In 2019 we decided we wanted to shake up our suburban lives. Already keen campervanners, we took a gamble and bought ourselves an American school-bus. We found a builder in Salt Lake City to convert it for us and six months later we had packed up the house, taken the kids out of school and were on our way to start a year of adventures.
Over the course of 12 months we travelled 14,000 miles across 20 different states.
We hiked and biked 14 National Parks; stayed at vineyards and farms to enjoy local produce; kayaked with manatees and alligators in Florida; boated with whales and otters in Vancouver; sat on our roof deck to spot wolves and bears in Yellowstone; gazed in awe at rockets launching from NASA; climbed up and through Redwoods in California; scrambled on boulders in Arizona; swam in the Pacific and the Atlantic; collected beads at New Orleans Mardi Gras and hunted for sand dollars in Oregon.
It was an amazing year, but it was life in our off-grid Skoolie that elevated our journey into something really special. It became an symbol for living differently and, as our time in America drew to a close in July 2020, we knew we didn’t want that to end.
We decided to bring a Skoolie back home with us to Sussex so that we could share the sense of wellbeing that we felt came from going off-grid and spending quality time with family and friends.
In 2021 we launched Skoolie Stays – our converted American school bus. We built it by hand, pouring all the love and knowledge we had accrued for American buses into it. The end result was quirky, clever and beautiful – we loved it and our guests did too.
We knew pretty quickly that we had got glamping right – just enough of our own story balanced with space for people to create their own.
In 2023 we found ourselves in a position to launch another glamping project in a new location.
Where previously we had been motivated by sharing the mental health benefits that living off-grid had given us, this time we felt we wanted to address the challenges of tourism on the climate. The holiday industry contributes enormously to carbon emissions and we wanted to draw attention to this by building a cabin that was as close to carbon neutral as we could manage.
By showcasing the best of British eco technology and design, we wanted to inspire people to think about their own environmental impact.
Hopefully we would be able to motivate them to begin a journey towards a more sustainable way of living.