Living out of a 4-window school bus or a roof top tent isn’t easy, but it IS awesome. Below are answers to the most common questions that we get about building the bus, living in the bus, and pooping in the bus.
Where have been your favorite place to visit?
This is such an extremely hard question to answer as we have found some truly fantastic places. I will break it down into some categories to make it easier on me to process:
- Place we are most likely to live: Corvallis, Oregon, Northern Idaho, Western Montana
- Place we are most likely to play: Western Montana, British Columbia, Western New Mexico
- Place we are most likely to explore: Baja Peninsula, Mexico
- Place that surprised us the most: Sierra Mountains, California
- Place that we hope stays secret: North Cascades National Park, Washington
Where do you poop?
This is by far the most common question that we get asked. The answer is fairly simple. Both of us borderline enjoy going #2 in the woods. Some of my fondest BM’s have been while perched on a downed tree or on a hillside outhouse.
If a cat-hole isn’t available, there are public restrooms in almost every town that we have ever travelled to and they get cleaner the further you get from the South.
-EDIT- After a year of full-time travel and plans to branch out into the Eastern US, we caved and built a toilet into our bus. We use a cassette toilet that has to be dumped every 1-2 weeks like a black tank, but requires zero plumbing.
How much does it cost to convert a school bus?
This is a hard one to answer. We had every intention of keeping every receipt and recording every trip to Lowe’s, but I am not that organized. There are still receipts in crevices of the garage that some renter is going to find some day and wonder why someone would need so much plywood.
For our short bus build, we estimate close to $10,000 to convert the bus from School duty to fully sustainable home including the redesign a year in to full-time travel.
Now that we have begun building a second, larger school bus, the costs have more than doubled. We anticipate spending $20,000-$25,000 on our full-size build. Rivets and sheet metal aint cheap, ya know?
How can readers get involved?
Below are a couple of ways that you as a viewer/reader can get involved with out adventures.
- Host Us- Everyone needs to recharge batteries (both literally and metaphorically) and we encourage anyone that wants us to park in their driveway, bum their electricity and water, and share awesome stories from the road with them to Host Us. Simply send us an e-mail with your location and we will let you know when we are close to your area. We are also pretty good about buying dinner if we are crashing in your drive.
- Follow/Like/Comment/Share- Any social media activity is extremely appreciated. The more people are aware of our trip, the longer we can stay on the road and continue to provide great content.
Do you ever get tired of each other?
Of course! All kidding aside, we hardly ever push each other to a point of feeling frustrated or angry. When one of us is feeling overwhelmed or stressed we both know that a bike ride or a hike alone is the best medicine.
We choose this lifestyle and relationship every day, because it is the life we want and the life we have chosen to build together.
Do you have a shower in the bus?
Yes and no. We have a really cool little solar shower that is basically a 5-gallon black bag that we fill with water and sit in the sun until it warms the water inside. Then we shower. A lot of variables allow us to take camp showers like that and when it’s cold or we are camped in an extremely urban area that frowns on camp showers, we will stop by a campground for a shower.
A lot of recreation centers and beaches offer free or cheap showers so we try to take advantage when we can and stay as clean as possible on the road.
-EDIT- After a year of full-time travel and plans to branch out into the Eastern US, we caved again and purchased a Planet Fitness Black Card Membership. The Black Card allows us to use Planet Fitness at any of their locations and bring a guest for a really affordable price. This has been a GAME CHANGER!
-EDIT, EDIT- Now that we are building a full-size skoolie, we will be including a full-ish sized shower. Because we will have 3-4 times the water capacity that we did in the short bus, we will be able to enjoy warm showers more often without depleting our water supply.
How do you afford this lifestyle?
When we originally left in April of 2018, we had saved up enough money for us to travel and see the country for six months. We made a rule with ourselves that as soon as that 6-month money ran out, we had to settle somewhere and get jobs.
We lucked out and volunteered for a trade show in Flagstaff, AZ in May 2018 and made connections that led to a part-time job in our first year of full-timing, just about when our money was running out. We work remotely providing customer service and social media management and work on the ground at the events. The rest of the time we are free to roam as long as we stay in relative contact and get our work done.
What advice do you have to someone contemplating a lifestyle like this?
Do it. Make a smart and executable plan right now, and do it. If you need $10,000 to build a bus, take on a second job to save more money. If you need $5,000 to travel for the summer in a truck you already own, sell the stuff you don’t need and learn a new skill to earn more money. You will never regret travel.