So it’s been quite a few months since my last update and it’s about time I filled you all in on what’s been happening…

I took a break from working on the bus back in October last year, so I could learn how to weld before proceeding with the rest of the repairs. The last quarter of the year is also usually the busiest time for my business, so I was soon working full time filling orders and there wasn’t much time left for welding practice.

Around the same time, I had a health scare, when I found a lump under my arm and there were concerns that the melanomas I had previously removed from there had spread to my lymph nodes. I spent a stressful couple of months back and forth to doctors having various scans and a biopsy. It wasn’t cancer in the end thank goodness, but the scans did reveal some other unexpected things which required another whole bunch of tests. Most of that has now been sorted out thankfully, but it has been a stressful time and yet another reminder of how unpredictable life is and how important it is to enjoy the time we have as much as we possibly can.

It capped off what had been a tough year generally for me, with Covid wreaking havoc on my business (which prior to 2020 had relied heavily on the income from my regular market stall) as well as a loss of some of my income from my casual side job. A reminder of the relative financial insecurity associated with the work I do.

I had been having doubts about the bus for a while, even before these recent events, especially about whether I would actually be able to afford to maintain it in the long term. Big busses can cost big dollars when they need repair or if they break down and need towing. I kept telling myself that I would be able to grow my business sufficiently by the time I was ready to hit the road, and that with the emergency fund I had saved, and picking up extra work along the way, that I would be OK. And maybe I would be, but after this past year, I am less confident about that. I think money would always be very very tight and I would always be worried that I wouldn’t have enough. Having the big bus alone would be a challenge, but it has become clear these past few months that I need to be able to get into town fairly regularly for appointments and stuff. This would be difficult unless I had a smaller vehicle but I simply cannot afford the costs of owning a big bus AND a car. In addition to that, I am having ongoing issues with arthritis and tendonitis in my arms and need to be mindful about what I will be physically capable of, especially as I get older.

I have decided, after a lot of soul searching and sleepless nights, to sell my bus. I do not intend to give up on bus life altogether – no way! But I just need to take a bit of a detour and change the way I make that life happen. I will be downsizing to something smaller that will be easier for me to manage both physically and financially.

It feels sad to get rid of the bus after putting so much blood, sweat and tears (and money) into it. But I also know from past experience what it is like to stay on a path that isn’t right for you, just because you’ve invested so much in that journey, and I don’t want to do that again. I could finish converting the bus and then sell it, but there is no guarantee I could get a good price for it, and it would take me a long time to do so. Now more than ever, I want to get out on the road as soon as possible, so would rather cut my losses and use the money I have left, (and while I do still have my health), to build something I know will be better suited to my needs. Since making the decision to sell my bus and start again with something smaller, I feel so much more relaxed and confident, and I know this is the right decision for me.

And the past two years were not wasted – I learnt so many new skills working on the big bus, which will mean that when I come to do it all again with another one, I will have more of an idea what I’m doing and things might progress a bit more smoothly. (hopefully LOL!)