Bonjour friends. Wednesday magic is here again! Welcome new and long time followers! Every Wednesday we profile other travelers (whether they’re single, a couple, or a traveling family) and their home. We share homes that have wheels, tents, walls, smaller wheels, legs and so much more.
Every now and then I am going to do a repost on some of our Inside A Traveler’s Walls folks. And since we are making a big decision regarding our next #WorldTown I thought Patrick, Ali, Quest and Lowe would be a great fit today. Plus they have been our most liked IATW thus far AND I just adore this family. They are the real deal! One day I hope our travel paths will cross in real life.
Today I am happy to introduce you to the Schulte traveling family. More affectionately referred to as Bumfuzzle in travel circles. Patrick gets the award for being our first male, the first motorhome cruising outside the US and the coolest vintage digs. If you are in love with this family just from viewing the images then wait until you read what Patrick has to say about their life on the road less traveled.
Belongings mean next to nothing to us. Memories, adventure, time—those are what matter. ~ Patrick
I had to laugh when I read that they take a lot of photos and the “bus” (as they refer to it) makes a pleasing background. Oh boy can I relate to this, occupational hazard I guess. I have to agree with Ali about the dishwasher. I miss having one as well, but (like Ali) I would not trade this life for a dishwasher ever.
A home to us is a place where we can all lay our heads down together at night. Nothing about that requires a cement foundation. ~ Patrick
I don’t want to give too much away, but I have to say that their bedtime routine will make your eyes water, the beauty. For the first time our family sleeps in one big room and we love it as well. I can relate to the magic of watching your children drift off to dream land, happy and secure. What is his current favorite part of this lifestyle? Well, you will just have to read on won’t you.
Quit worrying so much about being comfortable. Our North American lives seem to revolve around being as comfortable as possible at all times. Being uncomfortable can be extremely gratifying. ~ Patrick
This post will make you long for days on the beach with your spouse, children and the sand. Way to go parents, hats off to you for keeping it real.
So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.
Introduce us to the people you travel with?We are the Schulte family, better known as “The Bums.” I’m Pat, the instigator, navigator, driver, and mechanic. My wife, Ali, has always been up for any adventure, by sea or by land. And then there are our two kids who have joined us along the way. Ouest, our daughter, is five now, and Lowe, our boy, is three. They were both born in Mexico, which is where we’ve spent the vast majority of the past five years. As for introducing the kids, I would say they are adventurous, free-spirited, and completely and utterly unselfconscious.
Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
As I write this we are in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for a few days. We live in a 27-foot 1966 Dodge Travco motorhome. In the past decade or so we’ve lived in a couple of different boats, and a ’58 VW bus. This is our latest home. We moved into this one a bit over a year ago now.
Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
When Ouest was six-months old we bought a boat. We lived in that and sailed around Mexico’s Sea of Cortez for about four years. One day I just got tired of working on the boat and told Ali I was ready for a change. She said, “Okay.” And a couple of days later we purchased our Travco off of Craigslist sight-unseen. We love living on the water, but from experience it seems that four years at a time is about all we can do before we get an itch to travel overland.
What do you do to personalize your temporary residence upon arrival?
Well, for us, our residences aren’t temporary (at least in the sense meant by the question). They are our homes. We don’t keep a house somewhere—when we first left to travel we sold our condo in Chicago and everything in it.
But we do personalize our homes. When we bought our bus (we have always called it a bus, even though it doesn’t resemble a bus at all) everything in it was still original. It was very cool, very retro, and we could have driven off in it that day. But we need our spaces to be our own. So we spent three months gutting it. We tore out the ceiling, the walls, and the floors. Everything was put back just the way it was, but new. We also reupholstered everything. When we were finished it felt like a brand new home. Smelled like one too. That’s the interior, the exterior we left untouched. It’s vintage, and at least in our eyes, so beautiful. We like our homes to be unique—if for no other reason than we like to take a lot of pictures, and we like to have them be a pleasing background.
Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Favorite is the kids’ room. The RV is only 27′ so it has just one bedroom. We built-out the bedroom just for them, with custom mattresses, and lots of storage for toys. I love watching them when they are having a quiet moment in that room, surrounded by windows, in their own small, safe, comfortable space. At night we cuddle up in there and read books before shutting off the light, and then watch them go to sleep just inches apart from one another. I don’t know, we both just love that they share a small space together and have each other close by all the time. We feel like we designed their room just perfect.
Least favorite. There isn’t one. Maybe the pantry closet? That could be bigger I suppose. But if that were bigger we’d be giving up space somewhere else and then that space would probably be our least favorite, so overall I think if you need to have a least favorite room, the pantry is a good one to give up.
What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
That’s not a fair question really, considering we’ve been living in similar sized spaces now for twelve years. We pretty much have the whole tiny home living thing down pat. I don’t think there is much about boating or RVing that could throw us at this point. If I stretch the question a bit, I would say that we definitely thought we’d be able to travel more miles in a day than we actually do. When we first took off we thought nothing of doing 150-200 miles a day. With kids, though, over time we’ve found that everyone is happiest if we keep it under fifty miles. Sound like nothing, right? A lot of people drive more than that for a work commute. Sorry, as far as misconceptions go, that’s all I’ve got.
What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move?
I asked Ali this question and the only thing she could come up with was a set of measuring spoons that she got as a gift a whopping four years ago. We really don’t get attached to things. When we left our boat in Mazatlan—after four years of living on it through most of our kids’ lives—we packed up six plastic bins and checked them in as luggage for our flight back to the States to buy our bus. That’s it, for a family of four. We sold a few things, gave away a bunch to an animal shelter, packed some clothes and favorite toys, and left.
That’s really one of the best things about our lifestyle. There is nothing pinning us down. When we felt like we were done sailing, it was easy to switch to RVing. We didn’t have to think, “Well, how are we going to get all of our stuff from Mexico back to the States?” We just pack our bags and go—a hundred bucks in baggage fees and we’re in another country ready to start over again.
If I had to estimate the value of all of our belongings—and I mean everything except the bus itself—I’d guess that we could replace it all with five thousand dollars. Four of which would be our camera and computers. Belongings mean next to nothing to us. Memories, adventure, time—those are what matter.
What do you miss most about having a permanent stationary location?
Me? Literally nothing. Just the thought of it makes me cringe. I honestly can not think of one single thing that I prefer about living in a stationary location. When we first started traveling—sailing around the world—it was like a lightning bolt struck me. Like, holy crap, there is a whole world out here, and this place is better than this place, and this place is better than this place, and this place is better… There are so many great things to be discovered in every place we go that I still can’t come to terms with the idea of picking one and saying, “Well, this is it!”
Ali? A dishwasher. But after that she’d repeat what I just said. 🙂
What is the one item your children carry with them to make their temporary bedrooms more comfortable?
They are young, and toys come and go, but Ouest wouldn’t be caught dead without her Molly doll, and Lowe has to have a small collection of VW buses and bugs with him at all times. Aside from those things I’d say our kids are a lot like us in that they don’t get very attached to their belongings. When they get something new they don’t have a problem with making room for it by letting something else go. One of our favorite things to do is give old toys to less fortunate kids we meet along the way. This isn’t always easy, but it teaches them so much about the differences between needs and wants, and the haves and the have-nots.
What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
Every time somebody comes to visit us they end up hauling down at least a couple of Amazon packages for us. As for getting stuff we want right away, well, that just doesn’t happen in Mexico. Which is good, because it usually leads to us just doing without and eventually forgetting all about what that thing we wanted was in the first place.
If you could only have one of the following in your temporary home which one would it be and why?
Natural light, for sure.
Space we just don’t care about. We’ve got like 150 square feet for our family of four, and nobody has ever complained about wanting more. We’ve got the outdoors for our space. Especially as we are able to follow the seasons.
Dishwasher. Sure, who wouldn’t prefer a dishwasher to hand washing. But there’s no way that beats out natural light.
Internet? We often go for days or a week without any internet at all. Those are actually welcome breaks. We do not at all feel like having fast internet is a priority in our lives.
