Josie is an amazing woman who took on the challenge of ever-increasing rent prices in Kent, England, and built herself a shuttle bus home — even without any previous DIY experience! You’d never know she was inexperienced with power tools by looking at the finished product. It’s cozy, creative and adorable.
Right now, Josie lives in her bus home while working as a dancer on the West End, but she has plans to jump into full-time bus life in Spring 2024! We had the privilege of interviewing Josie, so please check out her story below, and follow her on social media for updates.
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Her DIY Bus Conversion: Three Years in the Making!
In short, my journey of tiny living began because I couldn’t afford a house. In Kent, England, where I reside, property market prices have soared to levels that have made buying a house not an affordable option for me. That’s when I began exploring alternative housing solutions. Ultimately, the idea of converting a small bus into my home felt like it could be a good fit. I opted for a small bus over a van because the extra space it provided allowed me to build and create a more comfortable living environment without having to make significant sacrifices with regards to living space.
I bought an old airport shuttle bus, stripped it back to its shell and converted it myself. I started with no prior DIY knowledge, but over the course of 3 years (which is how long the build took) I created a cosy cottage on wheels. Although it probably took me longer than most, I wouldn’t change a thing as it was an empowering journey. I learnt a lot by taking on the challenge of converting it myself and had my fair share of issues, but its all been a part of the experience which I’ve throughly enjoyed.
Currently, I work as a dancer in a show called “Magic Mike live“ in London’s West End, so most of my experience so far of living on the road has been in the areas surrounding London. However, I plan to embark on full-time bus travel in Spring 2024.
While I hope to volunteer on the road (mainly with animals and for conservation projects) I must admit, I don’t have a solid plan in place just yet in regard to making money on the road. One idea I have is to travel and teach dance workshops in different dance colleges around the UK. I also have a lot of experience as an actress and model, so plan to incorporate them into my work while living on the road somehow.
It’s a scary prospect – giving up my dream job working in the West end. I have been in the show Magic Mike Live for 5 years! But I’m taking a leap of faith and hoping for the best, fingers crossed I’ll figure things out as I go along. It’s an exciting journey into the unknown… but also terrifying.
The bus conversion has been truly eye-opening. I love how far my DIY skills have come and I find myself feeling more self-reliant and capable as a result of this journey ☺️🙌 The prospect of full-time bus travel is exciting and scary all at the same time. However, I’m really looking forward to the new experiences it will bring. I’m anticipating that leaving my friends and family behind will be one of the hardest consequences of my new lifestyle choice.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest challenges I have found with tiny living in my bus has been dealing with mould and keeping things clean after taking my dog for a muddy walk. In the past, I had to completely redo some parts of the bus due to mould issues, which was a significant task. I’ve spent months crafting my sofa, and I’m anxious it might be affected this winter.
My strategy for the upcoming season is to keep the log burner running regularly to maintain a dry environment in the bus. Proper ventilation and staying vigilant with leaks are also key priorities to hopefully prevent mould growth. (fingers crossed)
Another challenge I’ve encountered is how to clean my lovely dog Winnie after a muddy walk. In the past, I could simply give her a warm bath, which she LOVES! However, living in the bus, where my shower system works on a recirculating system, it means I can’t provide Winnie with a bath nor get her in my shower (much to Winnie’s disappointment). I’m still in search of a good solution to this particular conundrum, but it’s all part of the adventure and learning experience, I guess. ☺️
The most rewarding aspect of this journey is the sense of ownership and creation. To have something that is entirely my own, something I brought to life with my own hands, is truly priceless. The long hours of hard work, years of planning, and the sudden realisation of a finished project right before my eyes is a feeling like no other. It’s incredibly fulfilling. ☺️🙌
I think my main advice is to connect to people who are already doing what you want to do, or have achieved what you want to achieve. I found that having a community on Instagram and YouTube has really helped me find answers to most of my questions and given me the confidence, so I have been able to achieve my tiny living goals ☺️ There are so many people out there living life in a different way! It’s inspiring to see and it really helped me just go for it ! 🙌
- Josie works as a dancer with Magic Mike Live! on the West End in London, but the cost of housing was getting astronomical!
- A shuttle bus seemed like a great way for her to reduce her living expenses, and allow her to have a comfortable and cozy space.
- It took her three years to build out her bus, which she did with zero previous DIY experience. She is really proud of how far she’s come and how much it stretched her.
- The house has a super cool design, with a queen-sized bed in the back, separated from the main living area with folding shutters!
- There’s a couch right in front of that bed, with a swivel table. Then her kitchen takes up the front of the bus, with some counter space on one side, and an oven/stove on the other side.
- She chose the most adorable shabby-chic cottage aesthetic for the interior, and it’s amazing!
- A rooftop deck gives her a great spot to hang out when she hits the road full-time in Spring 2024.
- Natalie Davis (Photographer) Website
- Follow Natalie Davis on Instagram
- Follow Josie on Instagram
- Subscribe to Josie’s YouTube Channel
- Their Forest-Green Shuttle Bus Conversion
- Vandalf: 2008 Ford E-350 Shuttle Bus Conversion: Built Like a Cabin!
- Their Third Vehicle Conversion: A Shuttle Bus Tiny House
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