One family of four decided to trade their New York City apartment for even smaller living quarters: a shuttle bus.
After feeling like life was passing them by, David and Madison Bowman embarked on a new adventure. David left his job and with their two toddlers, the parents moved from Manhattan into an airport shuttle bus. They’re now cruising across the country on a mission to visit all of the U.S. National Parks within a year.
“We both felt ourselves settling into the rest of our lives,” David, 27, told TODAY.com about how the idea initially started. “I guess I had a pre-midlife crisis. Why settle into regular life when it’s 2017 and you can work on the internet?”
He spent his days working as a graphic designer while Madison, 29, stayed home with their two children, 4-year-old Graham and 1-year-old Margaret. In an effort to help David with his "crisis," Madison encouraged him to write a bucket list. It ended up including:
- Live on a bus.
- Visit all of the U.S. National Parks.
“Once I saw the list, I started looking around,” Madison said.
The couple loved the idea of traveling while still maintaining their children’s routine — and in a way that allowed them to go to sleep in the same bed every night. They ended up purchasing a shuttle bus, which they have since nicknamed "Buster," on eBay for $9,000. David eventually drove "Buster" to Idaho, where they redesigned the interior while staying with Madison's family.
The six-week conversion included tearing the seats out, framing a one-bedroom layout, doing the electric work, adding solar panels, plumbing and insulation, putting in laminate flooring, installing a kitchen and building bunk beds off the main bedroom for the kids.
The Bowmans officially hit the road on May 26, driving down to Southern California and then up the West Coast all the way to Alaska — and so far, it’s been relatively smooth sailing. They are supporting their family through savings, and David is able to work from the road should they need extra income.
They visited the California Redwoods, swam in hot springs near Crater Lake, hiked near Mt. Rainier and even had a special visitor come up to their bus in Alaska: a bear.
“It’s impossible to visit these places and not come away with a renewed sense of respect for our environment,” David said. “You can’t go and hike up to a glacier and not feel kind of amazed.”
The best part: seeing their 4-year-old son Graham’s confidence grow with each outdoor adventure.
“I love seeing Graham’s confidence grow as he does things that he doesn’t think he can do,” Madison said. “Whenever we finish a hike, listening to him talk about what he was able to do and the things that he saw has been incredible as a parent.”
The Bowmans anticipate returning to New York next year once they hit all of the national parks. (No word yet on what will happen to Buster.) And while this adventure may have sparked from a pre-midlife crisis, it turns out it couldn't have happened at a better time.
"Living this dream of moving into a bus and traveling the country has been more significant for me in that I'm bringing my kids along," David said. "I wanted to get out there and show the country that I knew, that I experienced as a kid."