The road to tiny house living can sometimes be bumpy, but my guests today, Justin and Juby, show us that a life of adventure is possible when living tiny – even with a child. Justin and Juby have been sharing their skoolie adventure on Instagram and YouTube for a while now. I'd heard about them from both members of Tiny House Engage and previous guests on the show, so I knew I had to have them on for an interview. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to live on a bus, what it takes to set up then pack up to travel, and mistakes they've made along the way, and how they manage their businesses from the road.
In This Episode:
- Learning how to travel in the bus
- How do you get around when your vehicle is your home?
- Modifying and modifying again to accommodate a child
- The reality of the hardships of full-time life on the road
- Heading back to the bus with a new perspective
- Running a bee business from the road
- How to maintain your plant-based diet while traveling
- Writing a cookbook together (and their go-to recipes)
Links and Resources:
- Buddha Bee Apiary
- Tiny Home Big Flava’ cookbook
- Gus the Struggle Bus
- Sailing La Vagabonde
- Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie
Justin and Juby
Justin, Juby, & Azalea are a family of 3 traveling around the world full time whilst documenting their journey on YouTube. In 2017 they started building out a school bus into their full-time home and just a year later had a baby join them for the adventure. For the next few years they worked towards quitting the 9-5 and in 2019 finally hit the road with their bus called Red Peppa'. Their hope is to share & inspire their audience to seize the day and know that all dreams can be manifested into reality.
This Week's Sponsor:
Tiny House Decisions
Tiny House Decisions is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. And it comes in three different packages to help you on your unique tiny house journey. If you're struggling to figure out the systems for your tiny house, how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, what you're going to build it out, then tiny house decisions will take you through the process systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for podcast listeners. Head over to https://www.thetinyhouse.net/thd and use the coupon code tiny at checkout!
Red Peppa' has gone through quite a few remodels inside so that it can accommodate a growing child
Their solar panel upgrade allows them to keep the fridge running while traveling
Juby gave her plants away before heading to Mexico
All of this has to be packed and secured before they drive
Moon Flower Child was one source of inspiration for Justin and Juby to live in the bus full-time
Curtains in the front window and by the door are removable for travel and provide privacy while parked
The 9-cubic-foot fridge helps them be able to meal-prep and batch cook so they can eat out less often
Justin and Juby tow their Jeep… most of the time
Justin Maness 0:00
Yeah, there were a lot of evolutions, definitely, to have it baby-ready. But I mean, that was also kind of a cool aspect of it because you just remind yourself that you know, for what you need, you built it, you can just rip it back out and completely renovate it.
Ethan Waldman 0:17
The road to tiny house living can sometimes be bumpy. But my guest today, Justin and Juby, show us that a life of adventure is possible when living tiny, even with a child, Justin and Juby did a great school bus conversion, and have been sharing their adventure on Instagram and YouTube for a few years now. I've heard about them from members of Tiny House Engage, as well as from some previous guests on the show, so I knew I had to have them in for an interview. And they don't disappoint. In this interview, we talk about the nitty-gritty of what it's like to live in a bus, including what it takes to kind of set up the bus when you arrive somewhere and break it down so that you can travel again, mistakes and issues that they've had along the way, and how they manage their businesses from the road because these are two entrepreneurs who are living tiny with a child and from the road. I hope you stick around.
I want to tell you about something that I think will be super helpful as you plan, design and build your tiny house. Tiny House Decisions is the guide that I wish I had when I was building my tiny house. It comes in three different packages to help you on your unique Tiny House journey. And if you're struggling to just figure out the systems for your tiny house, you know like how you're going to heat it, how you're going to plumb it, you know, what construction technique are you going to use like sips or stick framing or steel framing, Tiny House Decisions will take you through all these processes systematically and help you come up with a design that works for you. Right now I'm offering 20% off any package of Tiny House Decisions for listeners of the show. You can head over to thetinyhouse.net/THD to learn more, and use the coupon code tiny at checkout for 20% off any package. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/THD and use the coupon code tiny for 20% off.
Alright, I am here with Justin and Juby. Justin, Juby, and Azalea are a family of three traveling around the world full time whilst documenting their journey on YouTube. In 2017, they started building out a school bus into their full time home and just a year later had a baby join them for the adventure. For the next few years, they worked towards quitting the 9-5 and in 2019 finally hit the road with their bus called Red Peppa. Their hope is to share and inspire their audience to seize the day and know that all dreams can be manifested into reality. Justin and Juby, welcome to the show.
Juby Maness 3:10
Thank you. Yeah, it's good to be here and to talk with you more about I guess our travels and bus life and all that kind of stuff.
Justin Maness 3:16
Yeah. Thanks for having us.
Ethan Waldman 3:18
Yeah, you're welcome. I was hoping you could kind of expand on the story of, you know, just deciding that bus life is is what you wanted. Like, how did you decide on a bus versus, you know, a tiny house on wheels, a traditional tiny house on wheels or a van?
Justin Maness 3:38
Yeah, I think that Genesis kind of started with you. Yeah?
Juby Maness 3:40
Yeah. So I guess back in like 2013, I started a business that I no longer have right now. But it was called Moonflower child. And it was a wandering boutique- or it evolved into a wandering boutique - where I bought a short school bus and converted it into a store and started traveling up and down the East Coast. And I was doing those trips on my own. And it was a lot of fun. And but we decided that there was some sort of adventure there that we were kind of hoping to explore together. And so we decided after a lot of conversation because we had actually talked about living in a tiny house, in a Yurt in a
Justin Maness 4:17
A cob house
Juby Maness 4:17
A cob house
Justin Maness 4:18
Everything you could think of that was tiny.
