A couple have revealed how they left their ‘normal’ life in the rear view mirror to raise their three children on the road in a converted school bus – ditching draining 60 hour work weeks and massive bills in favor of embracing a nomadic lifestyle that sees them educating their kids on the move.
Jessica Rucha, 26 and Adam Cerre, 28, who are originally from Michigan, bought a decommissioned bus for $2,400 in 2018 to escape hellish landlords and lousy rentals for good.
The couple gutted the bus with a $14,000 refurb using YouTube videos, and then hit the road permanently with kids Laken, six, and Holton, five.
They said upping sticks and moving into a school bus not only provided stability – but also saved their marriage, and they have since welcomed a second daughter, Joella, two.
Adam, who struggled with addiction, kicked his bad habits and the family have never been happier.
On the move: Married couple Jessica Rucha, 26, and Adam Cerre, 28, have revealed how moving into a school bus with their three young children helped to save their relationship after struggles with alcoholism and money woes
Home on wheels: The couple, originally from Michigan, bought their school bus for $2,400 in 2018 and spent $14,000 on renovation work to turn it into a liveable space for them and their children
On the road: Jessica and Adam used video tutorials they found on YouTube to teach themselves how to perform the necessary work on their bus, before moving into it with their two older children Laken, six, and Holton, five
Growing brood: Since moving into their bus, the couple have welcomed a third child, Joella, now two, and they say they are happier than ever
Life lessons: The couple home school their kids on the bus and say that they try to focus their education around the different areas that they travel to, so that the children can actually experience some of what they are learning
They only visit the shops two or three times a month, to limit their time in cities, and prefer to camp out in national forests – following the good weather around the country.
The family first set off to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, but have also now explored twelve states.
The kids are all home schooled, and free-spirited Jessica and Adam prefer to base their lessons around the cities and states they visit, and the nature and plants they find.
Once working 60-hour weeks, Adam – along with his wife – makes money through photography, selling T-shirts, marketing and odd jobs.
Happier and healthier, the family get by on just $1,000 a month – only ever forking out for propane, phone bills and petrol.
Jessica said: ‘This was not part of our plan nor was it an easy decision, we honestly did this because we were hanging on by a thread.
‘I’d be lying if I said no one calls us crazy or throws in a, “I could never live like that, have no big closet, be that close to my spouse etc.”
‘We own our home and we have a new backyard weekly, sometimes daily.
Desperate times: ‘This was not part of our plan nor was it an easy decision, we honestly did this because we were hanging on by a thread,’ Jessica said of their decision to quit their 60-hour work weeks and take up a nomadic lifestyle
Then and now! When they moved into the bus, Adam had been battling an alcohol addiction for a year and Jessica began looking for a way in which their family could live a different lifestyle
Bus sweet bus: The couple have built a stunning home on wheels for their family and say that they are all now happier and healthier than they could have imagined
Bargain! Life on the road is also saving them thousands of dollars, with Jessica revealing that they only spend about $1,000 a month, most of which goes on propane, phone bills and petrol
‘This lifestyle has humbled us so much and taught us more than any household job ever could.
‘I don’t think we will ever be normal or have a normal life again.’
Jessica met partner Adam in 2011 and they lived together in Lexington, Michigan with their two children.
But in 2017, mechanic Adam started to have serious problems with drink.
Jessica said: ‘Adam was an alcoholic and I was about done.
‘It started off innocent like anyone else. No one has a say in if they will become addict or not.
‘He is a “chugger” when he drinks anything, smoothies, water, pop, so alcohol was no exception.
‘I started affiliate marketing while stressing about staying at home with the kids and learning about other ways to work remotely.
‘He was lying and snuck his drinking from me but was also our breadwinner and couldn’t quit his job to go to rehab nor did I trust he would actually go to meetings, so the bus was his path to recovery.’
She read online about a family who’d spent a year travelling in an RV, and noticed they spent significantly less than their family – while seeing a whole lot more.
