This couple lives in an old school bus and travels across the USA

My husband and I moved to a refurbished school bus.
Nicole Jones

My husband and I bought an old school bus in June 2020 and spent nine months turning it into our dream home.

Downsizing our house wasn’t as difficult as we initially expected. We also have plenty of storage space on board.

Today we are happier than ever and we are still enjoying our travels.

When my husband Charlie and I met in 2015, we immediately shared a love of travel. After a few happy years in Chicago, we were ready for something new, so in 2019 we decided to quit our jobs and be backpacking all over Asia and Oceania.

Before our mini vacation, we lived in a three-bedroom apartment of 92 square feet, and we had more than enough belongings to fill it. However, after living out of a backpack for four months, we realized that material possessions do not make us happy. We wanted to downsize.

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We couldn’t decide where we wanted to live in the long term

The global pandemic hit the United States three months after our return. With our lease expiring and most jobs shifting to the home office, we left our apartment, put our belongings in a storage unit, and moved into my parents’ house.

For several weeks we discussed where we would live next. We were trying to figure out what kind of home we wanted to buy and what would make us happy in the long run. After hearing some of our friends touring the country in an RV, it gave us the idea to consider alternative housing options.

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Buying a new mobile home was out of the question for us. Not only can they be pricey, but we wanted something that had charm and felt right at home. One day, when we saw a social media post about a couple converting a school bus into a tiny house, we knew right away: We wanted it, too.

Not only did the school bus offer so much potential for us to add our own touches, but we’d also be able to travel all over North America to find where we wanted to settle in the long run.

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We renovated the bus according to our needs

We have done many school bus renovations ourselves.

We have done many school bus renovations ourselves.
Nicole Jones

In June 2020, we bought a school bus for $3,500 on Facebook Marketplace. We can do whatever we want with it, but at the time we had no experience in carpentry, plumbing, or electrical.

However, with the help of YouTube, Instagram, family and friends, we built the tiny house of our dreams in just nine months. We sorted most of our belongings and kept only what we really needed. It wasn’t as difficult for us as we expected. In the end, we still had more than enough storage space on board.

In March 2021, we finally set off. After a long, cold winter in northern Wisconsin, our first stop was the warm American southwest.

Adapting to a small living space wasn’t as difficult as we thought

Although going from a 92m² apartment to a 21m² bus might seem like a massive change, it only took us a few weeks to get used to it.

However, those first few weeks were tough. Within a very short time, we had trouble with the transmission, radiator and windshield, and had three separate trips to the mechanic. We thought we made the wrong decision and couldn’t handle the stress of living on a school bus.

But after everything was fixed, we met another couple on a school bus in Arizona that we met via Instagram. The more stories and experiences we share with our new friends, the faster our fears fade away.

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Living on the bus has opened our eyes to many new experiences

We love discovering new places.

We love discovering new places.
Nicole Jones

We spent the following months exploring places we hadn’t been before. We traveled to national parks, attended festivals and made new friends. We have been traveling for 16 months and have never been happier. We always follow the sun and if we get bored in one place we move.

We still don’t know where we want long-term stability. It’s not like there’s no place we don’t want to live. On the contrary: there are still many places on Earth that we have not yet lived in. We want to change that.

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This text has been translated from English. You can find the original over here.

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