It’s been about 3 months since we officially started our journey in converting a school bus into a home. Even though it’s only been a short time, we keep getting asked a lot of the same questions so I thought it would be fun to create a post answering the most frequent ones that we get. Why did you choose the school bus route?
1 Why did you choose a bus?
It was the option that made the most sense, the least expensive and gave us the most control. Ideally, we would love to have built a tiny home on wheels as you see on TV. They look like a home on the inside and outside (something an RV doesn’t have), have complete control over the layout (again RV doesn’t have) and has the best headspace for Colby who happens to be on the taller side of 6’1”. But both the tiny home and RV would require us to buy a truck that could tow. Also both can get expensive quickly, which didn’t work out well for our budget.
We needed our next home to be mobile as we search for our forever home location that you can read more about here. A van felt like it was too small for our family so the bus made the most sense. We have complete control over how much we want to spend on converting the bus, have full control over the floor plan and we got lucky on the bus height with Wendy. Read more about her name here.
2. Do you know how to convert a school bus into an RV?
We have no clue what we are doing. We are learning as we go, thanks to YouTub university. And making a ton of mistakes along the way. Lucky for us, so many bus lifers ahead of us have filmed their builds and providing a lot of great, informative content that has been helping us on our build. We both love working with our hands and all the hard work has been worth it so far. Although it’s been a rough journey, it’s also has been an exciting one to see our bus take shape into a home one day at a time.
3. What are you going to do about the bathroom?
I don’t know why we get this question a lot, but we do. We plan on a composting toilet in which it is called the throne in our home. Of course when we tell people that we will have a composting toilet their faces go all weird. It’s been an interesting process to have to explain how composting toilets work and how they don’t stink when I haven’t even used one yet.
4. Are you going to start traveling immediately?
No, not immediately. I’m sure we will take our bus on small road trips here and there but won’t be going around the country traveling full time from the start. We just moved to Arizona and our kids are loving having some stability in their life right now. We still have a lot of exploring to do here first. Secondly, we want to save up some money before we hit the road if we decide to do that. By keeping pretty stationary, this will help with our gas budget and more savings for us.
5. Are you going to be off-grid?
Yes! We are lucky to be surrounded by so much nature that we would love to be more apart of it, instead of crammed into a tiny space in a campground. I’m sure we will have some days where we will park the bus in a campground, but we hope to limit those days. Like we mentioned earlier, we will have a composting toilet to save on water. We will also be putting in solar to provide us with electricity.
6. What about the kids?
I’m never sure if they are initially asking if we are bringing them along with us on this journey, which is yes. Or if they mean are they excited about the whole situation? Also yes. Our daughter just told us the other day that she never wanted to move out of Wendy…. we haven’t even lived in her yet.
They will have their beds, a place for toys and clothes. If we learned anything from our 20 day trip to Thailand, it’s that for the most part kids are super flexible and adapt quickly.
We’ve been conscious about including them into conversations about the bus design, helping us choose materials and colors, and even getting dirty and helping with painting. We believe that letting them be part of the process helps them be excited about the change but also that they were included in the decision.
7. How are the dogs going to handle bus life?
Right now, since we haven’t moved in yet we don’t know. But our dogs have traveled cross country 2 times already and did amazing. They have lived with us in 5 different homes within the last 3 years so a change in the environment is something that is kind of a norm. Living in an apartment right now has gotten us really into the habit of taking the time daily to get the dogs outside multiple times a day, making sure they get enough exercise daily. We are lucky that when they are inside they are chill, just wanting to be wherever we are at. Just like us, I think they will need some time to adjust to the bus life, but we think they will do just fine.