Juby Maness 4:20
We sort of landed on bus life and buying a school bus. I guess it just seemed like the right fit for the time. Living tiny and being able to like move it easily because those tiny houses on wheels that are on trailers are sort of on trailers to get around all the legalities of being so tiny, but not necessarily made for traveling as much as we had intended to, so yeah.
Justin Maness 4:46
Well, there was also like the one turning point with the event in downtown Raleigh. She was visiting a local event. And it was really cool. It's right in the downtown of Raleigh, and so I wanted to help her out. And we just decided to like hit the town and then go and sleep in the bus because she had to do the event the next day too. I remember we had so much fun that evening, when we woke up the next day, we just like looked out the window, saw the city, we had access just to like go wherever we wanted to before her event, and I think it just kind of hit us. And we were like, "Wow, this is"
Juby Maness 5:17
Justin Maness 5:17
yeah. Epic. Like, what if we did this on a regular basis? And that's kind of that that's kind of was the trigger to help us say, "You know, let's, let's move forward. Let's do another bus. And let's see what this bus life thing is all about."
Ethan Waldman 5:31
That's awesome. So it was it was through experience of just like having that feeling in the bus realizing that it that it could work for you.
Juby Maness 5:40
Ethan Waldman 5:41
So it sounds like it took you a couple of years to go from maybe from that dream or that realization to actually having a bus that you could live and travel in?
Justin Maness 5:55
It felt like decades.
Juby Maness 5:57
Yeah. That year that we bought the bus though.
Justin Maness 6:01
Yeah, sure. We pulled the trigger fast. I mean,
Juby Maness 6:04
yeah, we found a bus like right after we got married and started working on it a little bit, like later that year, because we got married in July, and then bought the bus in August, and then started working in like November. And then we were going to move to Atlanta and things kind of fell through. And we ended up moving to a tiny house community forum kind of south of where we were living at the time in Chapel Hill in North Carolina. And, yeah, we didn't work on the bus for a hot minute. And so like the new year came, and that's when we also found out that I was pregnant, all kinds of things kind of started unraveling. And we were like, "Okay, we need to build this bus quick." So we moved into the bus in August that next year, but didn't really start traveling with it until like a couple years later.
Justin Maness 6:47
Yeah, throughout the process there was a lot of life that happened along the way.
Ethan Waldman 6:50
Justin Maness 6:51
I mean, it was a lot of transition that had to be made. You know, we were living in a house that we rented in Durham, North Carolina, for I forget how long,
Juby Maness 7:00
Justin Maness 7:00
Three years. And so there was the process of like, downsizing. And then there was the process of building the bus. And I think another there was also the process of like work and being able to like sustain ourselves and cover the bills. That was kind of another inspiration point for going over to bus live to we were working so much trying to build our own thing and trying to you know, at the time I was with a startup, so I was working crazy hours trying to build somebody else's dream. And so yeah, that was just a it was a lot. I've seen a lot of people go into the process a lot faster than we did. But for us, you know, with everything that we're balancing and then bring our first child into. It was a lot, but we made it.
Juby Maness 7:43
Ethan Waldman 7:45
How did you know that it was time to kind of hit the road?
Juby Maness 7:50
I don't think there was a definitive moment where we were like, "Okay, we're departing now for good." We kind of always had to come back to North Carolina for the longest time for Justin's beekeeping business just because he didn't have people at the time working for him. And so we could only leave for so many times in the year or so many like months at a time. It was just because the beekeeping and the way beekeeping was structured, you know?
Justin Maness 8:14
Yeah, it was really a build up, you know, like, we it was a slow transition. I remember a maiden voyage, we went to a local music festival, called Shakori hills. And that was like our first trip. And it was amazing.
Juby Maness 8:27
Yeah, we loved that.
Justin Maness 8:27
And then we overheated on the way home.
Juby Maness 8:29
Oh, yeah, that was super stressful, like breaking down for the first time and kind of like understanding the inner workings of like, you know, road travels and having to navigate just being cool with it and
Justin Maness 8:41
trying to be fluid. Yeah, but then it was like, "Okay, well then let's take a week trip a little bit farther away." And then eventually we went all the way up to Vermont. Yeah, we did like an entire, like fall slash winter trip, like a one month trip to Vermont then yeah, we went really fast. And then
Ethan Waldman 9:01
I'm sorry I missed you.
Juby Maness 9:03
Yeah, it was beautiful. I wish we could have stayed longer. But yeah, we we learned pretty quick or actually, maybe not. Maybe it took longer than we thought to like, learn that traveling in the bus is better when you go slow. Which, as they say is the motto You know, driving in the slow lane, like this.
Justin Maness 9:25
No brainer. But it took us a long time to figure out maybe because we were trying to squeeze so much in such a short period of time. Yeah, but then eventually we took a winter trip to Florida and stayed there for like two or three months and then just this past year, we took it out west and that trip was epic. Yeah, absolutely epic. So yeah, no definitive moment where we were like, "Let's go!" It was like,
Juby Maness 9:47
like, progressively gotten to be like longer since and traveling the bus.
