Nicole and Bo Johnson (@roamwithbus) are living life on their terms. Three years ago, they decided the status quo wasn’t working for them. Because of their work schedules, they didn’t see each other that much and were worried they would miss significant milestones in their children’s lives. So, they took control of their lives, and made a (seemingly) crazy plan: buy a used school bus, turn it into a state-of-the-art RV, and travel cross country as a family. Three years later, they’re living that “bus life” as digital nomads, and their family has never been stronger and more present! In this episode, they’ll share what the decision-making process was like, how they rebuilt the bus (with help from Google and YouTube videos) and take us along for the ride on some of their digital nomad adventures.

When they knew it was time to be bold:

“I was on maternity leave with my daughter, and I realized I had used up all my vacation time for maternity leave and we weren’t going to have any vacation time together for almost a whole year. And we realized that isn’t the way we wanted to live life. We don’t want to be on opposite schedules. So, we were just looking through Instagram one day and trying to figure out what that change looked like for us and I saw a school bus and I remember just looking at (Bo) and saying, ‘We could do that … we should just buy a school bus.’ And the next week we bought a school bus.”

What their friends and family thought of the idea:

“Everybody thought we were a little bit crazy. My parents were the funniest, because I think they sort of expected this of us because we’re very spontaneous. I don’t think this surprised them, but I don’t think they quite saw the vision. And even if you asked my mom, she’ll say they didn’t see the vision until we finally started putting walls up, until we finally had a layout, but no, people thought we were crazy.”

A must-have in their refurbished school bus:

“There was one thing we knew we wanted. Bo is 6’2” and we knew we wanted him to be able to shower without having to scrunch down. So, we built our whole layout around the emergency hatch. We built a skylight and that’s where we put our shower. And from there we built on either side of it.”

Their first trip got off to a rocky start:

“We went from Maine to Nevada, but it took us a while to get there. We left, and I’ll never forget it, two hours in we were driving in the car behind the bus, and we just looked up and we saw the bus pulling off onto the exit. … And I got a call from Bo and he had lost the brakes and power steering. And we had to get a roadside mechanic out there to help us. And then we blew a hose another two hours into our journey, and then we blew another hose in Oklahoma, and then we finally made it to Nevada.”

They set their own pace:

“For us it’s really nice, we like to slow travel. So, we’ll be in an area for 8-13 weeks, and then we’ll take our bus and explore the area. Like, when we’re in Nevada we’re only two hours to Zion, five hours to Bryce Canyon … Death Valley, San Diego … all those places. So, we’ll venture out.”

There’s never a perfect time to be bold:

“You just gotta do it. There’s going to be a lot of setbacks and a lot of sacrifices. But, just like, for us we kept looking into the future knowing what was going to come out at the end. We knew we were going to be living a life that we really wanted and were yearning for. And, for us, it was just taking that leap of faith and just going for it. … I feel like we’re both of the mindset that if you try and you don’t succeed, at least you tried. At least we went for it. If we never tried, and we never went for it, we’d always be wondering what if. And we just didn’t want that.”

What they’re most grateful for:

“Probably just having us all together. Being able to watch our kids grow up and not get a letter in the mail from their teachers saying, ‘Oh your kids are doing well in class,’ and us never seeing them. But being able to witness everything they’re seeing, and being in their shoes, and then us being able to actually have time together.”