By Jessie Rowan |firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine walking hunched over throughout your entire home, making dinner on a single burning stove, only having a portable AC unit, bunk beds lining the back wall, minimal showers and your compost toilet that fertilizes your garden out back. Sounds romantic right? Well, for St. Augustine native, Tiffany Scott, this was her ideal world and was her reality for almost four years.
“It was some of the best times of my life,” Scott said.
Scott and her husband were renting a home in St. Augustine until the property went into foreclosure, forcing them to find a new place.
“We had been wanting to save for a home of our own,” Scott said. “I had been home with the kids, and we only lived off of one income. We had a little money saved up and decided to buy a school bus. It seems crazy, but there is something romantic to me about travel living.”
Scott’s father helped convert the bus into their ideal home on wheels.
Due to the high costs in maintenance and diesel, the family stationed their bus on some acreage in Belleview, Florida.
“We lived in the bus rent free on my friend’s land that backed up to a dairy farm,” she said. “You could hardly see anything but open land and cows. It was very rural.”
Scott said living on her friend’s land was a time where everyone grew very close.
“My friend had kids around the same age as mine,” Scott said. “We would all garden together. The children would pick blackberries in the field, jump on the trampoline and read. They were some of the best years of our lives. I think back to it and view it as a magical time. I miss it a lot, even though I am very happy with where our life is now.”
“We had to get creative with our living situation,” she said. “The bus was all metal, so it would get extremely hot in the summers and frigid in the winters. We ended up spending a lot of time at the library with the kids.”
This wasn’t Scott’s first time living on wheels.
“Before my husband and I got married, we sold everything we owned and bought an Astro van that was on its last leg,” Scott said. “He and I took it on the road for almost three months trying to get to the National Rainbow Gathering in California.”
Turns out Scott and her husband didn’t make it to the hippie gathering, they were stopped in Arizona with police harassment and charged for sleeping in a public area.
“Turns out the charges were dropped,” Scott said. “This just goes to show how judgmental people are of others based on their appearance.”
During the three months on the road, Scott and her husband made their money through day labor jobs such as housekeeping, pulling weeds and other home improvement work.
Scott home-schooled her two daughters while living on their bus in rural Florida.
“My husband and I decided to home-school our two daughters when our eldest daughter, Nova, was very
young and had a great desire to learn about everything. So we started an at home preschool. We just wanted to start her education earlier, because she seemed ready for it even though age wise she probably was not,” she said.
Scott said for their younger daughter, home schooling was for a different reason. She had a difficult time staying still but would be able to learn as she moved around the bus.
“If she was in a public school system, she wouldn’t be able to learn like that, she would be confined to a chair,” Scott said.
This past year, Scott said her youngest daughter has enrolled in public school and is thriving.
“She is just a much more social-based person, compared to her sister who is more independent,” Scott said. “As much as we thought we were home-schoolers, you can never just keep yourself closed off to anything.”
Living rent free on their bus, Scott and her family were able to keep saving to buy their current home in St. Augustine while their daughters finish school. But they hope to travel and live again on a bus in the future.
“We have always been hippie types I guess,” she said.