Living on the Struggle Bus
I am switching things up today and talking about the Struggle Bus! It is a 35-foot Bluebird school bus that my boyfriend & I converted into a tiny home. We are quickly approaching being full time on the bus for 3 months! Man, this summer has gone by way too fast! The transition to “bus life” has been an easy one. Maybe in part because we lived in an apartment with basically no furniture for 6 months, before moving into the bus. There is something undeniably special about living in a space that you own and built.
I wanted to take some time to answer some of the most common questions we get about “skoolie” living. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions that I don’t cover!
I figured I would start with the age-old question… WHY? Why do you live in a school bus?
Our #1 reason for going tiny was rooted in financial freedom. We look at the bus as being an investment, where we now own our home. Say we decide bus life is not for us- we would be able to sell it. But now we are not throwing our money away on rent, not locked down to a lease or mortgage, and, hello, our home can move! We both agree we have no idea where we want to root down, so the Struggle Bus allows us to bring home with us! We went with a school bus because it was big enough not to feel claustrophobic, and the price was right. We found our bus on craigslist within about 3 weeks of looking! The bus itself has a ton of life still to live, and we also purchased a Jeep this summer to be able to tow behind the bus. Oh and Thomas does the driving, while I cuddle Ellie and research campsites!
The next question is usually…Where are you going to go?
To which I have to say, we’re not sure! But isn’t that nice to know our home can come with us wherever we decide to go? This allows us to keep ourselves open to whatever opportunities come our way. We both really enjoyed exploring the southwest and hope to go back again soon! Right now, we have landed back in a beautiful & secluded spot in northern New Hampshire for the fall! The bus is equipped with solar power, propane for heat, and 110 gallons of water storage. We’ve found we can be “off grid” for about 10 days, before needing a water fill up.
Which leads to… Well…What’s it like?
It’s great! As well as being frustrating & stressful- just like owning any home. It always feels like once one project is done, 3 new ones are added to the list. There are some everyday things that you adjust to, like: on a cloudy morning- you may not be able to make toast in the toaster, since the solar hasn’t charged the batteries enough. You have to make sure you have enough water left, before getting in the shower. You have to teach visitors how to use the composting toilet. You also have to grocery shop more frequently due to the limited space in the fridge. These are all small prices to pay if you ask me!
So what is it like to cook in the bus?
It is a fully functional kitchen! We have a two-burner propane stove, ample counter space with a fold out table, a large sink, and a large mini-fridge (for lack of a better term). For appliances, I still have a ninja blender and an instant-pot, which both come in handy! We use a French press for coffee, which is 100x better than a Keurig if you ask me. We also really enjoy grilling and we make many of our dinners outside. We have a full set of pots & pans, knives, dishware, mixing bowls, etc. Most everything made it onto the bus from our kitchen! As far as space goes we definitely bump into each other in the kitchen when cooking together, but it leads to a lot of laughs and hugs.
And finally we get to… What does your dog think of the Struggle bus?
Ellie has taken to the bus very well! She got to spend most of the summer outside, which was a great change of pace from our tiny apartment yard. Her favorite spot on the bus is right under the futon in her little hidey-hole. Ellie loves putting herself in tight spots and she loves this cool spot for her bed and toys. Ellie has been all smiles this summer!
Would you ever take the leap and go tiny? Would you want a home on wheels or something stationary? I’d love to hear from you!