Big Ideas for Planet Earth in a A New Jersey Man's Bus

Donna Elazar and Bryan Callahan work on their bus while Lila, their dog, watches
Bus appliances operate on low-pressure propane. Callahan is adding solar panels and batteries for other electrical needs

ROXBURY NJ – Back in his Roxbury High School days, Bryan Callahan wasn’t a football star, a gifted member of the marching band or president of the student council.

He preferred running wires to running fields. His favorite instruments didn't make music; hey measured volts.

The Kenvil resident said he did receive one acknowledgment from the school, an accolade somewhat related to his passion for tinkering with wires, switches, bulbs, gauges and the like: “I graduated in 2003 with the Senior Award in Science Excellence,” he said with a chuckle.

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Now, the kid who installed a siren and a pushbutton alarm system in his backyard treehouse, is close to accomplishing a long-held dream: He and girlfriend Donna Elazar are planning to hit the road in a 43-foot-long, 2001 International Genesis school bus on a mission to help the planet.

The bus has been converted into a home on wheels that the couple will use to roam the nation as evangelists for off-the-grid, sustainable living. This week, Callahan, 31, and Elazar, 24, were busy installing solar panels atop the huge vehicle. They hope to get the bus road-ready in time to take it all the way to Oregon next month, where they volunteered to work at Oregon Eclipse a week-long “sustainability event” that starts Aug. 17 and coincides with an upcoming solar eclipse.

Callahan planned to be rolling across America by now with Elazar and their frisky white Lab named Lila. But rash of last-minute bad luck put the brakes on that idea.

“During this year, we overcame various setbacks, all the while pushing onward,” Callahan wrote on an online crowdfunding site where he is seeking donations to finish the bus project. “But, on what was to be the eve of our departure a few weeks ago in June, a fender bender and our only two cars breaking down on the same day destroyed the capital we had left to finish the conversion and get us to our first destination.”

It’s not the first setback. Callahan bought the bus in November from a man in Egg Harbor. While he was driving the rig home to Roxbury, one of the front air brakes failed. There was also an issue with some frozen waste water lines this winter.

But with Callahan installing security systems and Elazar - a 2015 honors graduate of Ramapo College - also working, money was found to fix the brakes and water lines. Before the recent setbacks, they had the cash they needed to finish the bus and head west.

“Our main goal is to look for farms and small communities that are trying to integrate permaculture ideas,” Callahan said. “Permaculture is a form of farming that integrates the natural cycles of the earth … What I’m trying to do is bring in the off-grid and sustainable power to run pumps for irrigation and do all the heavy-lifting stuff our technological society does.”

Callahan and Elazar are no strangers to nationwide travel. They’ve already crisscrossed the country – in a pickup with a homemade camper top – helping out at events and projects aligned with their belief in sustainable lifestyles.

“These individuals are some of the most inspiring people I have had the pleasure to know,” said Ryan Vander Horn, a friend of Callahan and Elazar. “They live their life untethered by the mundane and superficial aspects of everyday life. Bryan and Donna have a drive that stems not from concern for the expectations and desires of others, but rather from the needs and cries for help that rise up from the collective.”

Vander Horn, a former Rutgers University English major about to head to law school, said he’s seen Callahan and Elazar in action and is awed by their conviction and generosity.

“No matter what environment they find themselves in, you can notice their sense of duty to the community around them,” he said. “Whether it is at a friend's house lending a helping hand with chores, or teaching workshops at festivals around the country, the main goal is to help those around them.”

Callahan said he is acutely aware there are people in dire circumstances, facing illnesses or situations far more worthy of charity. In the first sentence of his crowdfunding page, he says “asking for help isn’t easy for me.”

His hope is that others who share his beliefs will chip in a little to help. He said the bus, with almost everything inside powered by the sun, will be like a “portfolio” on wheels, a lumbering, tan and blue example of simple living and ingenuity.

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Nutley Winter Snow Storm Bulletin No. 1 March 20, 2018

March 20, 2018

The following information, from the Township of Nutley Board of Commissioners, has been prepared to advise residents about preparedness and enforcement during the Winter Storm effective March 21, 2018

Recycling and Garbage pickups for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21 have been suspended.

All Parks and ...

The Mountsier-Hardee Garden in Nutley Opens to the Public to Benefit the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program

NUTLEY, NJ - The Garden Conservancy is pleased to announce the first New Jersey Open Days private garden tour for 2018 in Nutley on Saturday, April 14.