Justin Maness 9:51
It's just a build up over time. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 9:53
So when you say "go slow" my first thought was, "Okay, just don't drive that fast." But now do you also try to not spend so many hours of the day actually driving like you try to, like drive less and like see the places more?
Juby Maness 10:11
Yeah, I think there's a lot of things that play into the concept of going slow,
Justin Maness 10:15
Which you can't go fast in a bus anyway, well,
Juby Maness 10:17
We broke our governor so we can go a little. We had a governor on the bus, which like maxed out the speed limit for the bus to actually be able to drive at 55 miles per hour, but on our trip West it decided it was no longer going to be in use. And we could drive faster than that if we wanted to, but I
Justin Maness 10:39
was like, super speedy 65. Yeah. I think with the planning, though, like, yes, absolutely. Over time, we realized how intense it was to try to go even just like four or five hours in a day in a bus, break down, pack up. going slow.
Juby Maness 11:00
We have Azalea, too, like she can only handle so much driving time in a day. Before she starts to get stir crazy. I need to get out the house and do stuff.
Justin Maness 11:09
Yeah. So for us, I think we realized like, usually we put a cap on it for three hours, maybe three or four hours pushing it. Yeah.
Juby Maness 11:16
Yeah. That's also like, in regular driving, that's probably like a two, three hour drive maybe.
Justin Maness 11:25
But it makes things so much more enjoyable. Now, you know, we just like, like you said, we just plan on, it takes longer to get somewhere. But we do short stints like that. It's so much easier. And we do have more time to like, enjoy the area that we're in instead of just just breezing right through. Yeah,
Ethan Waldman 11:43
got it. So can you tell me about Red Peppa''? Just kind of like how big of a bus? What kind of bus like yeah, give me some stats about about Red Peppa'.
Justin Maness 11:55
Well, the the actual name came from the name of the paint color that we used. They come up with all these really interesting paint names. And the one that we chose was called Red Peppa'. And so that was that was the name of our bus. And it is a 1998 Bluebird TC 2000. She's 33 foot. She's got a Cummins 5.9 liter engine, and she's just an absolute beauty. She's been great to us. We've talked about the breakdowns, but ultimately, like the amount of miles that we put on and the things that we've done to her. She's done. Absolutely amazing. I would say yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 12:32
Yeah. And and it seems like the breakdowns are a part of, of living in a bus. I have never interviewed someone living in a bus who hasn't kind of mentioned the breakdowns. So, you know, it sounds like you had your first breakdown on an on an early trip.
Juby Maness 12:51
Yeah, I guess the the problem that we encountered on that one early trip is sort of like an ongoing problem and a problem that we're sort of learning to adapt and live with, just because you've heard that it can be an issue with a lot of buses. And that's just like, you know, growing pains of getting old together, I guess. So she overheats, and takes a little minute to cool down. But she doesn't like going up big inclines and stuff like that. Yeah. And we also tow our Jeep as well. So that can put a lot of pressure on the engine and also cause her to overheat a little bit faster. So these are just things that we're like now aware of. And so whenever we were, you know, going through like the Rockies we'll drive separately, we might have to take a couple pitstops on the side of the road and just let her cool down or like cook lunch or do some work or whatever, and then get back on the road.
Justin Maness 13:40
Yes, talk about going slow, we go even slower.
Ethan Waldman 13:43
So you're going have an SUV behind a 33 foot bus?
Juby Maness 13:49
Yeah, it's yeah, it's pretty a pretty big rig when it's all put together.
Ethan Waldman 13:54
And is that is the Jeep on like a trailer? Or is it just on all four wheels hooked up with one of those things? I don't know what they're called. Yeah.
Juby Maness 14:05
We thought - we used to have a Honda Civic. And I guess we could have towed that one. But we decided we wanted to get something that could go off road. So we'd have the option to go places without us and venture a bit further. So we intentionally set out to find a vehicle that we could use for that so we didn't have to deal with, like the trailer and all that kind of stuff. Right?
Justin Maness 14:26
Right. Yeah. And the Jeep is black. So we figured it would make the most sense to call it black Peppa'. We tow Black Peppa'. Yeah. And that probably puts us at maybe 43 foot. So it's a beast to drive. But I will say though, like having the ability to tow our vehicle behind us has been huge, especially with Azalea. You know, she's only going to be able to spend so much time in a baby seat. And so having her in the bus when we travel we can travel for longer distances. And like when you You're staying in the middle of nowhere. In the bus, you do not want to take the bus to the grocery store. Right? But that would just stop. So having that little venture mobiel is really awesome. Yeah,
Ethan Waldman 15:12
I thinking about it. Just now I was kind of like, how do people do it? If they don't have a vehicle? I guess bicycles? Yeah, walking. It just probably limits how far out from town and from supplies? You can you can be
Juby Maness 15:30
sure some people have motorbikes. And then some people, you know, just pack it up and ride into town and use their home as their vehicle. Yeah, but I mean, it makes more sense for smaller buses, like if you have a short school was, that's probably a little bit more manageable. But for us, like when we set up, we have things we put out on the counter. And like sometimes we work hard to get to the spot that we're poking at. So it can be kind of a nightmare to like, go in and out with the bus. And we only want to do that arrive and when we leave.
Justin Maness 15:58
Yeah. That being said, though, like it's a nice luxury to have, but it can be done. You know, there's plenty of people who don't have that secondary transportation, and they get by just fine. So you know, it just depends on what your priorities are, you know?
