Meet the spontaneous couple who gave up everything and transported their children to an old school bus in an attempt to spend more time together as a family – although one of the young people now wants to go back to school.
Wedding photographers Aaron, 45, and Philan Tokarz, 43, from Rockford, Illinois, purchased a school bus announced on Facebook for only $ 4,000 (£ 3,060) and spent $ 30,000 (£ 23,000) to turn it into wheels in a home .
They then rented out their traditional house with a living space of over 3 km and went with their three children to the 225 square meter vehicle, Cashin, 11, Brig, nine, and Freya, seven years old, last summer and the quintet were on the road since.
Wedding photographers, Aaron, 45, and Philan Tokarz, 43, from Rockford, Illinois, have been together for 14 years and have three children together – Cashin, 11, Brig, nine, and Freya, seven years old
Despite the free lifestyle, the oldest of the three Tokarz children, Cashin, says he wishes he was back at school, but his parents are convinced that the long-term benefits of traveling will pay off and that he is a & # 39; better person & # 39; will be.
After years of living a conventional lifestyle, the Tokarzs, who had been together for 14 years, said they were doing the time they spent doing odd jobs, such as cleaning their house, that they didn't spend enough time together .
In an effort to simplify their lives and to be more present with their children, they decided to go on the road in a school bus and travel around the US.
After looking at many disappointing and not enthusiastic campers, they finally decided to buy a 1999 International Amtran Genesis 30 & # 39; Flat-Front puller school bus.
After looking at many disappointing and uninspiring campers, the Tokarzs finally decided to buy a 1999 International Amtran Genesis 30 & # 39; Flat-Front puller school bus for $ 4,000 (£ 3,060). Above, during the transformation project (left) and after the makeover of the vehicle (right)
The Tokarz family eventually moved to their mobile mini-house on July 11, 2018
They renovated the bus themselves from November 2017 to July 2018 and have the beautiful & # 39; skoolie & # 39; made home. To keep friends and family up to date, they started posting their journey on Instagram as & # 39; Simplyusandabus & # 39 ;.
Their renovated bus is fully equipped and even has a roof terrace of 70 square meters, perfect for storing outdoor activity equipment.
The Tokarz family eventually moved to their mobile mini-house on July 11, 2018, and began their journey with Wisconsin, followed by Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Seattle, and Oregon. They occasionally return to Illinois to do wedding photo shoots before they head out again.
& # 39; As a family we enjoy being outside together, exploring new cities and being active. Along the way you can go hiking, rock climbing and practice water sports such as snorkeling and kayaking. We try to challenge ourselves and our children to try new things and have a greater appreciation for life, & Aaron said.
Their renovated bus is fully equipped and even has a roof terrace of 70 square meters
The three children of the Tokarz are all taught on the road through outdoor activities, occasional museum visits and guided online research, which has created a mixed response from each child
& # 39; In the fall of 2017 we realized that although we were working at home and we lived with our children a lot, we were not present for them or for each other. We spent so much time cleaning the house, doing site work, being social in our community that we were wrong.
& # 39; Life went too fast and we were surrounded by too many pointless material possessions. We were part of the community, but we were not connected to other families. We needed a change to make life easier and to be more present with each other and our children.
& # 39; Philan suggested making a big change. We considered moving to North Carolina at a different pace, but the more we thought about it, the more we realized that we had to be on our way to explore our country with our children.
& # 39; We mainly looked at campers, but they were all too similar and there was not really a feasible way to fully adjust them. School buses are also much safer, since they are built to safely transport our children to and from school.
& # 39; We have eroded and renovated the bus from November 2017 to July 2018. It cost us $ 30,000 to do it ourselves. It took a lot of effort to get our & # 39; skoolie & # 39; get on the road.
To begin with, the couple looked at buying an RV, but they found that the vehicles all looked too much alike and that there was not really a viable way to fully adjust them. Above the family on the roof where they store their outdoor activity material.
In addition to the first routine adjustments, reducing assets, missing friends and family, strange breakdowns, passers-by who want to & # 39; look inside & # 39; and finding a place to park at night, the family says they have spent a bus, a positive experience most people can only dream of
& # 39; We have 225 square meters with a living / dining room, a full kitchen, three bunk beds, a double bed for us, a compost toilet, storage space and another 70 square meters on our roof terrace.
& # 39; We move a lot and are usually in a city for a few days and then on our way to our next location. & # 39;
In addition to the first routine adjustments, reducing assets, missing friends and family, strange breakdowns, passers-by who want to & # 39; look inside & # 39; and finding a place to park overnight, bus life has given the family a positive experience that most people can only dream of.
They say they have met so many interesting people and made many friends along the way, and the children have learned to be respectful and kind to others whom they think will have had a huge impact on the future of their children.
Their three children are all taught on the road through outdoor activities, occasional museum visits and guided online research, which has created a mixed response from each child.
The converted bus has a light and airy interior, a kitchen, a living room and sleeping space
The couple say that they have become much closer as a family since living together in a bus
As the family approaches their first year on the bus, they have decided to live with it for at least another year and hopefully long afterwards
Aaron said: & # 39; It was a big adjustment and it was hard to miss friends and family.
& # 39; However, we have all done very well with the challenges. One of the most difficult parts is finding a parking space at night, but overall it's a great experience.
& # 39; Being in the spotlight can also be difficult. People are very curious about this lifestyle. You can be parked next to a street in any city and eat your dinner on the bus. Suddenly people want to look inside. It was interesting.
& # 39; We are teaching our children & # 39; schools & # 39 ;. Think of it as a more relaxed version of home education. Wherever we go, we always find something new to investigate when we are back on the bus.
& # 39; Cashin says he wishes he was still in school. He usually misses his friends.
& # 39; Brig is more of an introvert person, so he would rather learn this way. Freya had only been in school for a year before we left, so she doesn't care. I think we'll see the benefits later in life.
The couple says that one of the most difficult places is to find a parking space at night
The Tokarz family (pictured left for converting their bus and right, on the road) says that people are very curious about their lifestyle, many passers-by want to peek inside their house on wheels
& # 39; We have come closer since we live on the bus.
& # 39; We are blessed to see fantastic places in our country, far off the beaten track. We have met wonderful people. I think this experience will make our children better people and we have seen them grow. & # 39;
While the family is approaching their first year on the bus, they have decided to live with it for at least another year and hopefully long afterwards.
& # 39; Life is too short. If you have an idea, no matter how crazy it may seem, even if the timing doesn't seem right, go for it! You will never know what life can bring unless you try, & Aaron said.
& # 39; We were in Bend, Oregon. Cashin wanted to jump from a bridge into a river. He was nervous. Some guy came up to him and said, "You'll never regret the things you've done, just the things you've not done."
& # 39; With that Cashin climbed onto the bridge railing, grabbed our hands and jumped. He was so happy he did it. Do not regret and live your life to the fullest. & # 39;