Some unusual visitors made their way around the streets of Scioto County this past week. A group of Rainbow kids, a goat and a puppy made their way across the county in old green school bus that is not only their home but the vehicle to their tour around the nation on a journey of destiny. The travelers on the bus are forever changing. People come and go. For each, the bus serves a different purpose.
Eric Brown, 30, owner of the bus, explained that he is the founder of the Rock Club Foundation. Brown grew up in Destin, Fla.
“I’m a man from Destin, and I’m here to help people come to their destines,” he stated.
Brown says growing up he did not fit in. He certainly is true to himself and is quite an individual. He drives a pained bus. He travels with a goat. In high school, he was homeless and carried everything he had on his back. With no where to leave his things, he even carried his guitar. Sometimes at school, he would play his guitar. Before long, other people would play with him. Brown says school administration said the group could not have instruments at school unless they are part of a school club. Thus, Brown started a club. For Brown, the club was about more than playing music, it was about self expressions.
After high school, Brown wanted to continue that battle, that fight to see people be free to be themselves. Brown explained that he has been on a mission to “inspire people to live their dreams and visions, become the best versions of themselves.”
In this effort, he drives across the country, wherever his bus takes him. Along the road, he picks people up and drops people off. He asks people for things and for help, but he also helps others and gives what he can.
“I help them, and they help me,” he said about his visitors.
Along the road, Brown panhandles and stops at gas stations where he begs for gas. In the event that his bus breaks down, he has to ask for free help from the locals in the town where he landed.
“I believe in a free economy,” Brown stated, “not based on monetary exchange or even equal exchange.”
To better understand, he explained that he may not have money to give for gas or food, but he has other things he can do. He has allowed people to come on to his bus, his home, and stay as long as they needed. Recently, he says that a couple got on the bus to get sober from a meth addiction. They stayed a month until they continued their journey elsewhere.
He has been driving and saw a person needing help with their vehicle, and he stops to assist. He also host free market days where people bring all of their unwanted items and give them freely, but they also have an opportunity to get free items from others.
“Everybody has a purpose or a thing to give,” he stated.
Kyle Powers, from Indiana, found himself in a situation where he was left alone in the woods with a snapped tent pole. He met Brown was welcomed on the bus. Since joining the group, Powers says he has seen several people get on the bus and ride until they got to where they needed to go. For him, the bus is a way home. Still, the ride has changed him. He has met many people and has experiences along the journey that he will never forget. The other people who lived on the bus, no matter how briefly, are forever his family.
Preston Sullivan was living with his grandmother when she came up to him and asked him to pick one state that he would wish to go to. Then, she told him that she would be sending him to Mississippi where his other family members were. He was unhappy with his life and needed a change. At 17, he met a hitchhiker and started asking him about how he lives. He learned to look for tent cities and how to hold a sign to beg for cash. Then, he joined a traveling magazine selling crew and took off on the road. Finally settling briefly in Dayton, he was working and his own place to live. There he met Shantee “Watson” Spears, 29, originally of Brooklyn..
She was an Army child who was born in New York but had traveled. When she met Sullivan, she was living in Dayton and had found herself in a situation where she had no where to stay other than with friends. He let her move in, and the situation was working well. Then, while at work, Sullivan met Brown and the other bus members and was quickly eager to join in the mission. He also wants to attend a Rainbow Gathering in Oregon. When he told Spears, she was on board as well. The two have been traveling on the bus since.
They eat from dumpsters and from the kindness of others.
“A lot of the food we eat comes from the trash, but there is so much waste in American,” Brown stated. “”There’s more than enough for everybody. 40% of food is thrown away in preproduction. There are more churches in the United States than there are homeless people.”
Each member of the group says they have eaten “trashburgers,” but often see the the things in the trash are not always bad.
Still, some of the travelers on the bus joke that they would rather eat the goat, who is named Deer.
The group continued on their way, each to a new destination and eager to leave an imprint on the lives of others.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.