Hashtag Community

instagramWhat the heck is a hash tag, and why should I use them? We get this question all the time and usually answer it by saying the # is a way of “filing” your photo into a world-wide folder with photos that also have that same hashtag. The purpose is to link up people who have similar interests. So for instance, say you were into tea, you could start an instagram and use it as a way to document different tea shops you’d visit, teas and big hats via photo and then when you post those photos, you’d hashtag something like #teaaddiction. When you had a moment, you’d click on #teaaddiction and find all sorts of kinfolk who love tea. You could look through their photos and maybe even click on their profile, eventually making friends, finding solace in your tea fanaticism.

For us, social media outlets that use hashtags, specially Instagram have allowed us the privilege of meeting so many wonderful traveling kinfolk along our way. Just hashtag #busconversion,  #familyontheroad, #ditchingsuburbia, or #homeiswhereyouparkit and boom, they are all there; nomadic kinfolk, wanderlust rangers and road-school families. These tools provide opportunities to make an initial contact, where we can develop a slow adoration for those we follow, bonding over shared experiences and eventually leading to a #meetup. That’s when the real fun starts for us! Those moments of serendipity when we find ourselves in the same neck of the woods as fellow travelers, reaching out, setting a meeting time and place and making that first face to face connection, is sheer excitement and delight.

IMG_2192We’ve met up in MI with fellow bus owners, Herd of Turtles (The Shanks Family riding in an Eagle) and Scott and Heather Bennet (MCI owners), sharing a meal, stories of our bus conversions, and music by the campfire. Also, fellow bus owners Technomadia, who we met up with in California. When we pulled into the state park, they heard our 2stroke engine and came a running. We spent that evening sharing bus stories and tricks of the trade.

Our nomadic community isn’t just limited to bus owners, as we’ve met up with “The Van With No Plan” brothers, Josh and Matt in Phoenix AZ, where we learned about their adventures in multiple vehicles and drive to bring joy wherever they go. We met up with “meredithmarieyo” in Austin TX and learned the Texas Two Step. Also, in Austin we met up with world troubadour, Andrew Jones, from Jonesberries, one of our greatest inspirations and in our opinion, the original traveling family. And, then there was that quick but fruitful breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Lafayette, LA with One Year Road Trip (The Webb Family). We can’t forget The Wayfaring Family in Lexington, KY hosting us for a few nights, sharing stories of their one year of world travel, and adjusting back to home life. Then there was our recent link up with 5th wheelers, Wandering Jess (The Marshall Family) in Pensacola FL and The Boyink family (aka Ditching Suburbia) at Silverspring State Park, Florida. Both of which shared stories of faith, motivation for full-time travel and raising teenagers on the road.

They all have their own beautiful stories of how they transitioned from life on the ground to life on the road. They all make their way doing different sorts of jobs, some work remote corporate jobs, some IT jobs, some bloggers, some pick up odd jobs, some do photography and some are film makers. Some have children and those who do have all sorts of ways they home school, from online resources to unschool. Some have pets, some have spouse and some have both.  They all travel in an array of vehicles from 5th wheels, classic airstreams, campers, buses, vans, to cars & bicycles. Some have converted their vehicles and some have bought them off of the lot. Some folks, downsize all the way, some still have homes, etc… Some have an abundance of resources and some live day to day. One thing they all have in common however, is their commitment to swimming upstream, seeking freedom, asking tough questions about societal norms and pushing against the status quo.

IMG_0155Everyday a new traveler, family or couple ends up in our different hashtag folders and when they do we reach out welcoming them to this community of drifters and wanderers. We’re always keeping an eye on the whereabouts of our fellow travelers, hoping that the wind might blow us together sooner than later. These moments of connectivity with our nomadic community are inspiring and reassure us that we’re not odd or alone, we are part of a bigger picture, in it together. #neverstopexploring #community

You can find us on Instagram at The Hollands and on Twitter at The_Hollands

Advertisements

Bus Conversion; Sneak Peak

The Hollands! BusToday marks our Three Year Anniversary!

In August 2011, we gave away all of our possession and bought a 1984 MCI-9 Motorcoach (bus). Over the course of two months we would begin the conversion process with the help of many friends, neighbors and family. We departed Green Bay, WI in our bus on Oct 13, 2011, with the exterior walls, couch, dinette and master bed in tact. The rest of the bus was a container. We set off for our first stop in Sister, OR where another handful of friends and family helped us build out the kitchen cabinets, framing bedrooms and installing the electrical system. We left Oregon and as we traveled we built out what we could, when we had the resources and time. Over the course of the next three years we installed the plumbing system and finished off the bathroom complete with a shower and hot water. We have traveled over 60,000 miles, through 36 states. We are peace pilgrims, folk revivalists, and merrymakers. And, this is our home today.

