Photo taken by Carrie Cleveland, January 2016

Photo taken by Carrie Cleveland, January 2016

THE CREW

Hello!  We are the Trattner's, Amanda, Joe and our beloved furry baby Maho.  We are lovers of life and all things unexpected.  Hence the reason for living in a school bus ;)  Thinking outside of the box is a niche of ours and we each bring unique experiences and interests to The Simple Bus Life project.  As a team, we can accomplish pretty much anything we put our hearts into!  We own 2 businesses The St. Thomas Sport and Social Club and One Love Charters, both based in St. Thomas U.S.V.I.  We live and work together in our dream tiny home and still haven't killed each other ;) and wouldn't have it any other way.  

While the vision was originally ours, The Simple Bus Life project would not have been possible without the help of friends and family members. We definitely have a higher power looking over us because the stars could not have aligned any better for us.  This project would not have been possible without the help of our good friend and construction mentor Dan Cleveland of Meat and Potatoes Carpentry, our friends Nick Vanassche and Kerstin McConnell from SeaGlass Properties St. Thomas, Brad Spernak from ProSolar Systems VI,  Barkley Kenton of Allscape Landscaping in Manchester, CT and a magnitude of friends who helped lend a hand or came by to give us advice or just support us during the project.  Words can not express the gratitude we have for being a part of such an awesome community of people in St. Thomas.  Stay tuned for Blog updates and more details on how each of these groups helped us out in tremendous ways. 


JOE 


 Jojo working on building screens.  Got to keep the Zika away from the family!    Favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:    Being completely self-sufficient.  We absolutely love the creative aspect of building a home all by ourselves from scratch we know every nook and cranny of our home and it's inner-workings. Nothing beats it.    Least favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:  Tiny house politics...will expand upon more later. 

Jojo working on building screens.  Got to keep the Zika away from the family! 

Favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:   Being completely self-sufficient.  We absolutely love the creative aspect of building a home all by ourselves from scratch we know every nook and cranny of our home and it's inner-workings. Nothing beats it. 

Least favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living: Tiny house politics...will expand upon more later. 

Meet Joe:

The Resident Carpenter, Maintenance Man, & Valhalla Mule

Joe Trattner here, tiny house and sustainable living is absolutely a dream come true. Originally from the Chicago area, I graduated college and went to work right away in the corporate world.   I felt like I was more or less "going through the motions of life."  After 3 years of having fluorescent lights burn a hole in my soul; I knew that I had to get out.  I told my friends and family that "this way of life, basically sucks" and I was going to search for new opportunities in the US Virgin Islands.

Upon moving to the VI my love for life was instantly renewed.  I started with a job crewing on a sailing catamaran, fell in love with a super hot chick, and began creating a life for the two of us in the Virgin Islands. Business ownership and now tiny homeownership in the Virgin Islands is what I've dreamed of since I first saw the ocean.  

I wasn't exactly the handiest of people when I moved to the VI, but I now own a lot of power tools, landscaping machines, and a tool belt that's starting to show some wear and tear.  The overwhelming support my wife and I have received is truly special, and we love you all more than you can know.  

Igniting a global passion for sustainability and self-reliance is a huge focus for me.  We feel our building/living practices are a good thing for the environment, and sharing what we've learned in hopes of educating others on a different way of life is our motivation for spreading the good news about The Simple Bus Life project with you.


AMANDA 


 Amanda and Maho getting ready to take apart some pallets, hence Amanda's nickname and secret love for "pallet crushing."    Favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:   There is something so freeing about living in a tiny off the grid house.  Your soul can truly connect to nature and the important people in your life.  I love the experience of building / designing with my husband.  I even love the arguments we get in on the bus, they end very quickly!  Which means that bus life has brought us closer together as a family.          Least favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:   Having to worry about losing our home.  The rich folk want us out!  We just want to live a simple life NO DRAMA PEOPLE.     

Amanda and Maho getting ready to take apart some pallets, hence Amanda's nickname and secret love for "pallet crushing." 

Favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:  There is something so freeing about living in a tiny off the grid house.  Your soul can truly connect to nature and the important people in your life.  I love the experience of building / designing with my husband.  I even love the arguments we get in on the bus, they end very quickly!  Which means that bus life has brought us closer together as a family.       