Ethan Waldman 16:11
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I was thinking, you know, with the, with the prevalence now of inexpensive e bikes, that could be a great, you know, a great way to do it.
Justin Maness 16:22
Oh, yeah, even those electronic skateboards, too Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 16:25
Boosted boards. Yeah. I don't know how much how many groceries you'll carry home on those. But that's for sure.
Justin Maness 16:35
You'd need a really big. bookbag? Yeah, yeah.
Ethan Waldman 16:39
So it sounds like you, you knew you were pregnant or you you basically built out the bus after you had Azalea. So you didn't have to modify it for a kid or am I wrong on that time?
Juby Maness 16:52
I'm like, in the middle. Yeah. So we were building the bus. And then we found out I was pregnant. And so we sort of made I mean, we knew she was obviously going to be a newborn for like, the first six months to a year, you know, she's kind of still pretty small. So we didn't need like, dedicated space for her. So we kind of just went with the plan that we had originally set out to build. Yeah, she had a like a hanging bassinet I macramed. And then she had that same bassinet, like on the bed on the edge of the bed so that it wasn't unsafe for her as she got older. And then we actually made my closet. Sound so terrible, to me, my closet into her bedroom. And me and him were sharing a really small closet. And then she grew out of that, and we extended the closet. And then she grew out of that. And we did a whole bedroom reno, where we sort of like raised the bed and put her bed underneath. And she has a full sized twin bed underneath our bed. So we kind of have like a bunk bed situation, which also gave us more room in the garage, or storage gave her an entire like space to call her own. And then we have, in a way a bit more privacy because we're sort of like above and she's below in it's more secluded, I guess. Like we have separate rooms in essence. Yeah, so
Justin Maness 18:17
There were a lot of evolutions definitely to have a baby ready. But I mean, that was also kind of a cool aspect of it. Because you just remind yourself that, you know, for what you need, you built it, you can just rip it back out and completely reno it to fit whatever is going on in your life too. And that's what we did. And when you look at her bedroom today, I mean, she's loves it. She has like this little awesome little cave, with a bookshelf inside and like where she keeps her toys. And I mean, it's a pretty cool place for a kid to have a room. And it's also been cool for us. Juby's like the master of design. So she gets to dream up all these ideas that make sense for the space that we have for the bus and make it just kind of fun.
Ethan Waldman 19:02
That's awesome. So you are in Tulum, Mexico right now. How long? How long have you been there and how long are you planning to stay there?
Juby Maness 19:13
We've been here for about two weeks now. And the leave date is sort of like I don't know it keeps changing. It might be the end of January it might be the end of February. Okay, we're going to be going back to North Carolina for his beekeeping season come March and April for a couple months. And we decided to come down to Mexico without the bus we needed sort of an escape. Bus life can be a bit taxing on just so many aspects of living a really happy healthy life if you get really worn out from travel and hygiene and managing you know Wi Fi and all these things that come with the struggles of bus life in reality. So we wanted to stay put somewhere stationary, have long showers don't have to worry about the water tank running out or anything like that. Have internet like endlessly so we can kind of get some work things done. Explore the beaches, get some good weather and adventure and see what sort of real estate might look like down here. Sure, we've been wanting to live potentially overseas where our money can go further and have that as sort of like an escape from, I dunno from other things that we get into throughout the year, and a place that we can kind of go home. So yeah, we're here for a bit just adventuring and enjoying the winter.
Ethan Waldman 20:31
That's awesome. And so did you drive the Jeep down or you flew down and you're renting a place in Tulum?
Juby Maness 20:38
Yeah, we flew down, we actually left the bus and the Jeep in kind of the outskirts of Las Vegas where it was after our trip west. So yeah,
Ethan Waldman 20:48
well, that's exciting. I think it's
Juby Maness 20:50
smaller than a Jeep.
Ethan Waldman 20:53
Yeah, it's, it's always, it's nice to hear that, because, obviously, what we all put out on like, Instagram is very, like, polished. And it's like the, it's the photo. You know, I've done a lot of bicycle touring. And it's like, the photo that you post is at the top of the mountain with a great view. But like, you don't post the photos of like, riding your heavy bicycle for two hours up the mountain, and like falling and skinning your knee and all those things. So it's like good to hear. Like, "Yeah, we needed a break from bus life. And, you know, we wanted to stay put for a little while." But sometimes, when you step away from something like that, you can appreciate it more.
Juby Maness 21:34
Yeah, for sure. I think it's been good for all of us. I think when we were, the idea of traveling in the bus is really magical. And we love the concept. And I think it would be different if it was just the two of us, we'd be able to like travel somewhere, get our work done in the morning, and then adventure all afternoon and get those Instagram photos, you know, but the reality for us is that we have a we have a kiddo who just turned three yesterday. And so it means that like we each have to get work done still in the day, and we still have to travel and we still obviously want to adventure and see the places. So we're trying to like one of us work in the morning while the other one's with Azalea. And then we'll flip flop in the afternoon. And then you know, it's just ends up being like a full day of work. And then when do we visit and adventure? It's sort of, right, that's more of a chore. I feel like to get everyone out the door at the end of the day, when we're all like so tired. So being here in Mexico is like she's at school in the mornings, we're getting things done in the morning. And then in the afternoon, go to the beach, we can go see some snow days and spend time together as a family, which is what we set out to do when it came to bass live. So
Justin Maness 22:38
yeah, but I'm excited to just looking back at some of the videos and pictures that we got from our final adventures in the bus three, four or five weeks ago, looking back on it, it was just so magical and so beautiful. And it was mind blowing to see like, Yeah, we were able to go to those places, park in those areas, and adventure and do these hikes and see all this stuff. Because of the bus life. That was awesome. And I think this break from bus life is gonna be really important for us so that we can go with just sort of a fresh a new fresh approach when we go back to the bus and see more of the West Coast and just kind of be ready for the next adventures that come with it too.
