Yesterday I bought a full length (40 ft), yellow, school bus. I bought the bus off craigslist from a bus company called Park Adams Transportation for $1500 bringing my total expenses up to $1500 for the bus conversion. I met up with one of their employees who showed me out back where he had over 50 buses stored, only 3 of which were for sale. I learned that school districts are only allowed to run their buses for 10 years before they need to upgrade to newer buses. This makes it so that there is a consistently high turnover in in the bus world and thus is the reason why it’s so cheap to make a schoolie.
My main focus when looking for a quality bus was that the rust was in check (most important that the bottom of the bus is cleanish), that all the electrical systems worked properly (failed to see a faulty speedometer), and that the engine sounded and looked like it would last. As soon as I found a bus that met my specifications I made the purchase. It was nice that I felt that I could trust the guy that sold it to me and he assured me that if there were anything that turned up wrong that I could bring it into the shop and he would be able to help me out in fixing it.
Making the first drive was one of the craziest things I have ever done in my life. Technically you are supposed to remove all indications of it being a school bus and then get permission from the state for a temporary relocation before you can drive the bus, but the man who I bought it from assured me that for the first drive that it would be ok. I set off on a 14-mile drive to find the spot where the bus is parked now. It was a wild drive, though its not as hard to drive something that big as I thought it would be. Its important to make sure that you will clear each turn at to watch tail kick when turning as well. Eventually I made it to north mpls where the bus is parked in front of a park and not in front of private property.
Having parked the bus in a comfortable space I now am looking into removing the markings that make it a school bus, unbolting the seats, and getting the bus registered as a recreational vehicle. I also want to know more about what the laws are about parking a large vehicle on the streets for an extended period of time and am wondering if I am going to have to deal with people messing with me. I mostly feel like I am in over my head but for sure expected to feel like this. I am taking it one day at a time.
It’s been almost 5 months that I have been living in my car. There have been many upgrades that I have been able to make and have come a long ways from when I was sleeping in the back seat on nothing but the matting that is provided upon purchase. Now I live in a capable vehicle that can go from full size bedding to a 5 seater in less than ten minutes. The car community here in Seattle is off the chain as Seattle is home to more car campers than anywhere else in the country. My life is something that you would expect from anyone that lives in their car, although I must claim that I am faring better than most would be in my position. A few things that that I would like to talk about are; charging your phone, hanging out, and work.
First, as anyone can attest, we all carry around phones and much of our lives are devoted to the task of keeping the phone alive. For most people the day is started with a phone at full battery because it can be charged when asleep. For me it’s just the opposite and for a long time I would spend a good chunk of my day at starbucks for no other reason than that I would need to charge my phone, which could take something along the lines of an hour or more! Over the past few months I have realized the importance of batteries and the different ways to charge them. For starters I have a $20 batter that I picked up from Target that gets its power via USB which I keep plugged in to my car port and is good for a +30% after a day of driving. I also have a JobRocker Max which functions both as a battery charger as well as a boombox. It’s got a great battery life as and is good for maybe three or four charges when at max juice. I am not able to plug this in to my car as so simply look for opportunities to plug it into an outlet whenever I get the chance, but mostly I just carry it into starbucks maybe once every other week. I do not feel that it’s healthy to go in to a starbucks for the sole reason of charging the phone and I try to stay away from this with the help of these batteries. I also have a computer but don’t like to rely on it.
Hanging out in different parts of the city is the biggest advantage of living in your car. If I want to move to the north side it’s as simple as finding a parking spot where no one will bother me. This is a very simple to find but I will note that public parks are generally not open past dusk and even if the park does provide all the best places to wake up in the morning and pee, people will get annoyed and the cops will often be called. Shame really. On the real though, there is generally a solid place to park within one mile of anywhere in the city. I make it a point to schedule my life in a way where I can sleep in the most convenient of places and am able to drive far less than someone that needs to end up in the same place every night. I have made it a point to not park in the same spot twice though I do have a few favored spots.