Least favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:  Having to worry about losing our home.  The rich folk want us out!  We just want to live a simple life NO DRAMA PEOPLE.    

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Meet Amanda:

The Resident Social Butterfly, Pallet Crusher & Jojo's Right Hand Wo-Man

We are the Trattner's, the mighty mighty Trattner's.  Everywhere we...Ooops sorry, I just got caught up in a flashback from my brief cheerleading career in my hometown of Manchester CT, circa 1993...

Back to the good stuff, I'm Amanda Trattner, I grew up outside of Hartford, Connecticut in a 2200 square foot Cape style home.  We were an extremely close-knit family and often found ourselves congregating around my parent's kitchen.  We like cozy, small spaces and often times various rooms of our home were not even utilized except for on "special occasions."  We spent a lot of time outside as a family and my parents instilled in us a love for the environment, gardening, hiking and all things natural.  As a child (and still today) Laura Ingalls Wilder, from theLittle House On The Prairie was my idol!  (Bare with me here, with the website building, blogging, Instagram etc. is all very new to this prairie girl).    

Growing up I was fortunate enough to have an uncle who lived in St. Thomas and visited the Virgin Islands often during our summer breaks.  My uncle would take us camping and out on his boat to the British Virgin Islands to meet with other islanders.  The simple natural aspects of the way that people lived in the islands really resonated with me and proved that you don't actually need a whole lot to be happy.  After I graduated from college I worked for a year in my field of Social Services but the islands were still calling for me.  I returned to St. Thomas in June of 2008 and feel like I made the best decision ever.  

Meeting Joe in June of 2010 was the icing on the cake.  We met, fell in love and started our life in the VI very quickly.  Here we are today with the most amazing canine companion, two businesses, a tiny house and a tiny human on the way.  Life doesn't get any better than this! 


MAHO 


 Maho splashing around at Platform Beach, Magen's Bay St. Thomas, VI    Favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:   I absolutely love my freedom to roam and being able to let myself out to go to the bathroom. I also love to hang out in my 144 square foot dog house.  My parents think it's for their "barn" for storage but it's really my clubhouse.  My friends like it too.  We have secret dog meetings in it.     Least favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:     I dislike it the most when my parents have to leave to go to work.  I wish they could hang out with me all the time in this paradise. Sometimes when Dad trims the grass it gets my allergies going, but it's ok because I have a nice place to play and do my business.  

Maho splashing around at Platform Beach, Magen's Bay St. Thomas, VI 

Favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:  I absolutely love my freedom to roam and being able to let myself out to go to the bathroom. I also love to hang out in my 144 square foot dog house.  My parents think it's for their "barn" for storage but it's really my clubhouse.  My friends like it too.  We have secret dog meetings in it.  

Least favorite part about tiny house / off the grid living:  I dislike it the most when my parents have to leave to go to work.  I wish they could hang out with me all the time in this paradise. Sometimes when Dad trims the grass it gets my allergies going, but it's ok because I have a nice place to play and do my business.  

Meet Maho:

The Resident Guard Dog, Protector & All Around Helper Of Anyone In Need

Hello, I'm Maho, my parent's tell me that I'm "the luckiest Pitbull on the de Rock," and I would have to agree!  I have free reign of the yard and bus, it's like I’m the ruler of my own kingdom.  Of course, I’d rather be with my parents but there are “those times” that I have to “stay and protect the bus.” 

I don’t mean to pat myself on the back but let's just say I do a great job of keeping the riffraff, aka the iguanas away from Valhalla. Mom and dad appreciate this because they dig up the yard and eat up our garden.  

Did you hear that my parent's put in grass for me?!  I'm talking REAL green grass!  I'm not sure if you are aware of this or not, but grass is pretty rare in the Caribbean.  I love to run around the yard with my friends and roll around in the grass.  

My best furry friend's name is Rorschach.  She is deaf and I have taken up the job of being her hearing assistant. When not on duty, I enjoy going to the beach with Rorschach and other furry friends and long walks down Peterborg Point.  I am looking forward the most to the human that is growing inside of my mom right now. Babysitting is my ultimate favorite past time.  


FUTURE BABY TRATTNER 


We Can't Wait To Introduce The Newest Member of our Family!  Resident moocher for now ;) Stay tuned for Bus Baby updates...

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The first baby Trattner will be making it's debut in early November 2016.  We are so excited to bring our baby home to the bus! 


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