America’s long isolation began last year with the coronavirus pandemic, as many were advised to stay in their homes or avoid crowded spaces. But as the rest of the country seemed to slow to a halt, one family chose to set out on an adventure.
Kansas resident Adam Damiano, 41, arrived in Lake Havasu City this weekend, aboard a school bus converted to house his family of five. According to Damiano, Havasu’s one of the more scenic stops on their cross-country journey.
For Damiano and his wife, traveling is nothing new. Long before their current adventure, they taught English in South Korea and Japan. According to Damiano, they share a nomadic spirit that they are now sharing with their children.
Damiano is a project manager for an IT marketing company, and says he often works remotely. With his children sent home from school during the pandemic last March, he and his wife saw an opportunity to show them a side of the country that few people get to see.
“We decided to hit the road,” Damiano said. “We stayed in a few Airbnbs, and invested in a bus in November. It was delivered to us while we were in Oregon, and we spent about 25 days converting it.”
That bus rested at the parking entrance to Windsor Beach at Lake Havasu State Park on Monday. The former school bus is now labeled in lettering across its interior as “The Kaja Project.”
“’Kaja’ is the Korean term for ‘let’s go’,” Damiano said. “And that’s kind of been our lifestyle. This bus is an ongoing project, and its construction has evolved to suit our life on the road.”
The vehicle’s interior had been remodeled to provide a bedroom, kitchenette and living area for the family on their travels across the country.
“We hit the road in our bus after the New Year, and traveled south from Oregon,” Damiano said. “This is our first time in Havasu. It’s nice … we picked a good time to be here.”
According to Damiano, modifications to the vehicle have made it far easier for his family to live “off the grid.” The vehicle has been outfitted to be completely solar-powered, and a 240-gallon freshwater tank has allowed the family to isolate when necessary.
“The pandemic felt like an opportune time to do what we’ve always done, and it’s been a good experience for the kids,” Damiano said. “They’re learning every day, and they’re seeing more than many kids their age ever get to see.”
Damiano says that from Havasu, the family will travel southeast through New Mexico and Texas along the Mexican border in the near future.