If you could compare your temporary home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
Yikes. I don’t know. How about a bottle opener. It does one job, and does it well. Our style revolves around having no superfluousness. There is no excess. If there isn’t space in a cabinet for something, we don’t own it. If we don’t use something for a couple of months, we get rid of it. If it is just some sort of frilly adornment, we never buy it in the first place. Everything has a utility.
Note: Our kids and their room get cut quite a bit of slack on the superfluous front.
How do you keep traditions alive for your family if you move often?
For us, traditions have nothing to do with a physical place. We have a tradition—most notably our birthdays—in which we blow up hundreds of balloons and fill whatever space we happen to be living in at the time. Our kids run through them, throw them, and bury themselves in them for hours. That tradition doesn’t care where we live. We’ve done that on our boat, in a rented condo, and in our bus.
How do you decorate for the holidays or do you skip it all together?
We’re very much of the mind that holidays are for Wal-Mart, not for us. With that said, we did do a “traditional” Christmas this year. On Christmas Eve Santa came to our bus on the beach in Baja and made a Christmas tree out of driftwood, hung up some candy, and left a couple of presents underneath. So, really, Santa decorated, not us.
What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
My current favorite is that my kids are getting to see the world through a vastly different set of eyes than I did as a kid. It took me nearly thirty years to discover that there is more to this world than the American Dream. My kids won’t have that problem. By the time they get a little older they’ll have seen that dream, but they’ll also have seen so much more—the other side of the coin, so to speak.
Many temporary home families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
A home to us is a place where we can all lay our heads down together at night. Nothing about that requires a cement foundation. I think that if we decided to hike the Appalachian Trail someday we would all consider our tent to be our home.
What makes you love the place you live?
We love how cool our bus looks. It makes us smile, and it makes so many others smile too. It’s incredibly satisfying to know that we can live comfortably in a 27′ RV that was built fifty years ago, to know that we don’t need the latest and the greatest, and that we certainly don’t need the biggest. I feel like there is a lesson in there somewhere.
We love that we have everything we could possibly need.
We love that our kids sleep happily and contentedly ten feet away from us at night.
But maybe most of all, we love that tomorrow we’re going to move our home from one Unesco World Heritage Site (San Miguel de Allende) to go stay in another (Guanajuato).
Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of temporary living?
Don’t be so sure that you’re going to do this thing and then go right back to living the way you were. Leave yourself open to changes—seek them out.
And if you want to go a little more extreme—Don’t leave yourself an out. Sell your house and belongings before you go. Not having an easy escape plan forces you to come up with new plans. It forces you to be open to opportunities that arise. It forces you to create opportunities.
What makes you happy about the space you live in?
That I can drive it. I like that for the majority of my adult life, my homes have had a motor. Wandering is in my blood.
Anything else you would like to offer?
Quit worrying so much about being comfortable. Our North American lives seem to revolve around being as comfortable as possible at all times. Being uncomfortable can be extremely gratifying. Whenever I start wishing for something as mundane as a dishwasher, or I find myself complaining about an uncomfortable bed, I try to remind myself that both of my parents spent a good part of their childhood without an indoor toilet. This was not that long ago! We’ve all gotten too soft.
Quote to ponder:
Don’t be so sure that you’re going to do this thing and then go right back to living the way you were. Leave yourself open to changes—seek them out. ~ Patrick
Where are they now?
They are on a new adventure and it is just as exciting. For more information you can find them at Bumfuzzle.com.
Ok, I have a big question…Is the bus always that clean? I’m impressed.
Thank you Patrick, Ali, Ouest and Lowe for inspiring us all to dream big and then make it happen. It has been a pleasure reading about the amazing childhood you are providing for your littles.
Interested in living like the Bumfuzzle family? WorldTowning’s services can help make this traveling families story ‘your reality’ and we can do it all stress free. We will be there will you every step of the way.
Inside A Traveler’s Walls is where we feature families living in less traditional and unique homes (tents, boats, camper vans, yurts, flats, etc). If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled, please contact us for details.