We had the good fortune of connecting with Devin O’Dell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devin, how do you think about risk?
Risks are definitely one of the key things that I think about in a different way to that of my peers. I like risks, because the idea of risks that is generally taught and accepted in our society seems backwards to me. When we first decided to really dive head first in to buslife, and in to building buses for clients, acting, or whatever jobs came at us, Breanna was initially terrified at giving up our comfortable jobs and taking this “risk”. I sat her down and asked her what risks we were actually taking. We had almost no debt. So, if absolutely everything fell apart what would really happen? They couldn’t take our home (the bus) or our cars because we owned them. In fact, I told here that I could get a job at McDonalds if I needed to and that would have been more than enough to afford our monthly expenses. So, there might have been a percieved risk, but if you play that scenario out to it’s worst version, what could actually happen? And the answer was nothing. That’s a practice that Bre and I do often. We take a scary or risky situation and go over it as if the worst possibilities become the reality, and it’s almost always just fine in the end.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure where we fit in to the constantly changing landscape of entrepreneurship. Everything that we’re doing now was to solve the problem of being tied down and told how we were going to live our lives. So, we just listened to ourselves instead. I took a risk, and am still currently taking that risk, so that I could tell my story, my way.
In this past year alone, I’ve worked as an Actor, converted a bus in to a tiny home for a client, and have spent quite a bit of time growing our YouTube and Instagram pages. Both the acting and client build stemmed from our small YouTube presence. The right people found me and liked what I was doing. No matter how late you think you are to the game, put yourself out there. That was a really important lesson I got from posting to YouTube. It doesn’t matter how bad you think it is, if what you’re doing is quality content, then the right people will find you. From those early videos I’ve now had more than 50 people reach out to ask for their own builds, and more than that ask to buy the build we currently live in.
When I first started building my bus, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I just love to learn, and I’m completely ok with failing. It was very common for me to build something, think it was trash, and then tear it apart just to build it again. I had to be really comfortable being honest with myself and understanding that you never start anything as an expert. Over the course of the next 2 years I got better and better.
Another hard lesson I learned during this process was that if you really want to go your own direction and do things your way, it takes a LOT of work. I mentioned that it took me 2 years to build my first bus. That probably seems like a long time, and that’s because it is. I was working up to 60 hours a week at a very unfulfilling job, and then going to school full-time online for IT. That left me with 1 day a week for the first year. I also spent my 2 weeks of vacation building out the bus that first year as well. Dedication and hard work were key components, but I also had to realize that I couldn’t go on like that forever, and only continued because I knew there was an expiration date on how long I’d have to keep pushing myself like that. Honestly, that was one of the most stressful points of my life. It caused plenty of fights because my wife and I, but we agreed to keep going and we finally crossed the finish line. That finish line keeps moving to a new point for us, but we just keep pushing foward to whatever new goals we set for ourselves.
I don’t need to be rich, I just need to be happy and know that I’m doing everything I possibly can to make things that I’m proud of.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We actually do have a friend flying in soon and we can’t wait to experience AZ with her! That has to be what I love most about AZ as someone who loves the outdoors. Sure, you can hit the natural wonders like Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon, but you can also just pick a direction and start walking and find natural beauty all around you. Arizona has done an incredible job of maintaining the wild west feel, while making sure everyone still has access to the land.
We absolutely love the outdoors. It’s a huge part of why we chose to live bus life and travel in a bus full time. Another beautiful thing about Arizona is it’s combination of city life with outdoor adventures. You can literally do everything right in Phoniex. You could spend your day hiking insane trails, and 30 minutes later you can be at whatever type of restaraunt your heart desires. Best of both worlds. It may be one of the few places that you don’t have to chose between being a city person, or an outdoors person, and we love it.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Finding your community on your journey is one of the most important support systems you could ever be apart of. From my wife embracing and falling in love with this lifestyle, to our beatiful families who supported us from the get go, there are so many reasons why we’ve been able to arrive in the spot we find ourselves today. There was never any pressure on us to become anything specific, and that let us truly become what we wanted. We’re still figuring out where that journey is going to take us, but we’ve got a great feeling for what’s to come.
Ask every question. Talk to every person. Someone always knows something that you don’t. If I’m being honest, I’d say that everyone I’ve had an in depth conversation with has been a mentor of sorts. You can learn so much from people, even if it’s learning how NOT to do something.