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We moved onto our renovated school bus in March 2021.Nicole Jones

My husband, Charlie, and I converted an old school bus into our dream 230-square-foot tiny home in just nine months.

It took a lot of work, but we’ve been living on the road full-time for over 13 months, and it’s been so worth it.

Here are the 10 things that have surprised us the most.

The school bus was cheaper than we expected

The writer and her partner standing outside their original yellow school bus
We paid $3,500 for the used school bus.Nicole Jones

We bought our school bus for just $3,500.

Once buses are done being used at schools, there isn’t much need for them. You can find them for sale on Facebook Marketplace or at local auctions.

Our total cost with renovations was about $42,000. Even though it took several months of labor, this was still much cheaper than buying a brand new RV of the same size.

We’re much happier living with less since we can travel more

We can only have so many belongings since our tiny home on wheels is just 230 square feet.

Before moving onto the bus, we went through all of our stuff and determined what we actually needed. We ended up with very few things and still feel like we have too much.

We don’t really buy new things since we don’t have anywhere to keep them, so we’ve focused on spending our money on traveling and seeing new places — that’s what makes us happiest.

We’ve learned a lot about construction work and our resources

On the left, the writer tiling the bathroom on the school bus. On the right, the finished bathroom with white tiles and a shower
We did a lot of the renovating ourselves.Nicole Jones

Even though Charlie and I had never built anything ourselves and had no experience with carpentry, electricity, or plumbing, we had plenty of help from friends and family and learned a lot from YouTube videos.

We now know more about electric systems than we ever expected and can fix (mostly) anything that breaks in our home since we’re the ones who put it together.

We’re always conscious of how much power and water we’re using since we tend to camp off-grid and have even caught ourselves being super water conscious in normal homes.

Adjusting to the lifestyle didn’t take as long as expected

Friends who also lived in school-bus tiny homes warned us that the first month was going to be hard — and they were right. But the overall adjustment period really only took a few weeks.

We moved into the bus at the end of March 2021 and had two pricey mechanical issues within the first two weeks. Additionally, a large rock hit and broke our windshield, and we were having trouble finding safe places to sleep. It felt like we made the wrong decision.

Thankfully, we met some friends the next week who gave us many tips and tricks for life on the road, and we eventually developed habits that fostered happiness and productivity.

The nomadic community is the best part of life on the road

Several buses and RVs parked around each other on dirt road
The nomadic community is very supportive.Nicole Jones

It can be hard to make new friends as an adult, but we’ve formed some of our deepest connections with other families on the road.

We made an Instagram page to document our conversion and had no idea there was such a strong online presence of other people in a similar situation.

We instantly felt supported and had so much help from our virtual friend group, many of who we’ve since gotten to meet in real life.

It’s not that hard to find privacy in our small space

The writer working alone in her bedroom on her renovated school bus
Our bedroom is separate from our living area.Nicole Jones

We often hear jokes that we must drive each other nuts living in such a small space, but we enjoy spending time together. And we’ve found ways to take time for ourselves.

Our tiny bathroom has an actual door. Plus we built the L-shaped layout with privacy in mind, separating the front of the bus from our bedroom area to create two distinct spaces for working or alone time.

Both of us love to run and hike, so we will also spend alone time outdoors if we need some extra space.

There are so many resources that make this lifestyle easier

We previously didn’t know there are apps that help you find places to refill fresh water, dump your gray tank, fuel up with propane, and sleep safely.

Typically, we camp on land owned by the Bureau of Land Management since it’s almost always free, plus other nomads mark and review places they’ve stayed on apps like iOverlander. Campers also record what the cell service was like on Campendium, which is important since we work remotely.

All of these resources have made it easier to find safe and beautiful places to stay.

We don’t feel like we’ve given up anything important

The inside of the renovated school bus with burnt-orange cushions and white walls
We can still cook and lounge in our small space.Nicole Jones

We still have all of the necessities we’d like in a normal home, such as a bed we love, two separate workspaces, a shower with hot water, and a toilet.

We can also cook all of the recipes we love in our small kitchen, which is complete with a pressure cooker, a full fridge and freezer, and a gas stove and oven.

Even though it’s nice to take long, hot showers when we aren’t boondocking off-grid, we don’t feel like there’s anything we’re missing on our bus.

It’s hard to keep a small space clean

Even though deep cleaning our apartment about once a week was enough, we now need to sweep our bus every day.

Between tracking in the elements from outside and living with two people and a cat, our small space quickly accumulates dust and dirt. Plus when you only have so much counter space, one dirty dish can make a mess.

We tidy up every night so we can wake up to a clean home each morning and make the most of our day.

We don’t think we can go back to a traditional lifestyle

The writer and her partner standing outside their renovated orange school bus
We love traveling on the road.Nicole Jones

Originally, we thought we’d only live on the bus for a year. But it’s been 13 months, and we don’t see ourselves settling down soon. We’ve grown accustomed to our constantly changing backyard and small living space.

We used to dream of having a big mansion or multiple homes, but now we imagine owning a large amount of land with a small house.

We don’t need a huge space for our family, and we want to keep seeing as much of the world as we can.

Read the original article on Insider

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