The Bus Journals other

Chapter 1: The First Bus

The First Bus
Em in the grey hat, me in the red.

Em’s entire body is made of light sometimes. It’s this enormous, blinding light that hypnotizes you into doing strange and dangerous things that most people would frown upon, or at least that’s the excuse I’m going with. I’m not too sure how else I can explain why a year ago I decided to go splits with her on the cost of a short school bus that we were going to turn into a tiny home… read more


As two men carry money past the French border, one of them stops to wave goodbye

Chapter 2: Ca$h Money, Baby

I was nervous walking into the bank. While I wasn’t sure what would happen, I had a feeling something would. Alarms would go off or I’d be arrested by a secret police officer who I hadn’t noticed despite his obviously-fake mustache… read more



Chapter 3: The First Bolt

Em and I stood under the heavy sun and looked at the real-life short school bus we’d just spent $4,600 on and knew we were fucked… read more


Paint 1Chapter 4: Midnight Paint Job

We had to wait until the sun was low before we could start painting our bus. The smarter thing would have been to wait for a cooler day, but our bus had been at the mechanic’s for two weeks now, and it didn’t look like it would be ready anytime soon… read more


Amputation of the LegChapter 5: Building Will Be Difficult If You’re Afraid of Power Tools

“This baby can do real damage if you don’t handle it correctly,” the tiny man on Em’s phone said. He was holding a circular saw the size of a toaster and was going over where to put your hands and how to lift the safety guard… read more


PlansChapter 6: Making It

I shivered in the hardware store’s air conditioning and handed an old receipt to a man who worked in the lumber section. The man was in his fifties, a little bald, and a little fleshy like someone who had been lightly poached… read more



Chapter 7: Wheels on the Real-Life Road

Em flicked on the four-way flashers and waved to me out the bus’s window. I was in our car following closely behind. We’d driven about 500m, and I wasn’t surprised that there was already a problem… read more


A crowned skeleton symbolizing Death sits pensively on a globe, holding an arrowChapter 8: Frank is Dead

It was a sunny Sunday in June, 2019, six days before Em and I were supposed get married. We were planning on showing off our bus to our friends and family at the wedding reception. The only problem was that our bus was at a welder’s half an hour away, and there was a chance the welder was dead… read more


PECChapter 9: Welcome to Cartoon World

Everything felt like a story book, and it was hard to make sense of anything. I knew that one day I’d die and my flesh would separate from my bones and my bones would turn to a fine white powder that was absorbed by the earth, but everything seemed impossible right now, Em, my brother, and the field of flowers in front of me… read more


Two owls are sitting on a branch as two sprite creatures sneak behind them to steal hats

Chapter 10: If Strangers on the Internet Can Do It…

For the past year and a half, our motto had been if strangers on the internet can do it, we can, too, only the dangers were different now. We’d parked our bus in downtown Quebec City and were following advice we’d found on a forum that said it was easy to sleep for free, undetected in your vehicle… read more


Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 10.31.32 AMChapter 11: Em and Me and the Deer

We were supposed to be happy now. We’d made it to Parc National de la Jacques Cartier just outside of Quebec City, and we were supposed to go on hikes and swim in rivers and see green, green, green for as far as we could see, only there was still something wrong with us… read more


IMG_3632Chapter 12: Night One in the River of Wolves

The sun dropped behind the mountains and the sky began to fill with pink like the world’s largest neon sign had broken open and was leaking these gorgeous chemicals over everything, and everything would have been perfect like the last scene in a movie, only we were speeding down the highway, trying to get to some ferry terminal we’d read about online before it was too dark to see anything… read more


IMG_3649 (1)Chapter 13: The First Bad Night

For two nights, everything went the way it was supposed to, Rivière-du-Loups and then a wharf in Mirimachi where there were public toilets and designated places for RV parking and a couple walking their pet pig, and then we were in Saint-Edouard-de-Kent, a town just south of Mirimichi, and nothing was how it was supposed to be… read more


A castle is ablaze and from the flames the figure of a horse takes shape against the skyChapter 14: We Tried to Light the Sky on Fire

“Do it, do it, do it,” we chanted, the words building up in our chests and pouring out our mouths. We were mesmerized by the fire and the darkness, the salt from the ocean and the need for destruction.

“Do it, do it, do it,” we said over and over, and eventually, Duncan did… read more



Chapter 15: We Have to Sell the Bus

I don’t think there was an eerie breeze or scary music playing or anything, but maybe there should have been. It would have been good to have some sort of natural phenomenon to warn us that the woods were not a place to enter into unprepared, and that the forest would break us if we let it… read more


Chapter 15 Part 2: The Mountains are Trying to Kill Us

Away to the mountains

I stood at the base of the steep, steep mountain that Em and I had just hiked 6km down, and I felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t in weeks. The cool ocean breeze dried the sweat on my skin, and the waves crashed into a little cove where we’d be camping that night. We were totally fucked and at risk of dying, but we didn’t know it yet. In that moment, everything felt perfect… read more


A dive for life.

Chapter 16: Go Back to Wyoming, Patricia

I don’t know if her name actually was Patricia, but she looked like a Patricia, “goes by Trish.” She was in her late forties, with hair that looked like it could have been a dog wig, and she was on this whale watching tour with her husband and her parents and Em and me… read more


Two satyresses are gamboling on a grassy pond bank among wild flowers and shrubsChapter 17: The Wild and Untamable Night

It had seemed like a pilgrimage, some ancient sojourn back to our ancestors, two-hundred-thousand years of homo sapiens surviving in the wilds and the connections they had with nature and the world around them.

We had followed streams and gathered food, and now we would die like our ancestors, too, overcome by the wilds and with no one around to hear us scream… read more


Chapter 18: A Quest Across the Empty Ocean

We were at the eastern edge of the Bay of Fundy, famed for having the highest tides in the world. 160 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay twice a day, and that’s cool and awe inspiring and whatever else, but it isn’t the most convenient when you’re trying to show someone a good time at the beach.



Chapter 19: Death on the Precipice Trail

Fear doesn’t always have the same smell, but it usually has a smell. This time it was metal and salt and something too earthy to be palatable. I looked up at Em, climbing 3m above me, and then down at where we’d come from. We were halfway up a mountain on the almost-vertical Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park, and there was no turning back. We’d passed three signs on the way up saying this was a one-way trail, meaning that if I ever wanted to grow old with my genderless children, I’d have to climb this motherfucking mountain.


Chapter 20: The Time we Met a Monkey

I hope you like animals because there are like a million here, my friend Emily texted me.

“What animals do they have?” Em asked.

“I don’t know, like two cats and a dog?”

HooksChapter 21: When We Became Forest Women

For a second, we were absolutely still. The bus motor was still running, and Em was still in the driver’s seat, and I was still outside, the rain coming down through the trees in fat cold drips, soaking my hair and sliding down my forehead while my shoes sank farther into the mud.

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