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Traveling Musicians Living w/ 2 Kids in Skoolie Conversion

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Shane and Emily have two little kids and travel the country with their band, doing what they love, while never needing to sacrifice family time to make it happen. They lived in an RV for four years before jumping on the bus bandwagon.

They chose a skoolie because it was a safer choice for their family, and built the whole thing from the bottom up! Now they’re on the road to becoming debt-free, all while enjoying the little moments between gigs.

We got to do a Q&A with Shane about their bus and their life, and you’ll definitely want to read it below! Follow the family on Instagram here to keep up with their journey.

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Family of Four Living on the Arbour Seasons Express

How precious are these four?

They used pallet wood to make awesome cabinetry.

How cool is the wall?

Breakfast time with Dad!

Those are great farmhouse chairs.

They do lots of home cooking.

Here’s their couch for family time.

Their eating area is here in the back.

Edison bulbs are so cool!

A glimpse of the bathroom.

Mason jar cups are perfect for bus life.

Now that’s a front porch!

Master bedroom!

Shane Talks Family Life on the Road

What are your name(s)

We are Shane, Emily, Sawyer, and Juneau Anderson.

How many people (and animals) are living in your home

Currently, we have three adults and two kids. The third adult is our traveling nanny who watches our kids during our shows. We are however about to welcome a kitten into our home who is 2 and a half year old has officially named Noah… We don’t know why but we think it’s cute so we’re going with it haha!

How long have you lived tiny

We traveled full time in an RV for 4 years and then during covid, we converted our school bus… which we have now had for one year.

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?

We travel full time across North America playing coffee shops, colleges/universities, house shows, theme parks, and festivals. This is how we make our living.

What are you hoping to get out of living tiny/small?

I honestly feel like we got it! Family is super important to us and having that quality time while creating memories with our travels is all we could ever dream of or ask for. I will never have that regret that I haven’t spent time with my kids or the fear that I missed out. This is the main reason for living tiny for us.

Describe your decorating style and philosophy.

We really enjoy the farmhouse style and really enjoy keeping things simple. Being debt-free and living for Jesus is really important to us and we try our best to live within our means and our goal is to live an honest and quiet life.

What inspired you to choose a bus (rather than say a tiny house or an RV)?

We actually lived in an RV for 4 years before switching to the bus. We moved to the bus because it was time to upgrade and we knew that what we put financially into the bus, we could get back by reselling since bus life is such a popular thing. RVs are simply not made that well and definitely not worth the money that is spent on them. I’m also an extrovert and the bus just draws people to us. I have given so many gas station tours! There’s also the matter of safety. Buses are made to protect kids and RV’s just crumble.

How did you acquire your home? Did you do a lot of renovations?

We found our bus on the Facebook marketplace and did all the renovations. I DEFINITELY had help with many projects but we started from scratch…. taking out bus seats, insulating… everything!!

What are bills/utilities like compared to before?

I was spending more than $6000 a month on our living expenses and now we are under $1000.

Before going tiny, what was life like?

Before going tiny, it felt like we were working to keep the monthly payments up and it was honestly exhausting. It’s amazing how “normal” this is.

Is there anything from your old life that you miss?

No. haha. I mean, it wasn’t a bad life AT ALL but when it’s compared to what we’re doing now… no no no no no no-no.

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

We spend so much less money. I spend every moment with my family. We see so many things and places and have so many adventures. We’re not working to pay bills… we work because we honestly enjoy what we do!

What about some challenges?

There is a little fear in the back of our minds that we will break down somewhere. Our goal is to be completely debt-free (we’re still paying off the RV) and then building the emergency fund will help us feel a little more secure in that but I think more importantly… we need to get to a place where we truly believe that it’s ok if we break down. Life is not and never will be about ALWAYS being comfortable. It’s about getting to the place where you are content no matter what comes your way. I want to be content whether in plenty or in want.

What makes your tiny home special?

It has given us the freedom to see life differently but if we’re talking about aesthetics, I would say we have a few fun little features. We extended our back bumper to create a back porch and this is where we mount my unicycle and generator. We also kept one of the original bus seats and this is where we have our kids car seats.

What is your favorite part of your tiny home?

I think my personal favorite is where I’m currently writing this blog. We have a “work desk” that fits perfectly over our steering wheel and this is where I work on my emails and I get a perfect view out of the front windows.

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

I would like to encourage anyone and everyone to be debt-free!! This will allow you to do SO MUCH MORE and enjoy this amazing adventure SO MUCH MORE!!!

Anything I didn’t ask about that we should know?

The one thing I would like to share are some travel hacks. There are MANY apps that help us decide where we are going to stay overnight but my FAVORITE one is Harvest Hosts. You pay around $70 a year and you have HUNDREDS of “free” parking across North America! There are breweries, wineries, churches, museums, farms, and many other venues you can stay at. We enjoy these so much. We usually stay at State Parks over RV Parks because they are cheaper and usually (in my opinion) more beautiful.

Can you remind me of your instagram handle?

For the band, it’s @arbourseason and for the bus, it’s @arbourseasonexpress

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Our big thanks to Shane for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • merryl
    April 26, 2021, 10:04 am

    Very nice.

  • LargeMarge
    April 26, 2021, 12:27 pm

    Can you imagine… the variety and depth of education from home-schooling at the physical sites other kids only read about or see sanitized versions of on televisionprogramming?

    Can you imagine… instigating a life-long curiosity by walking and smelling the entire environment of historical landmarks, the cultural osmosis of learning alongside other travelers?

    [ applause ]

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 29, 2021, 1:58 pm

      So so true!

  • Brenda Foster
    April 26, 2021, 1:01 pm

    Good choices all the way around. Schoolie is adorable, and set up to work for the family. I see how the kids can run the whole length of the bus, and get that energy out. It is very well done inside, with charm and utility. So great that they can be a fulltime family, travel, learn and teach, and entertain their public as well. This is a classic case of “don’t just talk about it…do it.” Congratulations, job well done. Brenda

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 29, 2021, 1:58 pm

      Exactly! It’s awesome how much time they can spend together.

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