Ethan Waldman 23:16
Yeah, are you planning to make any changes to the bus or to how you how you travel in it?
Juby Maness 23:22
We're always trying to make changes to the bus as far as like runners and stuff on the inside. There's just a lot of things that we can never seem to get around to finishing that need to be updated and changed. So yeah, always and feel like
Justin Maness 23:36
it's always maintenance to like you're always going to be working on something or changing something or fixing something or upgrading something to so
Juby Maness 23:43
that's the wear and tear on the road. Yeah,
Justin Maness 23:45
that's like a forever thing. But um,
Juby Maness 23:47
adventure in the West Coast for sure. We want to go up and down and we haven't been to Oregon or Seattle area. When asked me like Northern California above San Francisco, I've never gone further than that. So I'd love to see
Justin Maness 24:02
up there and barely even scratched the surface. There's so much left so
Juby Maness 24:06
much for sure.
Ethan Waldman 24:08
So yeah, and it seems like you also kind of have punctuated some travel in the bus with with international travel
Juby Maness 24:17
to Iceland. Yeah, that was sort of what kicked off our like, we travel full time now. Life I guess. We put together a partnership with Happy Campers, a van company in Iceland and it was supposed to be a pit stop on the way to visit my family in the UK. So it was going to be like a kind of quick and easy pop over from there. And because of COVID the way things had kind of been shaping up we ended up just going to Iceland and then coming back and see my family later in the year but it was a really amazing trip and it was like definitely it was cool experience for them. It
Justin Maness 24:57
was cool. Yeah definitely made me appreciate all the size we have in our humongous bus. Yeah, the bus for sure. But at the same time, like it's just pros and cons to both sides. I mean driving that thing around in Iceland,
Juby Maness 25:10
though easy. So
Justin Maness 25:11
he go anywhere. So easy to break down and go back up once you're parking too. Not to mention the country in itself. Wow. Like the entire the entire island is like a scene of Lord of the Rings. It's just Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 25:25
Yeah, that's on that's on my wife and I's bucket list for travel for sure.
Juby Maness 25:32
Yeah, definitely would go yes. No doubt. And we were there for 10 days, it felt like not enough to see the country and everything that I had to offer. But in reality, it was more than enough for what we could handle it started to get cold. And with Azalea, again, things are a little bit harder. I felt like we have a little one. And we definitely push it to the limit. Towards the end there.
Justin Maness 25:55
You gotta admit she was a trooper, though.
Juby Maness 25:57
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Ethan Waldman 26:02
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You've mentioned, you've mentioned a couple times and I want to ask you about the kind of the breakdown, pack up kind of routine, like what can you run through like the things that you have to do to set the bus up in a location and then what you have to do to kind of get it back onto the road.
Justin Maness 28:05
Yeah, it's a lot shorter than when we first started.
Juby Maness 28:07
Yeah, we definitely have found ways to kind of cut corners and keep things pre packed where they belong, as opposed to like unpacking
Justin Maness 28:16
pack, you can do the inside of the bus add on. So
Juby Maness 28:19
yeah, that's generally how our system is like I'm inside the bus doing all the kind of little things that are out on the kitchen counter, doing any dishes that may have been left out. We have a Berkey Water Filter, so I used to put that in the sink and then I actually gave away all my plants before we came to Mexico because I didn't know anyone in Vegas to take care of them but I had a lot of little plants so those would all go into the sink as well. The big ones would get moved off the front dash and into the back. We'd have to roll up the front window curtains and put the one curtain that covers the door that we'd go in and out of the bus back on the bed. What else do we do? Oh like latch up all the cupboards and put a ratchet strap over the fridge
Justin Maness 29:02
yeah lucky the fridge
Juby Maness 29:06
it's hard to remember when we're not in the bus you know like in the bus is just like I'm obvious because
Ethan Waldman 29:11
you see at all
Justin Maness 29:13
it's like think of it as like batten down the hatches basically and then for like the outside the engine mainly like checking the engine oil transmission fluid and that's the propane, the propane check the coolant
Juby Maness 29:29
tank is plugged in it's not going to like leak everywhere when we had
Justin Maness 29:33
and then there's like hooking up the Jeep. Yeah, putting the transmission in neutral hooking up the tow bar
Juby Maness 29:39
and then if we've like had to level we've got chocks that we like scoot the bus forward like maybe a foot or two and then collect the chocks but there is a way probably just do a walk around make sure that the like doors on the outside of the bus are like closed properly. You know we talk about it seems like a lot Yeah, close the table on outside make sure like curtains and rugs and chairs and anything that we've like had around the fire appears or collected and put away in the garage, and then check you know, underneath the wheels to make sure there's gonna be nothing that's gonna like pop the tires or anything. It's not that much. It sounds like a lot, but it's like, you're really just like looking and making sure that everything's like fine. Sure. Oh,
Justin Maness 30:21
my God, we're pros at it by now we don't even like look or talk to each other, just like, know exactly,
Juby Maness 30:26
exactly, yeah, Azalea likes to help and all that. So sometimes she's helping do the dishes on the inside, or she's helping, like, put things away on the outside and
Justin Maness 30:35
sometimes dragging everything back out. Yeah.
