On the Trail to Bus Life

Earlier this fall, after a day of hiking in the Entiat River high country, I huddled in my sleeping bag and listened to the thunder, the rain, and the distant crash of burnt trees hitting the ground. Steve leaned out the tent flap and dug a trench to divert streams of rain water. I hoped we’d chosen the safest site for our tent. We certainly hadn’t chosen the driest.
Views like these are worth a bit of suffering.
Right now I am listening to the hammer of rain drops on the bus roof. I can imagine myself out hiking in this downpour, my feet wet and my rain gear almost soaked through. After a day in the elements, I’d have to set up camp and try to cook outside without getting even more wet. Come night fall, I would have to stay warm via body heat and a (hopefully dry) sleeping bag. Life on the trail makes me appreciate the simple shelter of our bus.
Growing up, my parents took my sisters and I camping, which meant sleeping in a tent, cooking in a screen house, and using outhouses or just the woods. We did not believe that anyone could truly camp in an RV. The summer after 8th grade, my dad took me backpacking for the first time. From then on I was hooked on the wilderness. Through these experiences, I came to associate physical exhaustion, exposure to the elements, and basic living conditions with beauty, familial love,  and spiritual fulfillment. It didn’t take much for my psyche to transfer these pleasant associations to living in an unusually cozy school bus.
You wouldn’t know this dog’s favorite activity is sleeping of down blankets.

In the mountains of Central Washington, I have met many people who are willing to live simply as a result of their wilderness adventures. In spite of certain unsustainable trends within the outdoor industry, I  believe in the power of outdoor experiences to turn consumerist Americans into inspired, creative, tenacious, and tough individuals who are ready to live sustainably, give back to their communities, and encourage wise use of the wilderness they love.

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