They Call It Skooliepalooza

What do you call a group of bus dwelling nomadic hippies partying in the desert? They call it Skooliepalooza.

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At the end of Janurary a temporary desert city pops up from the sands on the Arizona/California border. They call it Skoolipalooza. A ragtag collection of intentional wanderers, professional nomads, and freedom chasers congregate for a week of comradrary, festivities, and celebrations of life. We were fortunate enough to attend this year’s event and we have to say it is one of the most memorable events of our past year on the road.

This city, built by buses and vans, RV’s and tents, offers its residents a community of similarities and opportunities to build new relationships or reunite with old ones. One dusty main drag and a few “streets” were lined with about 250 nomads at its peak. Friends we’ve made along the way came in one by one and each new arrival brought new excitement to those already there. Most of all it was a great way to finally meet some of our Instagram connections and add more stickers to our bumper. We sticker trade with other nomads when we meet.

During the day the sun baked us all, but also provided the solar charge for our homes. Boondocking at its greatest. I guess now would be a good time to clean our solar panels from all the dust.

The temps stayed in the mid 70s for a few days but it was breezy enough to keep the heat away for most of the day.

On most days the gentle hum of diesel motors ideling as the sun made its way toward the horizon could be heard at some of the their owners charging solar or bus batteries. Everyone would then head off to watch Mother Nature paint another gorgeous sunset for us from roof top decks and camp chair rings.

“There is something about all of this that is absolutely weird and crazy, but it all makes sense”.

The desert does not disappoint with a setting sun. Every evening we were washed over in beautiful sky that transitioned from blue to bright orange reflecting on the clouds, and mesmerized us with sillouettes of mountain ranges that surrounded our campsite. 

For the first few nights we meandered from campfire to campfire but we found “our tribe” to chill with and spent the rest of the week with them huddled around our own fire. 

Walking around talking with the owners of these beautiful homes on wheels it made me feel like its a collection of people all doing the same thing so uniqely different. Our homes reflect our personalities. Those that came out here have built homes with intention and purpose in their own special ways. Someone who came in to look at Skoolie layouts for his own future build said to me, “There is something about all of this that is absolutely weird and crazy, but it all makes sense”.

“We’re all feral”

“We’re all feral” a kid screamed at me. He was covered in the desert dust and banging rocks together on the ground. It was absolutely hysterical to me when he said it. There were a group of kids, a variety of ages, running around together. All day, every day, up until bedtime. They were labeled the “Lord of the Flies kids”.

There were a few kids who were young hustling entrepeneurs, trying to sell geodes and crystals they had found and even some “Pixie Dust” which was really just sand from two rocks being rubbed together by a 4 year old girl. It must be an interesting childhood to live with nomadic parents, homeschooled or unschooled, living and learning, being a kid in nature. We applaud the travelling families.

Skooliepalooza wasn’t just for families, there were plenty of young and older couples without kids there too. The “under 35 without kids” group is well represented within the Skoolie community. And for anyone wondering Skooliepalooza is absolutely animal friendly with dogs and cats everywhere and even a pair of goats, snakes, and a parrot present.

As the week came to an end buses and vans started returning to their wanderings and nomadacy. The city shrank and we watched as dust trails from those heading out billowed from under their rolling homes. Safe Travels Amigos.

If you find yourself in the desert in the beginning of 2021 we will hopefully see you there.