did, was crazy!!!!!!
  • I never thought one of my best moments about Prague would be drinking Lemonade, but the lemonade here was fantastic!!! Nowhere at home can I find Lavender or Elderflower Lemonade. Josiah + I spent our evening in Old Town staring at the Astronomical Clock drinking different lemonades.
  • Staying in the hostel was one experience I will never forget. We stayed at Ritchie’s Hostel, the best part was that we were in a great location off the main street Karlova and in 2 minute walking distance to the Charles Bridge. Not only was it super cheap, but we got to meet other travelers as well.

 

ROME

  • Going to the Colosseum was one of the most exciting things on our trip. It was crazy to think about the events that happened there. There was an aura in the air from all the past history. Pictures of the Colosseum just don’t do it justice. Not only did we take a bike tour past it, but also got to take a guided tour inside as well. We got to look down into the depth of the center & see where the cages would have been filled with medieval animals.
  • While in Rome we stayed with Christina who we found through Airbnb. Her and awesome dog welcomed us with open arms. At this time I was feeling pretty homesick and missing my own puppies, so this came at a great time. Staying with others not only let us meet new people but also let us stay in authentic neighborhoods. Most locals in Rome knew English, but not everyone in the Sant Antonio did. It was awesome. This was a non-tourist area & had the best Tiramisu I have ever had in my life. 2 blocks away from Christina’s home was Bar Pompi. This place is like heaven for any tiramisu + speciality coffee drinker like me.
  • All the food here was also very delicious. They used wonderful spices and we really felt like we were eating ethnic food. The places closer to tourist attractions and pretty steep, but if you go a little outside the center then you can find delicious cheap food.

PARIS

  • Paris is by the far, the most beautiful place I have ever been to. If there was one thing I could change about our trip it would be, spending more time in Paris. Keep in mind that our flight there got delayed by 18 hours. Before visiting we had heard that Paris may not be a very friendly place, but that was just the opposite. Everyone was very friendly, and it was just one beautiful city. From our Air B&B we had a great view of the Eiffel Tower.
  • The food. OMG. The food was nothing short of outstanding. We tried snails, pastries, frogs legs, and macaroons. I also had a goat cheese salad that had roasted potatoes. While on our bike ride we stopped for ice cream. While everyone picked the usual chocolate, I had lavender. YES, LAVENDER ICE CREAM + IT WAS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER HAD.
  • Josiah also planned one of the best bike rides I have ever been on. We used Big Fat Tire Bike Tours. Not only did we get to ride bikes by the Louvre, but the bike ride also included a river boat tour as well that drifted past the Eiffel Tower while we drank wine. The next time I am in Paris we will definitely book one of their bike tours again.

Dublin

Keep in mind we were only in Dublin for about 12 hours for a layover, but we also had many good times here.

Dublin

  • 1. It was kinda crazy getting a Taxi in Dublin. We had no idea that they often do not accept credit cards, unlike what we experience in the other countries. The driver gave us a ride home and we literally gave him everything we had & it still wasn’t enough cash.
  • We tried fish & chips in a bag from a local fast food joint, because by the time we were able to get on the bus it was already past nine + we couldn’t find anywhere else to serve us food. So we sat on a random stoop at ate the meal from the paper bag. As we made our way down town, we were able to get some drinks & see the crowded bars. One lesson we did learn is that soda is not included in the price of a drink. For example, I ordered a gin + tonic and received a mini Shepps bottle and a glass with a shot of gin + some ice. I ended up paying separately for the tonic, almost doubling my price of drink. Shots it is next time then.
  • Not only did we take a taxi home, but we took a bike taxi. It was so cool. We even convinced our driver to stop at McDonalds. Even though we were staying a couple miles from downtown, the biker ensured us he could make it, and he did. I still don’t believe he knew far really we were going, but the ride was awesome.
  • In the morning before we went to the airport we quickly went downtown and tried to get to Guinness brewery. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us go to the gift shop because it was part of tours only. We just didn’t have the time to go on a tour due to our flight schedule.
Breanna's Journal

We Collect Lapel Pins

Our Minimal Souvenirs

We are just like everyone else & want to have something we can take home with us to help remember our trips. But being minimalist we really try not to buy to much of the touristy junk. Every once in awhile I will get a t-shirt or we will find something from a local craftsman. We never though buy a t-shirt just to have a t-shirt from there. Only if the item can be used on a regular basis or can be used for decorating our home, then do we buy it.

There is one thing we always try and bring home from our trips and that is a lapel pin. Whenever we go somewhere we search shops in order to find these unique pin. Every pin is different and reminds of us of where we have been. The pins work for us because they’re cheap, small, and easy to organize. We have pins from almost all our trips. The only places we don’t have them from are Myrtle beach, Lake Delevan, Lake Geneva, Cocoa Beach, and the Dells. Some tourists shops just don’t have them sadly.

On our last trip to Florida we were able to get several. We bought 1 Universal Studios, 2 Islands of Adventure, 1 from the Kennedy Space Center,and 2 from Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Pins do add up quickly. Currently we have 33 pins. As we see it, it is easier to have 33 pins than 33 coffee mugs.