Juby Maness 30:38
Sometimes she's not helpful at all. Yeah, so
Ethan Waldman 30:43
yeah, there was there's a photo on your Instagram that I was looking at, of kind of the kitchen of the bus, it looks like you hit an earthquake. And just like all the jars of food, everything, just like broken on the floor. What happened there?
Justin Maness 31:00
Oh, man, there was we were at the Gunnin event down in near Alamosa, Colorado. Stellar event. But, you know, over time, with as many people going back and forth on the road, it developed these extremely large divots. And so getting out of there was super dicey, especially for like a large bus like ours. And so
Juby Maness 31:21
well you forgot to mention that there was the divots, and then there was what they call moon dust. So it's like super fine sand there was just like coating the entire ground. So didn't even look like there was divots and also means that like you cannot stop otherwise you will get stuck and like a lot of people had got stuck on the like road going in and out. So the big divots in the sand was just like kind of Yeah, that was a tricky, a tricky combination of problems there.
Justin Maness 31:47
So I did my best, but and we got out in one piece with through all of that like jostling and turning our shelf, the holes, all of our like
Juby Maness 31:58
dry beans and like seeds and stuff that we used
Justin Maness 32:06
to completely ripped off with just all the the jars all over the place. It was intense. But I mean, other than that, though, we came out unscathed. So yeah, we did. Okay, again, the state of that road.
Ethan Waldman 32:19
That's lucky. I'm glad to hear that you made it out with just just with that, you know, not like a mechanical problem. Flat tire like oh my gosh,
Justin Maness 32:29
Ethan Waldman 32:31
So I also read, Justin, that you are a beekeeper? Is that your business that you kind of manage from the road?
Justin Maness 32:41
Yeah, that's it. We got a business back in North Carolina. And we install and maintain beehives right in people's backyards. And beekeeping for me has been something I've been passionate about ever since college when I took my first class. After I graduated, I joined on doing some research, some of the challenges that bees are facing at work for nonprofits and for profits. Now eventually just started my own thing where, you know, we get to install these hives right in people's backyards and use them as like a living laboratory or a teaching tool. Where some people want to learn how to become a beekeeper. Some people just want us to maintain the hive and join in on the inspection so they can learn more. Yeah, but ultimately, we're just trying to like share the magic and art of beekeeping so that people can develop an appreciation and also become pollinator advocates in the community. And so for me, it's a lot a lot of fun. And it's something that I get to do that I'm passionate about.
Ethan Waldman 33:39
Yeah, that's awesome. We've it's more my wife's thing, but we've kept bees a few seasons here in Vermont. We don't currently have anywhere to have bees so we don't have bees at the moment. But it's it's challenging and and rewarding also.
Justin Maness 34:00
Yeah, I mean, we tell a lot of people to that are like looking to get into beekeeping to how challenging it really is, is one of the most beautiful hobbies you can ever do. But man, I can't tell you year after year, how many times I find myself just banging my head on the table trying to figure out how to keep more bees alive, but they're facing a lot of challenges these days. So it's it's tough, man.
Ethan Waldman 34:20
Yeah, yeah, we've not had that much success, like having hives last through the winter. And it's tough when you only have like one or two hives. But I would say a low point for me was one time we rolled up at the tiny house, which is where the bees were. And even though we had like ratchet strapped the whole hive down to the stand there like there are a lot of bears up here. And we did have an electric fence but a some animal got through the fence and knocked the whole hive over, but it was still together and like My wife started to pick it up. And I was like, no, no, we need to put on our bee suits. And we did. And it was like, the bees were really angry, you know, just like lifting up the hive. And it's just like, there are some scary moments there. When you hear the like, pitch of the buzzing change. It gets, like more intense and you're like, they're really angry right now.
Justin Maness 35:23
Yeah, I mean, I can even imagine, you know, where we don't have too much of a bear issues where we be. And also like, your climate is the winters are way more intense there. I talk about particular challenges and things like varroa mites. But yeah, when for you guys, it's even harder. That far up north to
Ethan Waldman 35:42
Yeah, yeah. My understanding is that like, well, our bees usually made it into like, March, even sometimes, April. And that would be the time where it'd be really hard for them, because it's the end of winter, but they're still there still could be snow on the ground. There's no, there's nothing for them to collect at that point.
Justin Maness 36:04
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And that's when, you know, a big risk of like, starvation happens right before spring. Yes. And I mean, and that's kind of what we're here for me with our base in North Carolina, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, it's just like to be able to be there to offer help and guidance and assistance and just show people some of the practices that we use the Yeah, you know, get their hives through the winter and through the season. And what's the name of that business? Yes, it's called Buddha Bee Apiary.
Ethan Waldman 36:33
Justin Maness 36:34
And you can find we've got a website and Instagram and Facebook, when you can look us up, give us a shout.