A sub point that I would like to make that will look and feel a lot like bragging, but could provide some real use for anyone that is looking to use this as a model for building their own car type of living situation, is the point of the luxury type of living situation that I find myself in. In my center console I have all my grooming supplies along with various charging cables. In the compartment under the climate control I keep my weed, pipe, scissors and most other paraphernalia type equipment (pots legal in Washington, other stuff that I keep there, not so much). In the glove box I keep tissue and snacks, and behind the seats I use for storage by which I can fit all of my possessions. It helps coming into this lifestyle being a practicing minimalist. In the back I have laid a full size futon mattress that I got specifically because it is about half as thick as your regular mattress and so I am able to fold the seats up and down without too much effort. I keep the JobRocker Max in between the drivers and passenger seats at night and then move it to the back bed in during the day. It’s plenty warm with two sleeping bags and a blanket and I have more than enough room for two, which happens on occasion though not nearly enough! Another important point is that the back seat windows are tinted. This is something I did not think about when I bought the car but is something that has proved to be incredibly valuable as it protects the privacy of my room.
Last but not least I will speak on my job. Currently I am working as a ski and snowboard instructor up on the mountain. I am able to keep the board on top of the car and my boots in the front seat. The mountain that I work at is a good 40 miles away from anywhere that anyone would typically live and my shift are typically 3 or 4 days in a row. I am able to save on time and gas by camping in the region of my work which is not only efficient but also epic. It get lonely way up there in the woods but there are a few local bars that I can go into to make fun of the locals and to stave off the pain that comes with solitude. There is also all the greatness that comes with solitude as well. Books, meditation, writing, research, social media, building the consciousness of the future are all things that I have a passion for and all things that I find in abundance when living in my car.
For any of you that have been keeping up with the blog and that may have read my last post, it ended with me heading down the coast doing gansta shit with a guy that I picked up in northern Cali on the weed farm. Maybe an hour after publishing that last post I learned that my partner had bailed on me with all my product as well as my cell phone and computer. I ended up having to pawn a camera just to get back to Seattle where I would be able to make a living once again. It was rough to learn but a good lesson. I know now better than ever that I need to keep to my own path and not let others dissuade me away from what I know is right. It was for sure a setback to have someone close to me like that do so much harm but here I am now back in Seattle and working my ass of for the next big thing.
Now I am back to the city life and what I know well. I have next to nothing and it is time to start to build which is one of my favorite places to be. I find myself more motivated and less distracted than when I have stability and for this reason I love where I am at. It’s the times that I have my basic need covered and I slip back into old habits that I wish to destroy everything and start all over again once more. There are no real start overs however. I cannot put aside all the faults that karma will not let me ignore but what’s more is that I have learned so much over the years making it much easier to go to the place that I want to be. I have vision and at the present I am working very hard to fulfill that vision.
To anyone that is going through something of the same I will now make a list of all the little useful things that I have learned while making my way from nothing to something here in Seattle.
Get some food stamps
-You may feel like living off the government is not something your parents raised you for but if you really have nothing then the food stamps program is for you. Literally, it’s built to help people who are struggling to get back on their feet and all it takes is a visit to the office in order to apply. The same day that you walk in you can walk out again with something like $180 per month. This can be key to getting your spending down to 0 so that you can save everything for dream fulfillment. The food stamps office is located here 2106 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121. Check it out.
The Compass Center
-Another huge resource for me was a mail deliver program. Not having a house I needed to find a place where I could get mail. The Compass Center of Seattle was exactly that place. I am not sure if I would recommend this over the post office (I never tried the post office) because there are almost always long lines filled with many people that are mumbling under their breath. Still, if you need mail this is a place that can do exactly that. I use this place as my address when filling out business forums and applying for jobs and such. There are other resources there too like housing if you’re really in a pickle. Its located right by the water front here 77 S Washington St, Seattle, WA 98104
– This will be the easiest way to make money fast. All it takes is to walk into the office, find the phone number of whoever is running Seattle Pedicabs and then give them a call. They can get you on a bike and making cash within hours potentially. If you’re not working an event or on the weekends the money can be fairly terrible, but it’s better than nothing. I have seen many people roll into a pedicab office with nothing with the intent on making back to something. So much so that I would even say it’s the pedicab way for some. The phone number I found online is this (206) 708-1726. The office is located is Sodo just south of the stadium right by Krispy Kreme on Occidental. It’s a small garage door that is open when people are working there. Good luck. Do not tell them that you found out about pedicabs through this blog. That would get me in hella trouble.
Other than those tips there I can’t say much else of what might help. There are a few shelters around town that might be able to help with work, photo i.d. and maybe even sleeping arrangements. The sad part about this blog is that most of the people that really need to help I am advocating for do not have the ability to do so. I don’t know what it would take to lift the helpless out of their position but maybe this will do something for someone.