PS. Video was filmed on an I-Phone 4 and we realize the quality isn’t ideal but hopefully you get a good glimpse for now. Also, here is the first design floor plan drawn by our friend, Marc Brummel. We adapted it as we built, moving the shower, sink and toilet but the basic design is the same.

Bus Conversion Floor Plan

Michigan Round Up Bus Rally

Craig is member of the busconversion.com forum and uses it regularly to learn how others convert their buses, understand the mechanics on our MCI-9 and share stories. At the same time, I have an Instagram (thehollands) that I use as a photo log of our journey and to connect with other bus nomads.

Through these networks we found two families that we were going to be in the same area that we were traveling through. And so, we decided to all meet up and share a meal, bon fire, songs and our stories of nomadic life.

It was a joy to meet the Shank family aka. Herd of Turtles and Scott and Heather Bennett. The Herd of Turtles have been two years in the making and just launched this summer. The Bennett’s have been traveling for a while and Scott is a gifted singer/songwriter.  We can’t wait to see these fast friends again down the line!

Bus Update – Brake Job

From the Desk of Craig Holland;

20130515-170813.jpgWhen we bought this 1984 MCI-9 we were totally in the dark about its history or mechanical state. We have built our home in it and it is pure grace that we’ve been able to drive it over 35,000 miles around this grand ol’ country so far.

We are currently parked at the Choo Choo Express Garage for repairs in Chattanooga TN. We’ve had minor repairs, mostly dealing with our tires, but this is our first major break down in the year and a half that we have owned the bus.

A little history; back in January we were rolling through California and one of my rear brakes locked up. A police motorcyclist just happened upon us and helped guide me out of the way. At the time, I was more worried that he would take a closer look at our moving house and want to write me up for who knows what. However, the brake ended up releasing and we went on our way.

This past week, while coming down a big hill on Hwy 24 (outside of Nashville), my brakes were smoking, which I had never noticed before. I pulled over and gave the rig a chance to cool down and we continued on to Chattanooga. We parked for a few days visiting family and making music. When it was time to go, I did a once over inspection and we left for our next stop in Asheville, NC. As we were leaving however, I noticed the left rear end tire locked up again.

We stopped and investigated, researching garages, debating financial options and the timing of our tour/schedule. I found a list of mechanics on busconversion.com, a bus forum community I’m a part of, and the Choo Choo Express Garage came highly recommend. It happened to be located just thirty minutes south of where we were parked. Also we were sitting on a three-day open window before our next gig. So, as much as I didn’t want to deal with the cost and inconvenience of repairs, we decided to bite the bullet and have it looked at.

20130515-170947.jpgWe arrived at the shop where we were met by Don, the owner and proprietor since 1975 and Joel his head mechanic. I was invited to observe and learn along side the fella’s and as we did an inspection my brakes, we found them all totally worn down and about 4-5 seal leaks. To translate for folks who aren’t mechanically inclined, leaking oil on the pads gets hot and sparks a screw that is exposed which leads to a tire fire. Ultimately it could have ended poor if not catastrophic.

I tend to be a white knuckle sort of person and sometimes God has to knock me upside my head to avert bigger troubles. I’m thankful for this and the fact that I’ll have peace of mind running down the road (or hills) with good brakes all round. I’m also glad we are getting a once over and a base line for what this rig might need down the line. And, thanks to the hospitality of Don and his crew we’ve been able to park/plug-in at the shop during this two night stay.

Community has been a focus for us all along and we see this inconvenience as a way to participate in relationship through divine commerce and time spent with these fella’s, practicing perseverance, learning about the mechanics of our bus and trusting that we are covered though the ups and downs.

20130515-183702.jpgOur total bill was $2829.06. If you would like to partner with us to off set the costs of these repairs and keep us on our way you can visit www.modernday.org and share a tax-deductible donation.  We are humbled and grateful for your continued support.

And for those who find themselves in need of the Choo Choo Express Garage, you won’t find them on-line or in the phone book, but you can reach them at 706-891-1242

Their address is 135 Prater Rd. Rossille, GA 30741

Bus Update- Turn table

Craig added a listening station. With the help of David Burton, the unit came together quickly.  Featuring our 1973 Zenith Solid State Phonograph, three compartments for records, and under cabinet storage for our instruments, the piece adds function and dynamic to our humble abode.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.