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1998 School Bus Turned Motor-Cottage for Student And Yogi

Audrey and Paul bought their bus back in 2018 and spent 20 months making it into their amazing bus home. They spend half of what they used to in bills and utilities by living in their bus rather than a standard apartment and the best part? It’s all theirs, made exactly how they wanted it!

A former Marine, Paul is now a full-time student while Audrey works a number of mobile/remote jobs such as teaching yoga. They enjoyed a couple of months of traveling before settling down in an RV park near Paul’s school. The home has a cozy farmhouse chic vibe, and they built it out without any former experience in construction!

We got the chance to interview the couple, so be sure to check out the Q&A after the photo tour. Oh, and follow them on Instagram here.

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They Reduced Their Monthly Bills by 50%!

They created tons of storage in here!

Their large fridge and washer/dryer are awesome.

Now that’s a cool hidden office area!

Here’s their cozy bedroom in the back of the bus.

Wow! Here’s how they access underneath it.

Another look at the standing desk area.

Love that they have a hanging closet.

They have a composting toilet.

And such gorgeous tile in the shower!

Q&A with Paul & Audrey of the Skooled Yogi!

What are your name(s)?

Paul and Audrey

How many people (and animals) are living in your bus home?

2 adults in our 36ft bus

How long have you lived tiny?

6 months

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?

Paul is a full time student and Audrey works a few jobs that are mostly mobile – remote administrative work, teaches yoga and works with Beautycounter.

What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?

The opportunity for freedom that comes with a tiny lifestyle….freedom to travel, freedom to live life through less of a consumer mindset, freedom from the expenses that go along with living in a brick and mortar home.

What inspired you to choose a bus (rather than say a tiny house or a RV)?

We liked the idea of being able to have everything in one. Converting a bus allows us to get in and go without the need for a big truck or other vehicle that can tow.

How did you acquire your bus? Did you do a lot of renovations?

We found our bus through a search of local schools and their equipment available for sale. We really lucked out because the county that had the most buses for sale also had our bus which met a lot of the criteria we were looking for (flat front, engine in the back, Allison transmission). Finding the bus locally gave us the chance to check it out in person a few times and we even got to test drive it! When we bought the bus there had been no previous work done to it for a conversion. So we did everything! Except for the spray foam. Before this project, neither of us had done any type of home renovations or had building experience.

What are bills/utilities like compared to before?

Our living expenses in the bus are half of what they were before when we were renting an apartment.

How did you find a place to “park” your home? Or do you travel?

We traveled for 2 months before settling where we are now. During that time, we would typically park at friends/family, harvest host locations or state/national parks. Since being stationary, we park at a small RV park that is close to where Paul goes to school. Originally we thought we would find land to rent and have more of a boondocking set up. Now that we’re living in cold climate, we are going to stay at this park for longer than we originally planned. Our current solar set up doesn’t have enough capacity for the amount of power we have utilized so far this winter.

Before going tiny, what was life like?

Before going tiny, we lived in NC where Paul was stationed with the USMC. When he got out in the summer of 2018, we moved to FL to convert the bus. We spent 20 months working on the bus before getting on the road.

Is there anything from your old life that you miss?

Paul misses having a real garage. Audrey misses a regular toilet although we definitely prefer our compost set up over a black water toilet.

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

Having less space means having less stuff that we don’t use or need. The lack of space really makes us consider purchases before buying. It’s made us realize how much stuff we don’t actually use even though we thought we “needed’ it on the bus. We love the freedom that comes, to a certain extent, with living in a mobile home. Love the opportunity to explore while having our home with us.

What about some challenges?

Ironically, less space. Now that we’ve lived in the bus, we both look at how we could’ve done the build differently to maximize the space. For example, some of the areas that we built so big thinking about the storage space underneath (like our seating and counters) could’ve been smaller while still providing storage underneath. One of the other things is just mentally preparing to live in a small space

What makes your tiny home special?

It’s ours, built how we want it. We also built everything in the bus, no prefab furniture or cabinets. Not sure that we would go that route again though. 🙂 We also tried to be intentional about the products used in the build such as non toxic adhesives, paints, sealants, flooring and fabrics.

What is your favorite part of your tiny home?

Paul loves it because it’s a school bus and he can drive it. Audrey loves the ceiling, shower, wood burning stove, the desk storage space….pretty much the whole home. The fact that we were able to build our vision and are now actually living in it.

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

You can do it! It’s not impossible but it will be more time, money and effort than what you think. There are so many resources out there on how to convert a bus. Plus the community is awesome! Paul talked to multiple skoolie owners throughout our build to get advice or ask questions about the things we didn’t know. And we’re happy to do that for anyone building – feel free to reach out to us! Someone wiser and further along in their build than us once said you’re going to want to quit and that’s okay. Sometimes you just need to take a break even when you feel like you should be working on the build.

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Our big thanks to Audrey for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Linda Baker
    January 21, 2021, 5:03 pm

    being without another vehicle, is it inconvenient to leave your campground/resort to shop in the bus and is parking it for shopping a problem? I have a seasonal trailer here in Michigan and lots of people that have one also have small motor bikes etc to go out shopping on – I think you have a really well thought out interior design and love the tile in the bathroom. Your storage is great, what about heat/ac and did you retain original bus windows?

  • Katherine templer
    January 21, 2021, 6:49 pm

    My 87 year caregiver died im disabled struggling to keep her winchee hasnt been to doctor inyears, im unable to take her inside the contaminated building tiny girl is a good little dog she was resqued when her mother diedher food is exspensive she eats a share my necessary organic meal plus whats left of royalcannine chawaha food!

  • Sheila
    February 25, 2021, 11:54 am

    Paul and Audrey, Beautiful bus!! I was like a kid in a candy store looking at the pics. Is so pretty that is stands out. Decorating and the storage you have and the shower is very appealing. Just stunning. Thank you for sharing your home.

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