Ethan Waldman 36:40
Justin Maness 36:41
But yeah, really, we have a team, we have two more people on the ground in North Carolina, really, really proud of the work that they're doing. And I'm excited for what we've got on the docket for next year. So that's awesome. Yeah, it's a lot.
Ethan Waldman 36:54
Another thing that I wanted to ask you about is eating plant based on the road. I also eat plant based and I can imagine that it could be hard when you're traveling to to maintain that, you know, if you're if you're getting hungry, you don't feel like cooking. It can be so tempting to just like stop and get a slice of pizza somewhere. Any any tips or thoughts on on eating plant based from the road?
Juby Maness 37:18
I mean, for us, I guess plant-based still includes pizza, but like not very often, you know, we try not to go that route. But
Justin Maness 37:28
We definitely eat our fair share of pizza.
Ethan Waldman 37:30
I will... Guilty also, I love pizza.
Juby Maness 37:33
Yeah. But like normally, we cook in kind of big batches. And that way we have leftovers and that way, it's just, "Okay, let's just heat something up in the skillet." And then we're ready to go and have a meal that way. We are we try to kind of keep to a certain type of budget that we work with, which just allows us to eat out maybe like once or twice a week. So like, we don't just, you know, swing by the pizza spot unless it's the end of the week, or if it's been a really long travel day. Yeah, just sort of depends also, like all mental states, like sometimes for us, it makes more sense to eat out, but we'll choose healthier choices. Yeah, and get, I normally get like salad type stuff. And you like to get rice bowls and whatnot. And yeah, so
Justin Maness 38:17
I think another thing too, is we were lucky enough to have like an apartment size fridge 9.9 cubic foot in our bus. Okay, and so for us within the space for us to be able to stock up. And it was also helpful going into the grocery store with the right mentality. So, you know, trying to stay away from a lot of those snacky things that aren't so great for you. Yep. And trying to fill the fridge full of fresh fruits and vegetables when you came to a place where you could access that to at a decent grocery store or farmers market. Yeah. So keeping that stuff stocked, and take every opportunity that you can when you come across and have access to it just talk it up because like you said when you're in the middle of nowhere, it can be kind of a pain to find a grocery store find good quality ingredients. Things like that. So
Ethan Waldman 39:06
yeah, yeah and so while you're driving is the fridge just off and you just it's just stays closed and kind of stays cold?
Juby Maness 39:14
um it's actually on
Justin Maness 39:16
Yeah, okay, we upgraded the solar system. So now that we're able to keep it on whenever we're driving to so that's awesome. It's we haven't gone through a winter with the new solar system yet so obviously the winter the sun's lower in the sky so I'm not sure how it does in the winter yet but during the summer, spring, summer and fall, we've got enough energy to supply the refrigerator which also is another like big luxury that helps us to be able to like maintain and keep a lot of food and
Ethan Waldman 39:48
only and and so you've you sell your you have a product which is a cookbook. How did you decide to do a cookbook and how you know Like, are these recipes that you've all developed? While on the road? Are they things that you were cooking before? Like, tell me about the cookbook?
Juby Maness 40:08
Yeah. So for the longest time, I had wanted to make a cookbook. I was raw vegan when I graduated from college way back when, and started just by taking more pictures of food and writing down recipes. And people were curious, I think it was like trendy at that time to kind of explore that type of eating. And so people were curious about, like, what I was eating and how I was making certain things tastes the way I was like making raw lasagna with like zucchini, but still making like a tomato sauce and stuff like that. So yeah, I started like, kind of taking pictures and documenting a little bit more of that. And honestly, nothing came of that for however many years, like seven years, eight years, sort of. So that was just a seed that had been in the back of my mind for the longest time. And we all love cooking at the house. And on our YouTube channel, we had shared a lot of like us cooking at the house and eating certain types of foods. And a lot of people were always asking us, like, what were the recipes. And so eventually, I guess it just kind of came about that when COVID was a thing. And we were homebodies we had more time to like really get into cooking. And yeah, make a lot of the recipes that we had made always at the house as well as like explore making new ones. Take pictures and actually write them out. Because I think we just sort of eyeball and make it taste the way we like. So actually sitting down to measure out all the ingredients and stuff was a big project by that sort of slowly came about. And then I guess it was it just to the beginning of this year that we launched it. I feel like it was. Yeah. So yeah, we finally put a book together, we had a graphic designer reached out to us and she wanted to help make cookbook, it had been like a dream of hers to do a project like that. So that kind of all came about really, really well. And yeah, I don't know. What was the other question? You had like multiple questions in that question?
Justin Maness 41:58
Well, I would say two I'm just really, really proud of this was primarily Juby, leading the way on this project. And I was just really, really proud to see the end result and what she was able to come up with. Not to mention how much fun it was making these recipes, we made loads of terrible recipes - still ate them. We made loads more of even better recipes. And what came out of it all it was I think was a bigger project, either of us and intended for it to be when we first trimmed it up. But at the end of the day, it was really really fun to be able to share that with people and to even like brainstorm on like, version two or version three potentially in the future. Nice. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 42:41
What would you say is your favorite kind of go-to recipe like the recipe that like when you don't have that much time? It's the one that you can cook without thinking about it and like you always have the ingredients.
Justin Maness 42:56
Well, egg and cheese, yeah, egg and cheese,
Juby Maness 42:59
avocado and then like you doctored out with some all kinds of veggie stuff.
