Life On The Road: Wild Drive Life

Sarah NelsonDecember 20, 2018

Life On The Road: Wild Drive Life

Meag and Ben were on a mission: to pay off $100,000 in student loan and vehicle debt as fast as possible so they could focus on their next phase of life. After three years, this next phase took shape in the form of a 1989 Chevy Bluebird bus. Now, Meag and Ben travel the country in their bright blue steed, scoping out different cities so they can decide where they want to reside in the future. See where they’re currently exploring @wilddrivelife.

Year, make, and model of your bus?

Ben: “It’s a 1989 Chevy Bluebird. It was used as a prison bus in Fairfax County, Virginia and they converted it before we bought it. They were using it as a mobile command center for the sheriff’s department. When we bought it, it was black and you could see the primer underneath. There were cage doors inside and bars on the windows. We kept two of [the cages] to divide the living quarters, and we get to lock it up if we want.”


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A post shared by Meag + Ben | Wild Drive Life (@wilddrivelife) on Nov 16, 2018 at 8:44am PST

Why did you decide to buy the bus?

Meag: “We were kind of near the tail-end of our debt payoff mission. We had about $100K collectively in student loans and vehicle debt and wanted to attack that first and foremost to open up possibilities for other employment opportunities. Toward the tail end of the three years it took us to pay off, we wanted to decide how to live the next phase of our life. We looked into alternative living: tiny homes, retro trailers, earthships, you name it. We just happened upon the bus on Craigslist and it called out to us.”


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A post shared by Meag + Ben | Wild Drive Life (@wilddrivelife) on Dec 12, 2018 at 8:25am PST

Why did you choose a bus over an RV or smaller vehicle?

B: “We looked into every option there is. There are pros and cons to living in a bus as opposed to a van. You get more mobility [with a van]: you’re able to go into cities without having as much anxiety. We never feel cramped in the bus, though. We’d have a hard time living in a van full-time.”

M: “We do a lot of walking and biking. We stay with people sometimes. We get creative with our mobility because it does limit us a little. But it’s not full-sizeours is only 31 feet. It’s a good happy medium.”

How did you renovate it?

B: “We gutted the entire thing all the way to the exterior shell. We took out all the interior panels and components, insulation, and floor and we reinsulated everything. We cut out the center cage, moved cages to the front and back, and actually started the build process from there. One big thing is we tried to use as many recycled materials as possible. A lot of the wood is antique and repurposed wood.”

M: “We’re completely off-grid. We have hot water on demand that runs off of propane, and we have a battery bank. The pump and refrigerator run off of solar and we also have a composting toilet.”


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A post shared by Meag + Ben | Wild Drive Life (@wilddrivelife) on Oct 26, 2018 at 5:26am PDT

What inspired you to hit the road?

M: “We wanted flexibility to explore other ways of living and supporting ourselves. We’ve always been drawn to entrepreneurship. We were kind of in a very standard, comfortable, predictable way of life. And there’s nothing wrong with thatit just depends what you find contentment withbut we did not feel that way. Our scale was tipped a little too much on security but not enough of flexibility and freedom. Being on the road has allowed us to explore where we want to settle next and what we want out of our next chapter.”

B: “We had a lot of debt and needed to work in our jobs. They were great careers and we could have stayed in them, but we wanted to see what we were capable of and wanted to discover things around the country. It’s wonderful to see new places, but going to new cities and seeing if we like the vibe has been a real bonus and pleasure for us.”


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A post shared by Meag + Ben | Wild Drive Life (@wilddrivelife) on Sep 12, 2018 at 7:39am PDT

What is your favorite part of living on the road?

M: “I would say the people that we’re able to meet. I just find it really special and I look at it big-picture. I can think of so many people we would have never met had we not decided to hit the road and say yes to things.”

B: “In addition to that, my favorite thingand least favorite thingis the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and do things that can be stressful at times. Traveling and not always knowing where you’re going next is really awesome for building character, but can also be very challenging.”

Where are you headed next?

M: “We are heading to the San Diego area. It’s on our list of potential places to reside in the future.”


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A post shared by Meag + Ben | Wild Drive Life (@wilddrivelife) on Sep 18, 2018 at 6:10am PDT

What are your favorite activities to do in the places you visit?

B: “Get a donut!”

M: “We eat very healthy. We run a lot, too, and do a ton of hiking. But man, when a homemade donut shop is recommended to us in a new place, we make a point to go.”


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A post shared by Meag + Ben | Wild Drive Life (@wilddrivelife) on Aug 17, 2018 at 5:58am PDT

Can you tell us about your mission to live debt-free and how that impacted all of this?

M: “I remember wanting to buy a house in 2013. We were married and it was sort of an expectation to buy a house even though we were 23 and had no idea what we were doing. We had some savings, but not a ton. We also had this ball and chain of $100,000. That was right around the time we dropped most of our savings in a chunk and started attacking it. We committed to a very strict budget. We wanted to see what we were capable of given our circumstances.

What inspired us was that we wanted optionswe wanted to feel comfortable and not encumbered by this debt that wasn’t serving us at all. We wanted to alleviate some of the risk with exploring different things and careers. Interest was literally taking our money and throwing it in the trash. Now we’re able to be ourselves more, as odd as that sounds. I don’t feel like I ‘need’ this project because if I don’t take it, we won’t be able to eat this week. We’re in a more comfortable mindset financially.”


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A post shared by Meag + Ben | Wild Drive Life (@wilddrivelife) on Jul 17, 2018 at 12:13pm PDT

Rapid Fire Q&A

Favorite show as a kid?
M: “[The Adventures of] Pete and Pete”
B: “Hey Arnold”

Favorite morning activity?
M: “Coffee”
B: “Coffee”

Cake or pie?
M: “Cake”
B: “Pie”

Card games or board games?
M: “Board games”
B: “Board games”

Summer or winter?
M: “Summer”
B: “Summer”

Sarah Nelson, Outdoorsy Author

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