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Their Forest-Green Shuttle Bus Conversion

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Kae and Alex were living in an apartment, thinking bus life might happen for them someday when they had more money. Instead, it took losing everything to push them into nomadic life! While it took them 5 years to make the bus what it is today, the results of their hard work are incredible.

Bus life isn’t always easy, that’s for sure! They recently lived in their tent for seven weeks while the bus underwent necessary repairs. Overall, they still love living in their bus named Tree. Read our interview with them below!

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Couple Lost Everything & Built Their Tree House Bus

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 5

Images via @treehousebus

Tiny living was something we were always interested in, but joked from our apartment ‘when we have the funds one day’. Ironically, it took us loosing everything to downsize.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 2

Images via @treehousebus

Our rent was up, and we didn’t qualify elsewhere with our two ‘aggressive breed pups’. Travel trailers were out of budget, and large storage units were too expensive, so we sold almost everything we owned.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 26

Images via @treehousebus

We lived in motels, the back of our pickup truck, and in a hand me down Coleman tent. We worked in restaurants until we saved up the funds for an old public transit shuttle bus we found on Craigslist.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus

Images via @treehousebus

We moved in the day we bought our bus with sleeping bags, and slowly built it into our home over the last 5 years with no prior building experience. Our build will never feel ‘finished’ and we try to work on a new project (maintenance or upgrades) weekly.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus 5

Images via @treehousebus

Tiny living changed our lives for the better in every way. Our bus made us wholeheartedly appreciate having basic amenities like running water and a roof over our heads. It made us realize the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus 9

Images via @treehousebus

It brought us closer together as a couple, and connected us to the earth in ways we never would have imagined. 5 out of our 7 years together we’ve been in our bus, and it has been the catalyst to our life’s adventure. Our Bus, Tree, is a member of our little family, she will be with us forever.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 12

Images via @treehousebus

I create hand sculpted clay jewelry in nature, inspired by nature for my small business @NomadicNovelties on IG, Nomadic Novelties Co, on Etsy.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 6

Images via @treehousebus

I sculpt by hand, no molds or cutters, and bake my clay creations in my tiny oven. I’m inspired by the nature we constantly find ourselves in, and the vintage mushroom ceramic-ware I have thrifted from our visits throughout tiny towns that led us there.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 4

Images via @treehousebus

The hardest part is all the breakdowns. If you’re solely dependent on the road, and you don’t have family to help – everything you’ve ever owned and loved is with you.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 3

Images via @treehousebus

When your home unexpectedly breaks down, and it’s left parked in a parking lot for an undetermined amount of time.. you’re forced to worry from sometimes hours away in a tent, at mercy to the elements, wondering if someone has broken into your home and stolen anything that matters to you.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 9

Images via @treehousebus

Worrying when you’ll see your home again, how long will it be this time? How much will it cost? If you don’t have friends or family to take you in when things get tough, there are no breaks or ‘off’ days, you have to keep fighting.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus 8

Images via @treehousebus

The best parts about buslife are waking up to a new view out of our bedroom window, discovering new hiking trails, exploring small towns, all at your own pace…

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus 7

Images via @treehousebus

We love living a life of freedom, self-sufficiency, and independence- without the price tag of purchasing land, or the dependence on the grid that often comes with it. Having a custom-built home that fits your needs, and everything has its place.

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus 2

Images via @treehousebus

It’s all part of the adventure- the build, the breakdowns, the hours on end of driving. Buslife will have the highest highs and the lowest lows, the craziest roller coaster you’ll ever ride, but it’s the best adventure you’ll ever take. Difficult days often lead to the most beautiful places, and remember that slow is the way to go 🐌

Couple Lost Everything & Built Tree House Bus. 27

Images via @treehousebus



  • Kae and Alex dreamed of buslife, but thought that would happen when they had more money. Instead, they lost everything and couldn’t afford an RV or find an apartment that would allow their dogs.
  • They started out living in their Craigslist-find shuttle bus with just sleeping bags — no running water or heat — and converted it over the course of 5 years.
  • Even 5 years in, they’re still finding ways to improve the space. Just recently, Kae re-did the bus stairs with sticky tile and wood-burned snail trim!
  • They have a fixed back bedroom and their kitchen looks out a big window! It’s the perfect spot to make a cup of coffee while admiring the woodland spaces they frequent.

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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)

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Paul
    October 10, 2023, 8:09 pm

    Quirky, but charming… wish I could hitch a ride with them to experience what they experience. But alas, I’ze from Noo Zeeland and… well a bit far to swim there… LOL

  • Melody
    October 14, 2023, 7:32 am

    It must be heaven for the two dogs as they all live together in the beautiful “den”.

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