Tonic Write Up!
‘Love, the Bus’: Community, Companionship and a Cool Set of Wheels
Ah, the cross-country road trip. A post-collegiate, pre-real world, summer trip spent with friends. It’s carefree, bittersweet and far from uncommon.
Lincolnville, Maine natives Corey McLean, Seth Brown, and Tyler and Silas Dunham are lifelong friends who are after just that experience. In a decommissioned school bus, no less. And with a twist.
“Tyler came to us after he learned that after 10 years or 10,000 miles, school buses are decommissioned and sold. And we thought, that would make for a pretty sweet road trip,” Corey explains.
But after one of the guys decided to spend an extra year in school in order to travel, the remaining three friends had to put the idea on hold. Along the way, it grew into something much bigger: “Love, The Bus.”
“We realized that we wanted to have a lot of fun, but also do something good, too,” Tyler says.
This summer, the four young men will journey across the country in a converted school bus that runs on waste vegetable oil. They’ll also complete daily and weekly challenges to help raise money for local charities and nonprofit organizations. Their weekly route will be predetermined, but everywhere in between will be decided by viewers of the webisodes they’ll be filming along the way.
The daily challenges will be selected from viewer posts on their Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages, and will take between 10 and 24 hours to complete. The longer it takes, the more money will be raised for that viewer’s chosen local nonprofit.
“For example, we see a post on Facebook telling us that we have 10 hours to build a raft to cross the Mississippi River,” Corey says. “Or, another one asking us to choreograph a dance in the middle of a town square, and get 100 people from the town to join in. Whatever charity the viewer suggests is where the money would go. For example, the local food pantry.”
It’s very similar to MTV’s bucket list celebration The Buried Life, in which four male friends travel around the country completing outlandish dares and dreams. The Love, the Bus guys are hoping to make the same inspirational impact, but also to leave behind some cold hard cash at each stop.
Their journey will be posted on the weekly webisodes, allowing the show to take place nearly in real-time and to be influenced by its viewers. The friends debated pitching their show to television studios, but ultimately decided against it.
“The web is a lot easier to do ourselves. Plus, Internet media is the medium of the future,” says Corey. ”Plus, we can pretty much document what’s actually happening here and now,” adds Tyler.
Using the website Kickstarter, “The Lincolnville Boys” — as they refer to themselves — have already raised over $13,000 for their journey. They are also currently working on getting corporate sponsorships to match it.
The friends credit their small-town upbringing, and each of their own personal studies in business, film and media technology with giving them the confidence to get out there and start giving back.
“We really want to create an enjoyable way for us, and for others, to get involved in good causes,” Corey says. “I think it helps to be a little flashy to get people’s attention. We’re hoping that in the long run it will allow us to raise more money, meet more people, share more stories and have a greater impact than holding local fundraisers.”
And their name? ”It’s based on the premise of a thank you card. The idea is that by doing a challenge we are giving something back,” Tyler explains.
It’s a simple, but straight-forward, personal signature: Love, The Bus.
To donate to Love, The Bus, or to keep up with their adventure, visit the website at lovethebus.tv.