Together: Jessica first posed the idea of life on the road after reading about a family who had spent a year traveling in an RV
Upset: The couple didn’t have enough money to buy their own home, but they were struggling with the financial toll of their monthly rent – and moving into a bus seemed like the perfect alternative
Healthy: When they bought their bus, both Adam and Jessica gave up drinking – and they say that they feel better than ever
Comfort: The bus has every amenity that they could ever need, and it has plenty of room for each of their three children to have their own sleeping area
‘They had seen over half the country plus some,’ Jessica said.
‘We were struggling with our rental, we lived in an old farmhouse and there was brown rust coming from the well water and it was not drinkable or clean.
‘We spent half of time having to camp because we couldn’t wash our clothes or dishes.
‘Adam’s pay changed to commission right when his work went through probably the biggest dry spell in history.
‘We didn’t have enough credit to buy, we had two kids at the time and loved each other but he had a problem and I didn’t see us continuing on the way we were going.
‘I knew that as long as we were living this way we would always be struggling and I wanted to be able to help others, not live for just myself forever.’
Both Adam, now three years sober, and Jessica gave up drinking entirely, quit their jobs and bought their school bus, or ‘skoolie’, in early 2018.
They moved out of their rental and in with a relative for a year near Romeo while adding electrics, a compostable toilet and furnishings, to make it liveable for their growing family.
Jessica said: ‘We started living in it at least four days a week after the first year of remodeling it.
‘Adam has never built anything home improvements-wise before this either – he is a mechanic not a carpenter!
‘We learned everything as we went, mainly through YouTube.
‘We don’t have the most expensive bus nor the prettiest or fanciest, but it was made with love.’
Helping hand: The kids were able to get involved with the renovation work, which was done entirely by the couple, who did not have any previous experience with this kind of build out
Meaningful: ‘We don’t have the most expensive bus nor the prettiest or fanciest, but it was made with love,’ Jessica said
Helping hand: The couple moved out of their rental and stayed with with a relative for a year while adding electrics, a compostable toilet and furnishings, to make it liveable for their growing family
They added solar panels, compostable toilet, two-way fridge, washer and heaters, and in Spring this year drove away from stationary life for good.
In January 2019, Jessica gave birth to Joella and the couple also home school their three kids.
She said: ‘The bus is the only home she knows. She’s our adventure baby!
‘We do book work every day where they read, write and do math as well as physical activities like biking, hiking and yoga.
‘We learn about the cities and states we are in as well as the plants that grow there and foraging.
‘They help with cleaning, bus chores, couponing and cooking. They are young and there is so much to learn all around us.’
They stock up on supplies from supermarkets only two or three times a month to limit their time in towns, and make their own cleaning products, soaps and bug spray.
They find spots in national forests and on public land and tend to follow the weather to decide where the next venture will take them.
She said: ‘How long we stay always depends on the spot itself, what is to do nearby since we travel by bike or where we are going next.
‘We meet awesome people all over who travel full-time or just on a vacay. The bus starts lots of conversations for us!’
Out and about: Adam and Jessica try and limit the amount of time they spend in towns as much as possible so that they can live the majority of their lives out in nature
Soaking it all up: They find spots in national forests and on public land and tend to follow the weather to decide where the next adventure will take them
Poignant: ‘We feel blessed every day in every way to live this life and thank God for carrying us through and for his beautiful creations,’ Jessica said
Inspiration: The couple says that owning a tiny home has also helped them to realize what is really important – and to let go of unnecessary material items
Nearly three years after leaving their final stationary home, the family-of-five have no plans to return to normality.
Jessica said: ‘Owning a tiny home and having little to no utilities means needing less money and being able to give back when we earn more.
‘Less space means less stuff – can’t go crazy on shopping when there’s no room!
‘Adam and I were both raised by blue collar workers and raised to work hard, that’s what we always thought we would do.
‘But it didn’t work for us, we want more out of life and for our children’s lives.
‘You have one life. That 9-to-5 will replace you right after you die but you will bust your bottom for years for their dream and never work on your own.
‘We do want to homestead someday on our own property to grow our own food but will always have the skills we’ve learned on the road.
‘We feel blessed every day in every way to live this life and thank God for carrying us through and for his beautiful creations.’