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The Making of Project 63 - How Did We Get Here?

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

If you're like me, you love watching the "behind the scenes" of movies to see how they did it and to get the story behind the work. I think it's a really fun way to feel more connected to the movie and really helps me to appreciate the work that goes into it.


That being said, I'm going to be sharing the "behind the scenes of Project 63" with you. How we came up with the idea, the progress, the work, and of course the drama to go with it.


HOW WE MET

Matthew and I met at a college orientation for Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood, Washington. We both decided to skip the last two years of high school to be full time college students.


I was the shy girl just minding my own business trying not to fall asleep during the 2 hour long Power Point presentation. He was the man on a mission to make as many friends as possible and possibly get some girls' numbers.


While he did end up getting my phone number, it took a year of extreme persistence (or maybe stubbornness) on his end before I said yes to a date with him.


Boy am I glad he was persistent!


We got married on June 27th 2021, which just so happened to be record breaking temperatures for the Puyallup area at a scorching 110 degrees! Other than the scorching heat, the wedding was absolutely perfect and I couldn't be happier to have Matthew as my husband.


But that's enough of the sappy stuff.


BACK WHEN HE WAS A WEE LAD

Matthew has had the idea of converting a school bus into a tiny-home since he was 15. He has shown me his old drawings and detailed blueprints for his grand plan, which are quite impressive.


Over the years, the idea kept coming back to him, but other things in life were taking priority and the timing just wasn't right.


When we got engaged and were looking for housing, the timing couldn't have been better. Of course, his young minimalistic bachelor-pad designs had to change a bit. No offense.


DEBT FREE LIFESTYLE

One thing that Matthew and I agree on is the importance of living a debt free life. Being newly-weds fresh out of high school with the housing market the way it is, there was no way we could afford anything nice to call our home. That's when Matthew brought up the idea of converting a school bus into a tiny-home.


While it is by no means cheap, we have been able to build the house within our budget and avoid going into debt. We are expecting to spend about $45,000 in total on the skoolie conversion and we are quickly approaching that number. Fingers crossed that we don't go too much over budget.


Don't be mistaken and think skoolie life is just something we are settling for. We love the idea! Not only do we get to travel whenever we want, we get to have a completely custom home, stay out of debt, and have an adventure of a lifetime.


THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO 'ROUND AND 'ROUND

On January 15th, we drove to Spokane, Washington to buy our school bus. We were blessed with the perfect find and a great price tag at just $5,000. The school bus we have is a 2007 All American Blue Bird. It is a pusher, meaning the engine is in the back, which makes the cab quieter while we travel. This particular school bus was geared for long distance since it drove football players to games and musicians to concerts. There are no "start-and-stop" miles on it and has the full under-body storage compartments ( which we call the basement). We use the basement to store our 200 gallon fresh water tanks, battery set up, BBQ grill, and other big items.


After a five-minute crash course on how to drive with compression brakes, Matthew drove the school bus back to Lakewood with me nervously following behind. Going over Snoqualmie Pass was scary with the pouring rain in the dark, but we made it back safely. I have yet to drive the bus, but I am perfectly content letting Matthew do the driving for now.


THE PLAN

What started out as a way to live debt-free quickly evolved into something I would never have imagined a year ago.


Traveling was always our plan. But going to all 63 National Parks with a blog and the whole shebang? Yeah, I didn't see that coming.

We decided that now is the time to travel like crazy. For one, we don't yet have kids. We also recently closed the doors of our business. Before Matthew and I met, he started a fence contracting business and built high end cedar fences across Pierce County. I eventually joined his team as administrative assistant. We had our fun with that, but we knew it was time to move on.


In a bittersweet decision to close the business, we had doors open and close for us. Now that we aren't tied down to the business, we are free to roam whenever we want.


We both have a passion for the outdoors and all that entails. Hiking, kayaking, camping, star gazing, and so on. Growing up with Mount Rainier National Park in our backyard, and Spring breaks in Zion or Grand Canyon, we grew an appreciation for the National Parks.


So why not combine our efforts to travel with our passion for the National Parks into one plan?


And that's how we got to where we are today.


Let the adventure begin!




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Meet the Author

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Hey! I'm Kaitlynn, a lover of the outdoors and all things travel. I quit my job to travel full-time with my husband, Matthew, in our skoolie. 

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Matt & Kate

Project 63 

Bringing you travel information and inspiration as we travel to all 63 National Parks.

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