by oPhelia and Julien
Our story begins with 2 city-dwellers and their little dog who love being in nature We spend most of our time off playing in the great outdoors: rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing etc. Two years ago, we made the leap and rented a cabin in the forest nestled in the mountains. After a year, we decided that we wanted something of our own. Unfortunately, we were not able to find land that we loved and that didn’t require us to sign over the rest of our active lives to a mortgage (we live in one of the most expensive real estate areas in North America). That’s when we got creative and this school bus home came to be.
We live in our school bus all year-round. It is currently parked on a bio-dynamic farm with cows, chickens, horses and plenty of forest along a river. After just one year of being in it, we have paid it off and the rent for the land is a quarter of the rent of living in the city. Our plan is to one day find land that we love and to drive our bus home there. At that point, we can continue to live in the bus as is… or expand it (adding an extension and/or a second floor)… or build an actual house and turn the bus into a B&B… or use the bus as a guesthouse… or even sell it… The possibilities are endless!
School bus living reflects our values. We believe in living simply (i.e. not having too much ‘stuff’ and having a smaller footprint on the earth). We value our time and prefer to spend it doing the things that we love rather than spending countless hours at work to pay off a huge mortgage. We found a way to minimize our expenses without compromising having a beautiful home. We built it into the wood cabin that we dreamed of – the interior is lined with wood, from the floor to walls to ceiling. It is a super cozy space with all the modern luxuries: a gas stove (and oven), fridge, washer/dryer, shower/toilet, on-demand hot water, electric heaters.
When we look out of our (many) windows, we see only trees and mountains. We are a short walk to the river and the lake, and a bike ride away from the Pacific Ocean. We have access to fresh eggs and milk from happy animals and a plethora of organic veggies from our farmer/gardener neighbours. If we drive one hour in one direction, we arrive in Vancouver – and have all that a big city has to offer. Half an hour in the other direction brings us to Whistler – a world famous ski resort and mountain town (2010 Winter Olympics). When we are not outside, we can be found on a yoga mat, at the library, talking about the meaning of life, or drinking wine. Our bus home allows us to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world in an affordable way that does not require us to compromise our values and way of life. Not to mention that it is just cool to live in a big yellow school bus!
We have documented the journey of school bus conversion (from bus seats to cozy cabin living) in our blog: teenytinyliving.blogspot.com
Our bus is also published in the book: Tiny Homes on the Move
oPhelia (Julien & Pico)