By Scott Thompson
THIS successful couple SOLD EVERYTHING to live the bus life and narrowly escaped BANKRUPTCY on the way but they say they would rather DIE than go back to their old lives.
Content writers, Tawny McVay (34) and her husband Michael (31) from Billings, Montana, USA, had a family gym business, a three story house and a nice car but they weren’t happy.
After watching a bus life renovation video in Spring 2018, they started to do a little bit of their own research on tiny homes on wheels. Just two months later they put their home on the market and sold almost everything they owned including their family business.
They found buyers for their business and home but both fell through after they’d bought their bus. This put them in a very difficult position. Struggling to make ends meet, they had to live with family for six months and Tawny and Michael were a week away from bankruptcy.
Finally, in December 2018 their house and business were squared away and they could look forward to living life on the road. They call their bus Oliver and he is a 2004 RE International school bus which they found at a local company which cost £3,900 ($5,000) and renovations set them back £11,700 ($15,000).
In May 2018, the McVays made their dreams a reality and excitedly moved onboard full time.
“We owned a business, a three-storey home and all the usual means of measuring success. We were classed as successful and should have been wildly happy, but we weren’t,” Tawny said.
“In early spring of 2018 we saw a documentary about a couple who converted a school bus into a tiny home. We did some research and put our house on the market a few weeks later.
“Within two months, we had sold most of our belongings, and had the house and our business under contract. We searched and searched for the perfect bus, finally found it, and with everything tied up, we bought the bus and jumped in.
“Then disaster struck. Our house fell through two days before closing the deal and the person buying our business pulled out. Now we were screwed.
“We had to move in with Mike’s parents and it was a very taxing six months. According to the numbers we were a week away from bankruptcy. But thankfully the house sold and we managed to move onboard.
“We called our bus Oliver and he is a 2004 RE International school bus. We picked him up from a local company for £3,900 ($5,000).
“We did the renovation work ourselves for about £11,700 ($15,000) along with help from my dad and brothers.
“It has a living area with a Murphy bed, a full kitchen with range and fridge, bathroom with a composting toilet, shower and washer/dryer combo, and our bedroom.
“There’s almost 100 gallons of fresh water, two 20# propane tanks and a solar system with 600W of panels and 600 Ah batteries.
“With everything all ready to go we finally moved onto the bus May 2018 and have lived there full-time ever since.”
The two love birds have covered about 5,000 having travelled across the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and plan to head to Southwest USA during the harsh months of winter.
“We have already covered 5,000 and travelled across the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. With winter kicking in we will be heading Southwest to avoid the chill,” Tawny continued.
“We’ve been very fortunate to not have too many problems while on the road. We have our Great Dane (Apollo) to protect us, but thankfully the only thing ever going bump in the night has been the occasional wild animal when we stay in the woods.
“Sometimes it can be tricky finding somewhere to fill up on water or find a place to park the bus when we are visiting bigger cities.
“When we told our family and friends what we were going to do they laughed. Mike and I are pretty impulsive people and also don’t stay inside the societal norm box. They nodded and went along with it… I suppose they are used to our ‘oddball’ choices.
“We have two kids who also travel with us part time when they’re not with their biological dad. We like that we can teach them to follow their dreams even if they aren’t ‘normal’.
“Every lifestyle comes with pros and cons. Having a home on wheels isn’t always an easy choice, it takes determination as you have breakdowns and travel issues to deal with.
“To be honest, as the saying goes, we would rather die on an adventure like this than live standing still. If you understand that, if you feel something when we say that, bus life could be for you.
“People who say ‘I wish I could do that’ guess what? You can! We don’t have special skills, we had no experience before we got started, we learnt as we went on and with help from others with experience.
“All it takes is the determination and the desire to push through no matter what.”
You can follow their journey on Instagram