bus life vs van life

Is Skoolie Life Hard?

Is skoolie life hard?  Well, we will say is that it is not all butterflies and unicorns sometimes.  In fact, sometimes it is pretty doggone hard and we think about quitting.

We didn’t start skoolie life because we thought it would be easy.  We chose to buy an old school bus and convert it ourselves into a motorhome so we could live and experience life on our terms.

It is just like all other aspects of life.  You have your good days, and you have your not-so-good days.  Valleys and mountains are just a way of life whether you live in a skoolie or sticks and bricks.  

There are some aspects of skoolie life that are hard but do not have to be as hard as we make them.  For the most part, we are directly responsible for the valleys.

Why is Skoolie Life Hard?

Skoolie life is not inherently hard.  We do a pretty good job and making it much harder than it should be.  

Why is Skoolie Life Hard?

Why do we make skoolie life harder than it needs to be?  We just don’t know any better.

There are some pretty specific reasons why skoolie life is hard for so many people.  We are going to talk about a few of them here.

Lack of Finances

People who think buying, building, living, and traveling in a skoolie is easy breezy inexpensive, have never done it.  

Sure, there are ways to cut corners, get donations and live frugally, but skoolie life is as expensive sometimes as it is adventurous, fun, and unpredictable.  

We recommend everyone have a “skoolie repair fund” of a minimum of $5,000.  Having to have a radiator replaced, water pump or a tire can cost you north of $1,000 or more.  

With the current prices of diesel, Winter 2022, you are going to be spending $300 to $400 for a full tank of fuel that will only get you on average around 400 to 600 miles down the road.  

Do the math on a long road trip or say, 1000 miles over the course of a month, and you have a mortgage payment in fuel costs alone.  We wrote a piece on What Is The Average Fuel Economy Of A Skoolie.

Wrong Mind Set

Living and traveling in a skoolie is not an immediate and instant transition.  It is something that is either inherent to your personality and psyche or it is something that develops over a period of time.  

We have found, through talking and getting to know our fellow nomads, that most of us who live and travel in a skoolie have evolved mentally to desire and seek out a different lifestyle than what society dictates we should.

We lived the societal “norm” of a mortgage, raising children in the public school system, and working a 9 to 5 job with no other reward or satisfaction of a paycheck.

Having the right mindset is the key to a successful and happy life as a skoolie nomad.

Being prepared for unexpected changes, breakdowns, alternate plans and seclusion are a reality as a nomad.  You can’t just tolerate it!  You have to prepare yourself to embrace it.  

Educate yourself by talking and getting to know other skoolie nomads who are living this lifestyle and will be honest with you instead of just painting false expectations like Instagram.

False Expectations

Skoolie life is hard sometimes.  There, we said it.  We try to be as transparent and “real” as we can be without sounding like a “wet blanket”.  

Skoolie life is hard sometimes. 

We have told it like it is, and sometimes, people do not want to hear it.  They don’t want to know that skoolie life as a nomad is hard.  They want to imagine it to be like the utopia that Instagram pictures portray it to be. 

We have had viewers on our Instagram and YouTube channels ask us why we were being so negative.  

It is not about being negative, it is all about being honest, real, and creating a realistic picture of what skoolie life is actually like.

As hard as skoolie life is sometimes, we still would not trade it for anything or any other lifestyle.  Not at this time at least.  

Social Media Makes Skoolie Life Look Like A Vacation

You have seen the pics, stories, reels, and videos the young hot couples post on their channels.  

cial Media Makes Skoolie Life Look Like A Vacation

A background of a mountain lake or the ocean and a young couple, barely dressed in a seductive and very uncomfortable-looking pose.  

The views of nature, the food, the immaculately clean and organized skoolie or van with the presumption of “just another day in the bus”.  It’s about as real as the movie, The Truman Show.  

All of that to say, it’s not what you see on social media channels.  It’s more like an episode of The Conners or Shameless.

Is Skoolie Life Worth It?

We can not imagine doing anything different right now.  Our long-term plan is to have three or four pieces of property around the country and travel part-time between the properties depending on the seasons and weather.

For now, though, skoolie life is the life for us!

The mental freedom skoolie life has provided for us would be worth it alone.  Knowing our view out the side of the skoolie, porch or windshield is ever-changing is so refreshing.

The friends we have made.  Oh, let me tell you about the people and friends we have met and grown to love so far.  The skoolie community is such a diverse group of people.  

is Skoolie Life Worth It?

Although we are as diverse as Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century, we all have a commonality that binds and draws us together when we converge.

What Is The Easiest Part About Skoolie Life?

There are so many things that make skoolie life easy.  I am not sure if there is a single element of skoolie life that stands out from the rest that makes it easy or attractive.  

We do love the variety of landscapes.  Seeing things we have only ever seen on television, in movies, or on the internet is like nothing we have ever experienced.

Hearing, feeling, and smelling the millions of gallons of water falling over the Niagra Falls in person can not come close to being duplicated on film or pictures.

Looking at the Rocky Mountains as you are heading west approaching them and then being in the midst of them makes you feel small and yet gigantic at the same time.  

