The looks of surprise, shock, and wonder that follow this statement never disappoint. We have had a great time opening conversations this way. A flurry of questions always follows, such as, “Will you have electricity/plumbing?”, “Wait, how many square feet is that?”, and “How did you come up with this crazy idea?”
Before we answer the first two questions, let’s go back to a couple months ago, when we were trying to figure out how to lower our monthly expenses.
We live in Asheville, NC, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and this is where we planned to live when we got married. We love the city, the hikes, the people… just not the exorbitant rent. We know that the cost of living in some other cities is much higher, but with the current NC teacher salary, our rent takes too much from our paychecks for us to start saving money and paying off our student loans.
We searched for a more wallet-friendly living situation and considered many different rental options. However, none of these options really jived with us or made us feel at-ease.
One night, as we were dreaming together about what our future would look like, what we would do, where we would go, an idea popped into my head. A crazy idea.
“What if we built a home inside a school bus?” I asked. Robert was silent for a while, contemplating (Let me just say that Robert would not normally go for living tiny, but he is a substitute bus driver for the school system and loves driving buses. He loves driving anything big and noisy).
“How would that look? Would we be able to enjoy the same things we do living in an apartment?” he asked. We talked about it for a while, but he needed more information and some pictures of converted buses to help him visualize what we could do in that space. So I did my research and, after we talked it through, he was on board. Huzzah!
-Fast forward to April 12, 2017-
5:00 a.m. came early, but there was an uncharacteristic spring in our step for that hour of the day. We were on the way to check out a bus. We drove 4.5 hours to Dunn, NC (near Fayetteville) to a bus yard owned by Jon Jackson of Diversal Motors. He had one bus in particular we were interested in: a 2002 transit-style Thomas Saf-T Liner, which was recently retired with 250,000 miles on it (Diesels can go 500,000+) from a school district near Washington, D.C.
Jon gave us the specs, a tour, and told us everything he knew about the bus, both good and bad (only bad would be some rusty spots that will need treatment). During our test drive, I could not stop giggling!! I just laughed and hee-hawed the entire drive. Robert kept asking me why I was laughing, and all I knew was that I had a really good feeling about this bus.
Pictured here: Buddy the Bus parked in my in-law’s driveway. Not pictured: Neighbor’s dog: frozen, mouth agape, and uncharacteristically silent after our arrival.
We purchased the bus, and (after figuring out some tricky insurance issues) drove the bus home to Asheville! We made a couple pit stops along the way to take our families out for a drive.
We are parked and ready to begin the conversion process! If you have any golden nuggets of advice or pearls of wisdom to share with us about converting a bus, please do so in the comment section.
Stay tuned for more on our build plans and the adventure of going through with them!