Simple doesn’t always mean easy. Just ask Hannah and Luke Geasey who, along with their children Essence (6) and Levi (1), are converting a 1996 Blue Bird school bus into a tiny home so that they can travel, explore and have family adventures around the country.
“The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” –James Taylor
A few years ago, amid the harriedness of school, parenting, working and all of the other responsibilities that come along with being an adult, Hannah and Luke Geasey took a step back to ask themselves a very important question about life:
What are we doing and why are we doing it?
“We were chasing the so-called American Dream and it was exhausting,” said Luke. Pursuing higher education, working hard to pay the bills, paying high rent for a small apartment in an expensive city, raising a toddler and dealing with a family loss was too much.
Luke and Hannah knew that they wanted a different kind of life and considered the possibilities, taking into account their love for traveling to new places, meeting new people and avoiding the chill of winter.
They decided to downsize and adopt a more nomadic style of living, glamping around the country in their self-made home in order to enjoy their lives more. Most importantly, by cutting their expenses and living a lower-priced lifestyle, they figured they could work less and spend more time together as a family.
The decision to “live tiny” didn’t come easy to Hannah right away, but when she considered their family’s values, where they wanted to spend their money and what was truly important, she saw the obvious benefits. “(Tiny Living) works for us because it helps us to really narrow the focus of what’s important to us, and that is spending time together as a family.”
Though there are several different ways to live tiny, the Geaseys ultimately settled on a school bus over options like an airstream or RV. School buses are built to carry children, which means they have an extra level of safety and hardy construction — a key consideration for the family.
They named their 1996 Blue Bird School Bus Alex, after the character, Christopher McCandless who adopts the name Alexander Supertramp in the book/movie Into the Wild. In the story (based on true events), Alexander rejects his conventional lifestyle and sets out on a journey to discover his authentic self in the wilderness. The ideas of self-discovery, adventure and living an authentic life resonated with the Geaseys.
Building their new home
The process of converting a school bus into a home presented many challenges along the way. Mechanical problems have plagued the Geaseys from the beginning, starting with their inaugural drive when smoke poured out of the hood. Needless to say, Alex needed some work before they were able to undertake a move from Boulder back home to Maryland, where they’re both from.
Though the process of preparing their new home has taken longer than expected, Luke and Hannah have learned many valuable lessons along the way, including the ability to see every roadblock as a problem that can be solved.
Adapting to the simple life
The only thing about the Geasey’s lives that has changed is everything.
Getting used to tiny living has been a huge adjustment. They’ve rid themselves of half of their belongings, moved out of their home, traveled across the country, had a baby and built their tiny home. Along the way, they’ve had to get used to life without many essential amenities, like a washing machine.
Living in a tiny living space means the things they make room for must be chosen with great care. The Geaseys have learned how to live with less and figure out how to solve problems by using what they have. No toaster? No problem. They grill their bread in a cast iron pan, which works just as well and tastes delicious.
The Geaseys are grateful for what they have, and have learned not to take essentials (like running water) for granted. They’re mindful in a way they didn’t have to be before. The family has never been more appreciative of the simple things in life, like the amazing view they have outside their expansive front windshield.
The family spends ample time outside every day in nature, rain or shine, which dramatically extends their living space. Luke and Hannah own their own home for the first time, and have created a beautiful space for their family to live.
Get on the bus
In their partnership, Luke handles the construction and Hannah tackles the design and décor. Everything in the bus has been hand selected with care, including their compact Kenmore fridge, which is the perfect size for their space and their family.
The kitchen is the heart of the Geasey home, where the family spends most of their time. In such small quarters, Hannah knew she didn’t want a full-sized fridge because it would take up too much valuable space and use too much power — an important consideration for their solar-powered lifestyle.
“We love this fridge,” Hannah tells the other Skoolies who reach out to her on Instagram to ask about the kitchen cornerstone and share tips for tiny living.
The Geaseys are gearing up to hit the road in their home. They plan to visit friends and family in warmer states like Florida, North Carolina and Texas, and hope to meet up with other Skoolies they’ve gotten to know on Instagram.
“We have so many friends in the Skoolie community that we haven’t even met yet,” says Hannah. The support of the Skoolie community has been a huge part of the Geaseys dream. The supportive community shares the bond of similar challenges and triumphs, and is extremely generous with their advice, time and encouragement.
What has undoubtedly been an incredible amount of hard work has also been extraordinarily rewarding. The Geasey’s lives are filled with amazing views, an extended tiny living community and the bond they share working together as a family.
Hannah and Luke took a giant leap into the unknown, and have been rewarded with a simpler life focused on fewer things. They remind each other to keep their perspective in check, because life can be either complicated or simple, depending on how you look at it. They have less, so they’re more grateful for what they have.
Though the lifestyle they’ve chosen is not without its challenges, the Geaseys are ultimately able to greet each stumbling block as an opportunity to learn something new. And, though they have a bit more work to do before they’re ready to hit the open road, they realize that it’s all part of the journey, and there’s no rush to go anywhere.
Follow along with the Geasey’s cross-country adventure on Instagram @thegeaseyadventure.