Brock and Patrick's recommended books for your bus conversion library
Bus Life Adventure Founder, Brock Butterfield and Content Editor/Social Media Monkey, Patrick Schmidt (@skoolielove) share their top books to have on board your Skoolie.
Brock's top four books.
Let me start by saying that I, Brock, am not a book reader. It's hard to find books that keep my attention enough to silence my monkey mind. Recently during COVID-19 I've found myself glued to my phone more than ever and I started to notice never feeling inspired, uplifted or optimistic after allowing the social media vacuum to suck me in deeper. It wasn't until one night when the battery on my phone went on strike that I decided to crack open Nomadland which I had purchased as a gift for a friend that I never ended up gifting (because he already had the book).
So, why would you take book advice from someone who doesn't read very often or enough? You probably shouldn't. Who am I to give good book reading advice when I'm lucky to read one book every couple years. But, if you're like me and find it hard to pick up those cellulose fibers that bonded together to make paper and a book, then here's a few books that were able to catch my attention and may catch yours.
In no particular order, here's a few books I've enjoyed before and during COVID-19. Also, while the links provided are Amazon items, consider supporting your small local bookstore first in these hard times.
Brock's one of two libraries on his Skoolie.
Author: Will Sutherland
If you're considering dipping your hairy toes into a bus conversion, this book will guide you in the right direction. I had the pleasure or reading this book before it was published and gave some feedback to Will before it went off to the print house. It covers everything from what to look for when searching for a bus all the way to backup cameras and bike racks before you hit the road. He even has a full break down of the cost of every item he purchased during the conversion of the bus he built for the book. Support a fellow bus lifer and pick up this guidance and picture filled book that would love to live in your Skoolie when you're on the road.
Author: Mark Sundeed
This book drew me in because I have an internal desire to be able to live without money. I'm the dude that if my life went completely sideways and I lost everything, I'd wonder off into the woods with the bare essentials and attempt to be completely self sufficient. In this book, Daniel Suelo does just that but not quite to the extreme that I had in mind. Suelo decides to give away his life savings and begins to live a life without paying taxes while also never accepting food stamps or welfare. By living in caves in the Utah canyonlands he finds food by foraging and dumpster diving while at the same time experiencing a spiritual journey that we all could use.
Author: Jessica Bruder
As mentioned, I picked this book up for a friend but after finding out they already had a copy I kept it and eventually cracked it open out of boredom. Nomadland caught and kept my attention because it covers the journey of one female septuagenarian (someone in his or her seventies) who is forced back into the workforce and without a house. By pulling the last of her funds and buying an RV, she secures seasonal jobs as a camp host in the summer and an Amazon warehouse zombie during the winters. This book will open your eyes to what's happening to many Americans and why we're seeing so many more run down RVs parked in Cities and old forest roads across the US. During my three years living full time in a bus I can relate to the struggle of being able to find a safe place to park and sleep for the night without getting the dreaded "knock". If you want a look into the world of our elders who are still forced to work and live in small cramped escape pods because their social security check doesn't cut it, then pick this book up to read.
Author: Dan Harris
This book took me a bit to get into but when it started to grab my attention I couldn't put it down. Dan Harris is a television journalist who had a panic attack on live television during an ABC News broadcast and that panic attack was one of the main driving factors that led him on a journey to understand the voice inside his head and the path to control it. For me this book hit home because I struggle with being way too hard on myself. I set goals and standards to live by that are unobtainable and yet I get really depressed when I don't hit those goals. Dan's experience and struggle with trying to climb the ranks as a television anchorman was completely relatable to me and my life. I had always tried meditating and never had any success but after Dan shares some of his experiences trying to meditate and going on a bizarre spiritual quest, I was able to pick up on a few things that truly helped me to utilize the voice in my head to my advantage.
Patrick's top six books:
Patrick reads A LOT. He also writes a lot and is currently working on a book of his own. His suggestions for books are probably much better than mine (Brock). Here's what Patrick has to say about each of them in his top picks.
Patrick's little free library on his Skoolie.
Author: Jon Krakauer
I’m sure many of you have read this book, but if you haven’t, you might want to. It’s one of the greats. It has wildly influenced how and why I am currently living my life. When I look around in my tiny bus home, and look at myself in the mirror, I can see McCandless staring back at me. This book was a LIFE CHANGER.
Author: Ken Ilgunas
Ken lived out of a Van while attending college, parked illegally the whole time, to cut down on rent and make it through college without any debt. His story is amazing, and hits really close to home. He’s a wonderful writer, and the story is one that will keep you entertained and asking yourself “Is tiny living and adventuring for me?”
Author: John Francis
John walked the Earth for 22 years, not talking 17 of those years. What an amazing feat! He saw an oil spill down in Southern California and it changed his life forever. He had a gut feeling and went for it, he simply started walking and appreciating the Earth. He did not speak the next 17 years, in defense of the planet. Do what you want to do, some people will never approve. You must do what you feel! Love the environment. Absolutely mind changing read.
Author: Paul Coehlo
I carried this book when I was hiking the Appalachian Trail. It is such a wonderful read! Traveling and life is a journey. There will be ups and downs. You can consider yourself lucky if you realize that you have everything you need right where you are. Pick this up for a gentle and kind read. This will tickle your spirituality.
Author: Gail Blanke
I read this book while I was down sizing for moving into the bus. GAME CHANGER! What “thoughts and emotions” do you have associated with your STUFF? Negative feelings? Those items have got to go. Positive feelings? Keep them. Eh feelings? Get rid of that stuff. When you throw out 5 pillows, that only counts as 1 item out of 50, because they are the same type of item. 49 items to go! It’s tough. As you throw out physical stuff, you’ll soon realize that you’re also shedding mental stuff. Best book I’ve found to help me get rid of my things.
Author: Gary Chapman
Want to love yourself more, as well as respect and understand the people around you? READ THIS BOOK! Love for many people is a foreign language, they simply don’t understand what to do, and don’t know what they're doing wrong. They feel empty and hollow and not appreciated by the people around them. This book plainly lays it all out, how to learn how to love and fill your inner “love tank.” LIFE CHANGER. A MUST READ.
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