For a growing number of young people who want to purchase a home of their own, rising rents and crippling student debt has meant that many are putting off that dream of home ownership -- or changing what their ideal of what home ownership looks like.
For some, that means 'going tiny' -- purchasing or building their own smaller homes. For some of these tiny housers who have the travel bug, that has meant going an even more unconventional route, and converting retired school buses into full-time homes on wheels, as Brittany and Steven of Adventure or Bust have done.
Based out of Sarasota, Florida, the couple say that they built their bus home because they wanted to easily travel, without having to buy a truck to tow a tiny home, and to have a home of their own, rent-free, which would allow them to also save money to pay off their student debt. They did all the work on the bus themselves, taking about a year to complete the project. Brittany is a user experience (UX) designer for websites, which means she can work with only a wifi Internet connection while on the road, while Steven is finishing nursing school, with the intention of becoming a travel nurse -- a nurse who is hired to work in a specific location for a limited amount of time. Check out this tour of their self-built bus home via Girl Gone Green:
Coming into the well-insulated bus, we see the lounge area, which has a L-shaped couch with storage hidden under the seats. Part of the couch can pull out to create a full-size bed for guests, and a flatscreen television has its place of honour right across on the other wall.
The kitchen has full-size but energy-efficient appliances: stove, refrigerator and an all-in-one combo washer and dryer. The bus has a side door right beside the washer, which the couple have put to good use by building a detachable insert in part of their kitchen counter, making it a good spot to haul things in and out for a barbecue, or as an extra fire egress.
The middle part of the bus has their closet, and bathroom with a Nature's Head composting toilet, and a standard-sized shower. No blackwater is produced, and all greywater is recuperated and used in their veggie garden, while the compost is used on their fruit trees.
At the very back is the sleeping area. Their queen-sized bed lifts up with the use of hydraulic hardware, and underneath there's storage space made out for their 100-gallon water tank and camping gear. This is also the space where the couple's two dogs hang out.
The bus was renovated for a relatively modest sum of USD $17,600 -- including the purchase of the bus. To help others interested in doing something similar, they've posted a detailed expense sheet here for reference. The couple are now saving up for their solar power system, and as Steven mentions in the video, they have also saved up enough from the first few months of living in their bus that they are now planning a trip abroad -- something they wouldn't have been able to do before as renters. They also chose to go the bus home route rather than a tiny home, as building a tiny home would have also meant buying a truck to tow it on their travels, and subjecting their home to hurricane-force winds.
Building their dream home was also a challenge that they unwaveringly took up, despite their lack of experience, says Brittany:
When we started this build the only tools we owned was a mechanics tool set and a hammer. Having never undertaken such an immense task we were understandably nervous, but totally excited. Our transition to skoolie life has been pretty easy honestly. During the build we were also working on simplifying our lives. Our goal was to make the switch as easy as possible. Our dogs LOVE the bus. Since moving into the bus we spend much more time outside, which means so do they.
It's quite a lovely and thoughtful DIY renovation, and yet another example of enterprising young people taking control of their lives into their own hands, and building something that works for them, rather than them working for something that might not necessarily fit them. To see more, visit Adventure or Bust, Facebook and Instagram.
To see more inspirational bus conversions, check out Kimberley's book, The Modern House Bus.