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Kai & Julie’s Off Grid Skoolie Conversion in Germany


This adorable skoolie conversion is home to Kai, Julie and their cat Lilu. They’re parked in Germany now (Kai’s home base) but typically travel throughout Europe.

Kai (@wetravelbybus on Instagram) is a freelance filmmaker and photographer and jumped on the bus life bandwagon to escape a life where he was working for things that he didn’t need and didn’t truly make him happy. Minimalism has served him well, and he’s been living in his bus for just about 2 years now with no regrets.

We got to do a Q&A with Kai which you can read at the end of the post. Enjoy the photo tour!

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Living Off Grid in Germany in a Skoolie Conversion

Here’s the warm and cozy interior of their bus. Love the candlelight glow!

Here’s the bus view from the other direction. Love seeing it not overly-picked-up for photos!

They extended the cab here to store a few more items. Looks super quaint.

Kai loves that their handicap access door has become an outdoor kitchen/office space.

But, of course, he can work inside as well.

Here’s another amazing wood burning stove from Cubic Mini Wood Stoves. Love!

Julie doing some amazing home cooking in the bus. Kai says they eat VERY well!

Enjoying some hobbies during quarantine. Julie is quite talented!

Here’s a before and after of some decor changes the couple made (bottom is the most recent change).

View from the large handicap side door.

And one more look of the couple’s outdoor cooking/working space.

Germany Bus Life Q&A with Kai

How many people (and animals) are living in your bus? Kai is living with Lilu (our Cat) full time in the Bus. Julie is a part time resident.

Where do you live? How long have you lived tiny? My home base is Berlin but I do live on the road most of the time. I have been living in the Bus full time for about 2 years now.

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time? I am a freelance filmmaker and photographer and I am traveling around Europe most of the time.

Why did you decide to go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of living tiny? There was a day were I realized that I had to work a lot in order to pay for stuff I didn’t really need and for a lifestyle that didn’t make me happy. So I decided to reduce things and started little by little. The less stuff I had the more I started to feel free. It was an eyeopening experience for me.

How did you first learn about bus life? I was looking for a Bus for a long time. Instagram and YouTube was a great inspiration for me.

How long did it take to finish your bus? With some little breaks it took about 8 month to get the Bus ready. Unfortunately it was way more work and took way longer than expected. But it was a very rewarding process and well worth spending a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

How did you build your bus? Did you have any help? Did you do it yourselves? We did everything by ourselves with a lot of help from YouTube tutorials. It was quite a bit of trial and error. In the end you are always smarter and we could have gone quite a bit cheaper if we would have known certain things before.

Are you comfortable sharing how much your tiny home cost? What are bills/utilites like compared to before?
Not really sure about the exact costs. It’s probably something around 30k. Unfortunately these buses are pretty expensive in Germany and our Bus needed to fulfill certain requirements in order to work for me. A lot of money went into technical details since I wanted to be able to live off the grid. I think most people don’t really need that.

How did you find a place to park and live in your bus? I haven’t found a place yet. That’s the reason why we went for a Bus and not a Tiny House. In Germany you don’t really find cool places to put your house. In the end I know now that I am a Nomad deep inside so I love to be on the move.

Before going tiny, what was life like? I had a great life. Just way to many things. Now I have less things and way more life to live.

Is there anything from your old life that you miss? Nothing at all!

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny? You save a lot of money and as a result of that you need to work way less and as a result of that you have way more time to spend for your own projects and ideas.

What about some challenges? The biggest challenge is to find great places to stay. A good spot needs to fulfill certain requirements for us. No parking next to bigger roads so Lilu can go exploring by herself. Parking next to water or up on a hill is also a huge plus. And you need good reception in order to work and stay in touch with the rest of the world which is important for me. Besides that, living off the grid is an everyday challenge in itself.

What makes your van special? Everything is special in our Bus because it’s custom made to fit our needs. Probably the biggest highlight is our wood stove though. I can’t imagine living without that little thing anymore.

What is your favorite part of your bus? These days its the big side door we have since our Bus was a “disabled“ Bus and behind the door used to be a huge wheelchair lift. The door serves now as our outdoor kitchen as well as a home office space to work and if open it makes the bus super spacious. Best thing to have in a skoolie.

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny? Start little by little and find out if that lifestyle really is for you. Take your time. There is no need to rush.

Do you have a website, blog, or social media page where we can follow along?
Yes. You can check out my work on my personal website www.branss.com Besides that I share a lot of Buslife insights on my Instagram @wetravelbybus. You can also find me on Facebook.

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Natalie C. McKee

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 two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Alison
    April 26, 2020, 9:07 pm

    The big side door with the desk/table is a great feature. I love how compact and efficient the whole bus-home is. I see the cat’s litter box, but what do the humans use?

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      April 26, 2020, 10:12 pm

      In many of these smaller conversions they have some kind of outdoor composting toilet and then use their gym membership for showering.

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