Justin Maness 43:07
Well, yeah, that's a good one. You said it doesn't take much time. I immediately went to like the fish tacos or actually the veggie tacos than the ramen. But that takes forever.
Juby Maness 43:17
Yeah, okay. I was thinking about my to the mac and cheese is always a good one just to have it the house but you have to have like a blender and then you got to roast or I guess you can saute it but
Justin Maness 43:27
butternut squash. Popsicles are pretty fast.
Juby Maness 43:30
I mean, you gotta wait for this to freeze I mean, the smoothies are always like an easy go to like we always have the freezer. And like those are always quick and easy. And you know, everybody enjoys a good smoothie. You know
Justin Maness 43:48
what the ramen? I just gotta go with the ramen. It's gonna take you years, but it's so worth it. So. Okay. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 43:56
Well, I'm excited to pick up a copy of the cookbook. And I can't remember where I saw but you do have a coloring book coming out soon.
Juby Maness 44:07
Yeah, I'm working on this winter like a sort of like a meditational journal like workbook, I again, have these drawings that I made from forever ago that I never put to good use. And I Well, I'd use them for like screen prints and stuff for my old business on T shirts and whatnot. But I had just never really done anything with them. So for the longest time, I've had also this coloring book kind of idea in my head and I struggled a lot with depression and sadness and sort of like a loss of my way and whatnot. And so I wanted to put together like certain affirmations, intentions and positive kind of journal work book, like activities incorporated into the book. So it's sort of gonna be Yeah, like, a way for you to sit down and kind of encourage you to journal more and just sit with yourself and kind of be present and coloring has like a good aspect of being more mindful of in the moment, as well as like stimulating your creativity and your brain and whatnot. So all of that kind of comes into play. So, yeah, I'm hoping to have that ready for spring of next year, same sort of timeline as the cookbook, because it's nice to have a project to do over winter. Yeah. So yeah, we're working with the same graphic designer to kind of put that together and hopefully have that ready for sometime next year. And obviously, since it's a coloring book, it would just be hardcopy, and then maybe eventually, like, PDF downloads of the individual coloring pages. But for now, yeah, it's just going to be the coloring book.
Ethan Waldman 45:35
Awesome. That sounds cool. Yeah. Well, one thing that I like to ask all my guests is, you know, what are two or three resources that have helped you along the way that you'd like to share with our listeners, these could be books that inspire you YouTube channels that helped you with the bus build really anything?
Juby Maness 45:59
Um, there's so many Yeah, I feel like we're so I'm really bad at remembering like specific names off by heart, I know that we have a huge library that we have a lot of the books on our Amazon affiliate store, literally some of our favorite books that we love to read to do with like gardening and horticulture, as well as like, sustainable living, tiny house living. And there's a couple of like quirky books on there to do with, like, Alternative Living, you know, that's like in buses and boats, and all kinds of different kinds of structures that really were inspirational resources for us, whenever we were first building the bus out and just kind of trying to figure out what direction we were going to go. I hate that I don't have any of the names for you. But there's, there's just too many, I feel like to choose one in particular.
Justin Maness 46:47
Yeah, in terms of like YouTube channels, we watched a lot of other like bus life and Van life. And you could probably name some of the channels that we watch. I mean,
Juby Maness 46:57
there's, well, they're not doing us build projects or anything like that anymore. It's tough, because like, when we first got into it, I feel like it was a trendy lifestyle, you know, and so there was like a ton of resources that were like people creating in that moment about bills and Van life and stuff. But now people are like just sharing more about their travels and living on the road and whatnot. So it's different type of content you see online, but the struggle, the Gus the Struggle Bus, they have been building their bus for like, I don't even know how long and they're putting a lot of love into, which is amazing. So we started kind of building the same time it's them, and they're still plugging away at their bus build. So they saw incontinence, like in the moment for the build. And who's that other couple that we used to watch. They're not together anymore. They they also don't make their YouTube channel anymore, but we used to watch them.
Justin Maness 47:51
Just think of Sailing La Vagabonde Yeah,
Juby Maness 47:53
those guys are inspirational because they have a kid and we can kind of relate a little bit to them and their struggles of traveling and being on I guess the water, not the road. But
Justin Maness 48:03
yeah, I've also got a book too, that we read really frequently called Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. And that's more so less so much like Tiny House related as much as it would be like mentality for us. Like we find ourselves picking it up. It's like on the kitchen table. And whatever we're starting the day off, it's nice to do a quick reading there. And it's more so like stories and just like reminders of like, how to approach life to remember to take a slow, being positive, go easy on yourself, allow yourself to grow. It's those kind of concepts. And for me, and I think for you too, I mean, I think it's something that we really appreciate to keep our mind on track and keep a positive mentality. Day in and day out.
Ethan Waldman 48:44
Nice. Nice. Thank you. That's, that looks like a really nice book. I'm going to check that out. Well, Justin and Juby, thank you so much for being guests on the show today. I really enjoyed kind of delving into your to your lifestyles, and it was great to meet you both.
Juby Maness 49:01
Yeah. And no doubt it was good to chat. And I guess share more.
Justin Maness 49:05
It was a pleasure. We appreciate you having us on and letting us share our story. Yeah.
Ethan Waldman 49:10
Thank you so much to Justin and Juby for being guests on the show today. You can find the show notes including a complete transcript and links to Justin and Juby's YouTube channel and Instagram and lots of photos at thetinyhouse.net/193. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/193. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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