To display all of our lapel pins Josiah & I picked up some canvas from a local fabric store, inserted 2 doll rods, and sewed all the sides together. It was easy, cheap, and handmade. We can roll it up when we want to store it away. We have the rope that was supposed to be used at our wedding ceremony tied around  it to keep it shut. Below is a picture of our canvas!

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We have them all in chronological order so we can easily see the timeline of all the travels we have gone on. This canvas is really special to us because it displays all the adventures we have been on together. While we are traveling on the bus we plan to pick up as many lapel pins as we can along the way.

Captains Log

Star Date 11-13-15

I put new rear shocks on the jeep the other day I also was going to do the front but ordered the wrong ones. I ended up going with Rancho 9000 Xl and am very happy with them so far and cannot wait to get the fronts done. Overall the process was very simple just a pain in the ass with the tires being so large but was able to work around that by propping them up on my legs lol.

Jeep tire change

Breanna said it best “Your Shit Will Set You Free” we have been doing a great job at downsizing our life. Getting rid of stuff has been a very easy process for myself. There are very few items that hold so much sentimental value that prevents me from getting rid of it. I almost feel that I have been living a minimalistic lifestyle to some degree for quite some time without even knowing it.

We also haven’t made it down to the basement where I keep items I don’t use frequently. We are planning on downsizing the basement in the spring when we move into the bus. However most items that are down there will be coming along as it is our camping gear and other outdoor items. However I am looking forward to getting rid of the items that will not be coming with us. Such as one of the dumbest items a 150 gallon fish tank that I never got set up.

I will be writing a post about my decision to move towards a meatless diet but wanted to just share a quick update about that. It’s HARD if you didn’t guess that already! However it is not impossible as there are so many options with meatless substitutes. I wish it was as simple as downsizing our possessions.

Breanna's Journal

Your Shit Will Set You Free

Throw it out. Donate it. Give it away. Whatever you do, just get rid of it.

Shit, that’s all it is. It fills up our homes, life, and time.

Last spring we decided to do some clearing out & we haven’t stopped since then. This past month alone we have made five trips to Goodwill.  Last spring when we went through we thought we had cleaned out everything we didn’t need. We had a huge carload full of clothes, kitchen utensils, books, and so much more. Everyday I find more things around my home that I don’t use enough to be worth keeping. Every time I put something to the side to get donated, I’m relieved. Having so much stuff can be stressful. I never realized that I had accumulated so many unnecessary things.

Breanna-Give-Away

(Sifting through random soap samples.)

I love shopping, just like any other girl. My mom used to take me clothes shopping all the time when I was in high school. I’ve always had nice clothes and worn brand named labels. Once I got my first job at Olive Garden (where Josiah + I met), I continued to spend money on clothes, shoes, and makeup. I never realized how much money I was pissing away on material things. I could have used that money to go on vacation, but instead I was just getting immediate gratification from having a new pair of kicks. Downsizing my closet has been the hardest thing for me when it comes to being a minimalist. I spent my hard-earned money on those clothes, how could I dare just hand them off? I had clothes in my closet with the tags still on them. I told myself I haven’t gotten enough use out of them to donate them. But I did. Because I knew if I hadn’t worn them by now, I wasn’t going to. I had to stop lying to myself. Telling myself, “I’ll wear that ‘next time’.” Because when “next time” rolled around I’d wear one of my usual favorites. I’m down to four pairs of jeans, and that’s not very many for a girl who is used to having a closet full. I know there’s more clothes in my closet I can donate, I’m just not “ready yet”, but I will be soon.

I found a lot of items in the kitchen to donate. There’s only four people living in my house & yet we have 10 plates, why? Why do we have 12 pots of different sizes? I only have two burners ever going at the same time. Just so much extra stuff. 10 bowls, 23 glasses and coffee mugs, 50 pieces of mismatching Rubbermaid containers, 3 spatulas, 3 loaf pans, 5 different cupcake pans, 3 pizza trays, random gadgets, and way to much silverware. I had to tell myself my cupcakes would taste just as good if they’re the classic round or in a butterfly shape.

Breanna Give Away

(Do I wear all of this jewelry?)

It’s not easy, but it makes life easier. Now when I go out to the bar, I don’t have to spend so long trying to figure out what I want to wear, because I love everything I have. I don’t have to decide which eyeshadow, because I only have one palette to choose from.  It makes life simpler having only what I really need and find important. Now I’m constantly slimming down whatever I can. Like today I cleaned out two file holders and twenty pens. There is no reason to have so much stuff just taking up valuable space. I now have made it a challenge for myself to see what else I can toss into the donate pile.

The one area we have not gone through yet and slimmed down is the basement. We honestly don’t have that much stuff in our basement. It’s just going to be a big pain going through packed away camping gear and filled tool boxes. We are saving it for a snowy day this winter when we are locked inside the house when we are unable to work on the bus or jeep.

So I challenge you, donate what you can this holiday season. & only buy what you truly need to on Black Friday. Just because you can buy something doesn’t mean you should.

It’s not a sale, if you don’t need it.