Her Story Spotlight with Heidi Ruckman: How Her Family Turned an Old School Bus into their New Home on the Road
I forget now how Heidi and I met exactly, but it was through Instagram. Her photos of life on the road in this charming white bus with her sweet family caught my eye. The pictures in her feed looked liked a dream - delicious looking coffee in these really unique mugs, her family standing in front of some of the most gorgeous scenery in this country, and all these cozy pictures of her with her two daughters inside the bus. I thought, “I have to know more about her!”
We got to connect on the phone a few weeks ago and she is so warm and so genuine and her and her husband are turning a dream into a reality, despite being told they’re crazy. I know we might not all have this exact same dream as our Her Story Spotlight, Heidi Ruckman, but I know we all have some “crazy” dream that we’ll maybe get to “one of these days.” I wanted to share Heidi’s story not only because it’s such a fun and unique story, but to inspire you to revisit that big dream or goal and start to figure out a way to make it happen sooner rather than later.
Traveling the country in an RV is something she and her husband could have easily put off until they both retire, but they didn’t. It’s taken a few years and some solid planning, but they’ve created a situation now that gives them the flexibility with work to be able to make this choice and to me that’s what being successful is all about.
Enjoy this one with Heidi and I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!
Meet Heidi - Fun Facts:
1) I've been married to my best friend for 4 years and we have two girls together, Sophia and Augustana.
2) I'm obsessed with drawing and my favorite mediums are pencil and ink.
3) I'm the oldest of 10 kids!
4) Downhill mountain biking is my favorite outdoor activity. The faster the better!
5) I prefer the desert over the mountains! :)
You and your family are doing something so fun and unique and something many people have said they'd love to do, but never do. Tell us about how you've spent the last few months!
In August of last year we drove 4 hours out of town to look at a school bus and drove back that same evening WITH the school bus! We've spent the last months since then renovating, remodeling, and building the school bus into our own tiny home!! We still have quite a ways to go but have come so far!
What are your plans for the future with your RV?
Simple! To live in it and travel full time as a family! :)
What is your "why" behind these plans?
So that we can spend as much time with each other and with our girls while we still have time!!
And what type of feedback/questions have you had to navigate from family and friends?
Oh man. We've been told SO many things since our school bus idea came to light. Among the most popular were, "You guys are crazy" and "Why would you ever choose this lifestyle?" And yes it's pretty crazy! Not everyone can give up the luxuries of having a 2,000 sq. ft house to live in a 200 sq. ft bus, but for us it's a total no-brainer. Quality of life over quantity in life :)
What is the best part about being on the road? What is a challenge or something you've had to get used to?
We just recently got back from our "maiden voyage" and it was absolutely magical. We didn't even have our whole bus converted, (think no kitchen, bathroom, or official bedroom space), but just being together the four of us was pure bliss and reassured and confirmed the reason why we are doing this! So that was the BEST part!
And the most challenging thing for us was being away from the friends and family who we are closest to. It surely will never get easier being apart from them, but it will just make the coming back to them in between travels so much sweeter!
What's been one of your family's favorite spots to visit and why?
With OUT a doubt, Taos, New Mexico!! We visited there a couple years ago and absolutely fell in love with the Native American feel and charm. If I had to choose one place to settle down for life it would totally be Taos!
What steps did you and your husband take to put yourselves in this position now to have the opportunity to live this lifestyle?
From young ages, my husband and I both knew that we didn't want to spend our lives living the typical "American dream" with 9-5 jobs and having large fancy houses and cars, but never seeing each other as the sacrifice! So, we knew we wanted something non-traditional and different we just never expected to live in a school bus as part of it!
We started our own photography business on a whim right after our first daughter was born and 4 years later we've built up the business to where we can create our own schedules and can work from anywhere!! Trust me, it was NOT easy in the beginning, but we stuck with it and are SO happy we did!
For anyone else thinking about living on the road for any length of time, what advice/tips/recommendations do you have for them based on your experiences?
Just let it be! I learned SO much on our maiden voyage and one of the main things was you can nevvvver plan out your traveling to a T. Things will ALWAYS come up haha! But just let it be and don't stress over it. Look for the beauty in the mundane and the ordinary and the messy. I PROMISE you it will make your journey so much more enjoyable!!
From your Instagram profile before we even talked on the phone, it was clear you're a very talented artist. How does being on the road enhance that practice/passion for you?
I've always been SO inspired by traveling. So when we got back from our maiden voyage I had so much inspiration and passion for my love of art I thought I was going to explode!! Haha :)
For fun, any must-see hidden gems you'd recommend to anyone planning a U.S. adventure in 2019?
Taos, NM!! I seriously can not express this enough! Haha!
What is the best way for this group to follow along with your artwork and RV adventures?
I post almost all of this on my Instagram account if anyone is interested in following along with my journeys :) @heidinicoleart
Did something that Heidi said resonate with you? I know we’d both love to hear from you with any comments or questions you have about Heidi’s RV adventures! Leave a note below and we’ll get back to you!