Robbie and Priscilla chose the school bus rather than, for example, an RV, because they were planning to spend the next couple of years traveling and wanted their new home on wheels to look and feel like a tiny house. “We love tiny homes and admire the lifestyle of those who live in them so we thought, ‘Why not build one on wheels?'”. “We even added an actual house door to give it that welcoming look.”
“Another reason is that we wanted it to be completely off-grid and customized to our needs. Some of the features that we have which are not found in your typical RV/motorhome are a wood-burning stove, real brick wall, completely solar, real quartz countertops, real tiles, real glass shower door, and more. Also, school buses are designed safer than RVs in the event of an accident.”
They said they just had to break away from the monotony of their daily lives. “We were our happiest when traveling, when exploring new places, when trying new foods, when immersing ourselves in new cultures. We thrive off of experiencing new things and going on adventures. There is something magical about traveling. It goes beyond seeing different sights. It’s the experiences that change you. We would come home from our trips ready to plan our next adventure. It left us thirsty for another memorable experience.”
Before the couple even started building the bus, they were traveling every chance they had. “There was one thing really bothering us though. We hated leaving our pets at home and missed them when we were away,” Robbie and Priscilla explained. “We needed a way to continue to travel and have them with us. “
“When we started building, we had a dog and a cat. We only have a cat now. Our black lab was diagnosed with cancer one month before we planned to get on the road and her health declined rapidly after that. She didn’t get to come on the bus journey but she is in our hearts.”
It took the couple a year and a half to remodel the bus, however, they sometimes took some much-needed breaks from the building. “If we had done it without the breaks, it would have probably been a year,” they said.
During that time, they really brought the old school bus back to life. The living space is 210 square feet with a 24v system, powered by 6 360-watt solar panels and equipped with 8 6V 315AH Trojan batteries.
The bus has a ceiling A/C, so cooling it isn’t a problem. As well as keeping it warm. “We have two heaters. A propane marine heater and a wood-burning stove/heater,” Robbie and Priscilla said. “The propane heater is for cold temperatures but not too cold. We used it one night when it was 33 degrees and it was comfortable.”
If it were to get much colder than that, the couple would probably light a fire in their wood stove. “That one heats up the bus so much that we haven’t needed to use it yet. We expect this winter, though.”
“We left our home in Orlando, FL on March 21st, 2019, and headed up the East Coast,” Robbie and Priscilla added. “We were on the road for almost 10 months and traveled all the way up to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We visited 137 different cities on that trip without having an itinerary. We just went with the flow.”
The couple then headed back home for a few months. “We had a few abroad trips planned for the beginning of 2020 but we only went on one of our trips to Brazil. The others were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
They were actually supposed to be on the West Coast at this time but their schedule is a little off from being home unexpectedly for 4 months.
“We manage our business and investments remotely so as long as we have the Internet, we can be anywhere. We don’t use our savings for travel but that’s definitely an option that works for many people who are looking to do something similar but can’t work remotely.”
This new chapter in their lives, however, has had its fair share of trials and tribulations. In fact, Robbie and Priscilla almost gave up on everything two times. “At one point, we actually had listed our gutted bus on Craigslist because our windows were leaking and we couldn’t figure out how to stop the leak.”
“We tried everything including removing them, cleaning them and reinstalling with new caulking but they still leaked. After much thought, we took down the listing and decided to get all new replacement windows. That worked!”
Turns out, the old seals were dry rotted and water kept getting through even after they caulked over the seals. “After installing the new windows, we were good to go.”
“We then ran into problems after we had completed the build. The bus was finished and we were extremely excited about that but then we found out our engine had a blown head gasket and we needed a new one. The bus was in the shop for months. We now have a new engine.”
Robbie and Priscilla really want to continue their long-term travels abroad. But that’s for the future. Now, they plan on finishing the U.S and Canada with their cat and buddy, Mr. Beebles, or taking very short trips abroad so they won’t have to leave him for too long.