There is an aspect of skoolie life that is easy as apple pie after all.  It is meeting, getting to know, and falling in love with the people.  

Community

The Skoolie Community is unlike any group or micro-society we have ever been exposed much less a part of.  

Skoolie folk, just like every other general grouping of people has its bad apples.  But for every bad apple in the skoolie community, there are a hundred perfectly wonderful people to replace them with.

We love the people and the gifts of friendship it has blessed us with so much, we came up with the idea of sharing these wonderful people with others who are considering the skoolie life.

Meeting people and reconnecting with friends at skoolie events like the Skoolie U.P. or Skoolie Swarm are great experiences.  

skoolie swarm

We call it, Skoolie People.  It is a part of our website where we feature and introduce the different people of the skoolie world to others.

If you would like to be featured on our website in Skoolie People of the Community, then click this link, upload a picture of you or you and your family and your rig. 

Answer the few questions, and we will link back to your website or social channels for others to connect with you as well.

What Is The Hardest Part About Skoolie Life?

The hardest part of skoolie life is going to depend on how well or unwell you handle changes, stresses, and things out of your control. 

The one constant thing about skoolie life is that is it constantly changing.  You have to develop or hone your skills of situational awareness, and common sense. 

Some people have a significant lack of both of those qualities, which, make skoolie life much more difficult for those of us around them.

We are going to briefly discuss what we have heard from others as well as our own experiences as to what is the hardest part about skoolie life.

Planning

Knowing where you are going, what time you are going to get there, and where you are going to park is a great reliever of anxiety.  

There is a lot to say about being spontaneous and going with the flow.  Sometimes, it is nice to know where you are going to be sleeping at night, especially when you are traveling in an unfamiliar area.  

Stress

How you handle and reduce your stress is a huge factor for managing how difficult skoolie life can be at times.  

Just a different sound in the rhythm of your bus’ engine or the vibration of the tires can send some of us down a rabbit hole of stressors that will raise your blood pressure to uncomfortable levels.

Whether you use medication, THC, meditation, or any other stress reliever, use it accordingly to increase serotonin or dopamine and reduce the cortisol your brain is producing.  

Parking

Where are you going to park tonight?  Is it allowed?  Are there city ordinances that prohibit sleeping in a vehicle?  Is it safe?  What if someone tries to break into your rig while you are in it?  

These are all thoughts that have run through our heads at one point or another if you have been living and traveling in your skoolie.

We make skoolie life way harder than it needs to be.  

Get on some of the skoolie groups and ask questions about a city or location where you think you may be stopping for the night or a few days.  

Ask about safe, legal, and interesting places to sit still for a spell without the stress and anxiety of wondering it is safe or legal to park and camp there.

There are so many apps and memberships that will allow you safe and legal parking overnight for a day or three.  

Take advantage of those apps.  If you are not familiar with them, read this post we wrote on Your Guide To Free Skoolie Parking.

Is It Expensive To Live In A Skoolie

It really isn’t all that expensive to live in a skoolie when you compare it to traditional housing and living arrangements. 

Skoolie life can be as extravagant or as frugal as you chose to make it.  

It’s true that you do not have a mortgage or rent payment, no utilities or cable bills to wrestle with on a monthly basis.

You do however have fuel costs, maintenance costs, cell phone, and wi-fi data expenses, and food just like everyone else.

These can add up to quite a hefty budget.  How you manage your skoolie budget will determine how far and how much you travel.

Fuel

Fuel costs do not seem to be dropping, and with the conflicts in Eastern Europe, it doesn’t look good for fuel costs.  

Right now, fuel costs are hovering around $4.00 per gallon for diesel in the South Eastern United States.  Add a couple of dollars to that if you are out on the west coast. 

Just consider your fuel costs, if you are full-time traveling, your mortgage or rent payment every month.

The longer you sit still in one area, the less your fuel budget is going to be.  

Maintenance

Just as moving around and traveling at a regular or constant pace, your maintenance costs are going to be more than if you sit still for a few weeks at a time.  

A dollar or two spent today on preventative maintenance will save you four to five dollars tomorrow on repairs.  

Things like tires, hoses, belts, lubrication for your engine, transmissions, cooling, and suspension have to be regularly and properly maintained.  

Otherwise, you are going to find yourself sitting on the side of the road somewhere hoping or thankful you have roadside assistance.  

Be smart and do your preventative maintenance regularly for your skoolie.  

Wrap Up: Is Skoolie Life Hard?

Is skoolie life hard?  Nah! It’s only hard if you make it hard.  

Skoolie life is a great way to travel

Is it difficult, stressful, or annoying at times?  Of course, it is.  Show me a lifestyle anywhere that doesn’t have its occasional ups and downs.

Skoolie life is a great way to travel, find yourself, and experience a unique but very natural lifestyle. 

Just understand what you are getting yourself into, prepare yourself, and do not allow false expectations to tarnish the reality of skoolie life as a nomad.  
We would love to hear about your experience as a skoolie nomad!  Leave us a comment, or connect with us through our website or social channels.

We so look forward to meeting you!

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