Complete details on this event can be seen at this link: Mountsier Hardee Garden in Nutley Opens to the Public 

The Mountsier-Hardee Garden will host also host Nutley Family Service Bureau's annual ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, March 20, 5:30 PM

Nutley Parks and Recreation , nutley

Shrek Jr. Auditions and Callback Date Change

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 20, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Martin Luther King, Newark, and the Cool Spring ...

Education Law & Justice Other


Wed, March 21, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Understanding Liver Disease

Education Health & Wellness


Wed, March 21, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness


Thu, March 22, 6:00 PM

Mountainside Medical Center, Glen Ridge

Power Up your Grocery Cart

Food & Drink Health & Wellness


Fri, March 23, 6:30 PM

Parks and Recreation Department , Nutley

Nutley Crew Beefsteak/Tricky Tray

Food & Drink Sports


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

West Orange High School , West Orange

WOHS Band Council Presents: A Concert for the ...

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March 20 Weather Update for Nutley Schools

March 20, 2018

UPDATED 9:00 p.m. - As the Governor has called a State of Emergency for the Nor’Easter in our area, all Nutley Public Schools will be closed on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

All after school and evening events, held in our buildings on Wednesday, are canceled as well.

Based on actual snowfall, a delayed opening may be needed on Thursday, March 22. We will be in touch with ...

Nutley Public Schools' Robyn Powell named Nutley Jaycees’ Educator of the Year

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Robyn Powell, this year’s ...


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March 6, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Prism Capital Partners and On3 will present the second part of a Suburban Revitalization Forum on March 8 in the auditorium of Building 200 on the ON3 campus. Each forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

Part two of the series, March 8,will discuss ways redevelopment can be tailored to take advantage of the demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle changes and ...

Speaker Added to March 8 Suburban Revitalization Forum - Chris Porter

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March 20, 2018

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Man Dies from South Orange House Fire on Sunday

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The fire, which began about 2 p.m. was contained by about 5 p.m., and required mutual aid from fire departments in neighboring towns, according to firefighters at the scene.

Technology ‘Hub’ proposed for Hub City’s downtown, covering 12 acres

March 20, 2018

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March 18, 2018

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As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Nutley Police Department Blotter March 3 - March 9, 2018

March 10, 2018

The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can send a (non ...

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The Women Artists of Nutley Exhibit at the Nutley Public Library

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Women’s History Month is celebrated in the United States in March every year. This art ...

Educational Leadership with Coach Tom Gargiulo

Learn some of the secrets of high-performing teachers and students with “Coach” Tom Gargiulo on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 p.m. Motivate yourself and others with time-tested tips and strategies presented by Coach Tom in a lively and interactive manner. Mr. “G” is in his 28th year of teaching and coaching and teaches Physical Education at ...

Nutley United Soccer Club - Spring Season

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Registration for Spring Tennis Lessons Now Open

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The Jaffe Briefing - March 20, 2018


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An Open Letter to Steven Rogers, and Anyone Else Misguided About NHS’s Participation in the National School Walkout

March 19, 2018

To Commissioner Steven Rogers, and whomever else it may concern,

My name is Gabrielle Mackiewicz, and I am a 15-year-old sophomore at Nutley High School. On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, I took part in the National School Walkout at 10:00 a.m., and I have seen a lot of your ideas about the event on several different social media platforms. I am writing this to address some of these concerns.

The Price We Pay for School Security

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Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Presents:Ron Guidry Book Signing, Apr. 3

March 19, 2018

Ron Guidry, known as "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning" to his teammates, quickly rose in 1977 to become the ace of the Yankees' stellar pitching staff, helping the team regarded as one of the most famous and controversial in Yankees history to win two World Series championships. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 3 for a signing of Guidry's new ...

4th Wall Announces Auditions for FUN HOME

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Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc 50/50 Raffle

MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Junior League of Montclair-Newark, Inc. (JLMN) has provided support and service to women and children in Bloomfield, The Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Montclair, Newark and Verona for more than 95 years.

Our trained, enthusiastic members are committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
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Nov 23, 1963 - Mar 12, 2018
Jeffrey Roy Imhoff passed away on March 12, 2018. He was a lifelong resident of Nutley, graduating ...
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