A once debt-ridden couple from Jacksonville, Florida have completely transformed their lives; hitting the road after paying off the money they owed.
Will and Kristin Watson met at work in 2013, and quickly realised they shared the same spirit of adventure. They married in 2018, both sharing a dream of travelling the world full-time, without the weight of debts around their necks.
Incredibly, Will, 31, and Kristin, 29, were able to make this dream a reality; taking their baby daughter Roam (see what did there) and their pet dog Rush along for the ride.
Check out more about these real-life Wild Thornberrys below:
The couple both travelled plenty with work, but knew they wanted more than corporate trips. And so they began looking at old buses which they could then renovate together and make their very own roving home.
After finding the perfect vehicle for $8,000 (£6,257), Will sold an old truck of his own to pay for the new dream machine – an ex-military bus in Utah they would go on to christen Juan.
Creative video company owner Will said:
We looked at a handful of different busses, but all had issues and weren’t very well kept. In the end we found an ex-military bus online located in Layton, Utah, which is about 2,000 miles away from Florida. We bought for £6,257 ($8,000) and we called our bus Juan.
I sold an old truck for it and we also paid down about £18,627 ($24,000) worth of debt before moving on-board. We wanted to have the freedom to live this kind of lifestyle. We could have done it with debt but wouldn’t have felt ‘free’ and didn’t want to be dictated [by] what we could do or where we go.
Knowing they wanted to be debt-free before they embarked on their travels, the pair also managed to pay off £18,627 ($24,000) worth of debt, allowing them to feel a true sense of ‘peace and security’.
After making their purchase, the Watsons set about renovating the bus, a process which went smoothly until they found out Kristin was pregnant in January 2018 – throwing an unexpected ‘curve ball’ in their path.
In January 2018 we were about five months into our renovations and we unexpectedly found out that Kristin was pregnant.
It was a little bit of a curve ball. Neither of us had planned on having any children, but we knew this was a miracle baby and was meant to be. After the initial shock set in, we were very excited to welcome our little one into the world.
We had already met so many other families living on busses and vans with multiple kids and we thought ‘if they can do it, so can we’.
Not continuing with our journey was never in our minds. I was fortunate to get a lot of help from my dad so Kristin could rest during renovations.
In September 2018, little Roam was born, with the Watsons moving onto the bus as a family in April 2019.
Since their journey began, the Watson clan have travelled over 16,000 miles from Florida Keys, up the east coast and right up to Nova Scotia, Canada.
Despite having to ensure rest stops every few hours so Roam could eat and crawl around, the Watsons are happy with their new life, with Kristen describing Roam as being the ‘perfect baby’ for the trip.
Kristin has given the following encouragement to others thinking of taking their youngsters on a similar adventure:
I know it can seem scary to take your baby places that aren’t technically baby friendly. I know it’s a hard choice to live a life with a baby that doesn’t fit the ‘norm’, but something we have realised in the last year is that babies are incredibly adaptable and they want to experience the same things as you,
No, she might not always like her car seat, and she definitely doesn’t like her life jacket, but she loves hanging out with us and seeing new things. Yes, the meltdowns do come, but they’re never as bad as you might imagine.
On a final note, remember that someone else’s reality does not have to be your own. If you really want something you can have it. You just have to work for it and believe it’s possible. We are living proof of that. Now go get it.
Going forward, the family have begun heading back towards Florida to escape the winter cold, documenting their journey via social media.
No doubt they will inspire countless other parents with itchy feet to consider the possibility of bringing up a baby on the road.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.