I'm not crazy in the definition of being mentally unstable or irrational. I’m crazy because I’m about to take the biggest leap of faith … and move into my school bus.
My name is Jessica Perez and as of February 3rd, I’ll have left my corporate career I’ve diligently worked hard at to pursue my own passions and path.
You see, I believed that following the route that society deemed as respectable, honest, and rewarding, would ultimately provide long term security and happiness in life. I graduated college and earned two Bachelor’s Degrees which helped me land a career in the consulting industry where my portfolio of clients were Silicon Valley’s poster children. My life was focused around work and I lived by the motto, “arrive before the client, and stay late past the client.”
Here again, I kindly refer to myself as crazy because I actually enjoyed this fast paced, deadline-driven environment that challenged me and kept me on my toes. As you can guess, I quickly burnt out and learned my first lesson: happiness in life is not all about work and money.
I relocated to Lake Tahoe for love and wanted to try out a more simple life with my boyfriend Nick Cahill. Ironically, I found my way back into consulting, working for a local firm that had an impressive client list. This was a difficult transition for me as I had hoped for a new career path that didn’t keep me behind a desk. I’m also a city girl at heart, now living in a mountain town: shopping, manicures, and brunching were traded in for hikes, gym classes, and home cooking.
My appreciation and love for being in nature steadily grew. I even challenged myself with a goal I thought I’d never accomplish, and that was to climb Mt. Shasta, my first fourteen-er. After having completed my “impossible” goal, I returned home with a fresh perspective: I can achieve all that I put my heart into.
For Nick and myself these past two years, we’ve put our souls into our goal of building our tiny home on wheels. While our friends are falling in line with what society has road mapped: graduate from school, find true love, make a career, get hitched, buy a house, have children… we consciously chose to take a different path.
We purchased a 1988 Thomas Mighty Mite school bus and have converted it into our 100 sq. ft. traveling home. With all the work done by ourselves or with the help of friends and partners, we take great pride in our bus.
We've put in countless hours, incurred unexpected expenses (like swapping in a modern fuel-injected engine), and have been patiently waiting to get on the road. Our materials for the most part have been re-purposed or up-cycled.
Our kitchen counter is reclaimed wood from a San Francisco pier. The sustainable hardwood flooring is bamboo, and goes nicely with the recycled bamboo tiki curtains. The couch was donated to us from Home Reserve, an eco-conscious company that creates adaptable furniture--perfect for small spaces. Our entire bus is re-purposed from once having been an active public passenger vehicle, to now our tiny home. Thomas is our baby, and our commitment to each other. Thomas to us symbolizes freedom, passion, dedication, and optimism.
Originally this bus was simply going to be our Burner rig for Burning Man, but our project quickly evolved into something larger than we could’ve ever imagined. Nick is an up and coming photographer who has landed the cover of National Geographic, toured with the widely recognized electronic music artist Seven Lions, and is the Media Director of the largest military content network, Hurricane Group (formerly SOFREP).
Part of our original vision was for Nick to be able to take extended trips with the bus into desolate locations to expand his landscape photography portfolio. However as our bus conversion progressed, we soon found ourselves eager to embark on our next great adventure together: moving into the bus.
While Nick is the all-star photographer with a career that allows him to work remotely from anywhere (as long as there’s internet connection), I will be his right hand lady / manager. “But how are you going to earn money,” is a question I’m frequently asked, and to be honest, I’m not 100% sure yet. I’d love to get Nick’s artwork into galleries, do freelance work on the side, and return to my passion for video editing, but these jobs aren’t promised in my future.
As of now, I’m selling my possessions and “things” I’ve managed to collect over the years for some quick cash. Leaving the security of a steady pay check in exchange for a gypsy-nomadic life on the road traveling from one location to the next, scares me - yet has me feeling exhilarated and alive. For once I feel like I’m in charge of my life’s direction, creating my own destiny, and finding my happiness.
Call me crazy... for I’m about to move into a school bus with Nick, where we’ll live in 1/15 of the space we currently reside in, with no promised income - but the freedom of the open road ahead of us.