I was reminded lately of a crazy adventure I went on in 2003. I bought a school bus and converted it into an RV. No kidding. I gutted it, installed a kitchen and dinette, some beds, running water and electricity and even air conditioning. It was quite the project, and quite crazy.
But you know what? The adventure was one of the best adventures of my life. My family and I took that old bus all over the country: Minnesota, South Dakota, Missouri, Arizona, and of course all over Colorado. We had family adventures unparalleled to most families.
Our bus adventure taught me three important attitudes that I like to think I apply to my life today. I’ve got a wild-and-crazy side to me (c’mon, I bought a school bus and traveled the country with it), and I feel this wild attitude is a good attitude to have. More people should be a bit wild. I hope I never lose site of these important attitudes.
1. Instead of “why,” think “why not?”
I wow’d a lot of people with my bus. Most people shared in my enthusiasm, but I remember showing it to some who would have that “you’re nuts” look in their eyes. I would insist on sharing all the great things about it and how much sense it made for me and my family, Eventually, the light would turn on. “Wow, that’s quite a bus you have, and what a great idea!”
It’s funny how that works. When I start with the “why not,” the “why” seems to answer itself. The bus was a conversion project, and we made it work as the years unfolded. I suspect that if I waited to have my “why” fully answered, the great story of the Jeub Bus would have never started.
2. Instead of ordinary, think out of the ordinary.
For a family, I suppose an RV or a camping tent would have been expected. A bus? That’s kind of crazy, out of the ordinary.
I admit, this is how I am different from others. I don’t mind being out of the ordinary, and this attitude has led to some of the coolest stories of my life, the bus being one of many. A desire to be ordinary would have thrown a lot of great memories to the wind.
What’s so great about conformity anyway? Fitting in, being just like the neighbors, making sure you look and act just like everyone else – these things don’t sound appealing to me. It sounds boring.
3. Think practically, not what others will think of you.
For us, a bus made a ton of sense. When we traveled, we had plenty of room, not crammed in a van. RVs were terribly expensive, but a bus was cheap. And I was a handyman of sorts, so why not own a bus?
Here’s what would have stunted the project: concern of what others thought of me. Oh, don’t worry, I knew a few who stared down their noses at me. I ignored them. Perhaps they secretly envied me; their lives were ordinary and tidy and just like everyone else’s. I didn’t want their lives, but maybe they secretly wanted my sense of adventure.
We don’t own the bus anymore, but we have great memories of our years together. Buying and converting that bus was one of the greatest things I did in the past decade.
I hope everyone aspires to do great things. But I wonder how many never accomplish anything of much significance because they ask “why” too much, desire to be too ordinary, or are too conscientious of what their neighbors will think? For me, the greatest things I have done have been out-of-the-ordinary.
What extraordinary thing do you have in your life?