Living in a bus house

You’ve heard of Tiny Houses, now meet the people who turned a bus into a house. Julie Puckett lives in a bus with her partner Andrew. The concept, inspired by tiny houses, struck Julie years ago and she did some research to see whether it was doable or not.

Here, Julie talks to Her Collective about her life living in a bus since 2015.

How did you come to the decision to create a house bus?

Initially, we intended to buy a traditional stick – built tiny home, along the lines of Tumbleweed’s tiny houses, but once we had done a fair bit of research, we discovered that those actually aren’t as affordable as we had hoped. Instead of giving up, we decided to get creative. I stumbled upon a converted school bus in my research, and it seems like a fair compromise for us. It was also in our budget. We decided to go for it.


How long did it take you to put it together?

The bus we bought had already had most of the heavy lifting done by the time it got to our hands. A cattle rancher had made it his temporary camper during cattle season, so most of our changes were finishes, as well as finishing the floor, building the furniture, painting everything (inside and out), storage solutions, and decorating. It doesn’t sound like a terrible lot, but it took us four months to get everything ready.


What was the hardest thing about having a bus for a house? 

The hardest thing about living in a school bus is adapting to a much narrower space than we were used to. A single person could probably be very comfortable living in a school bus, but two people who are frequently sharing the space require a bit more adaptability. We’ve also had to quickly learn how to adapt the space for significant changes in our climate. Here in Georgia, Atlanta U.S. summers can be very warm, and winters very cold. We have an air conditioning unit for use in the summertime, and a couple of space heaters as well as a wood burning stove, and those have made all the difference.


What advantages do you get from living in a bus house?

Our home is mobile, so we can take it with us whenever we go on a trip. That helps to save a lot on hotels, as well as meals, since cooking your own meals is typically far less expensive than eating out. It’s also completely changed our worldview. We had to pare down on our possessions to just the bare minimum, and it’s shifted the emphasis of our trajectory towards experiences that will shape our personal growth, rather than earning a salary that will go towards a mortgage and extraneous possessions.


Is this a long term lifestyle for you guys?

That’s a great question! I really can’t say for sure. I don’t think we’ll live in the bus forever, as we’re  considering a family in the next few years. I do know that our next home won’t be what you might call a “McMansion”. We’re thinking a small home – maybe just over 1000 ft.². Very small by American standards, still.

What advice would you give those who want to make the change?

I definitely would recommend trying the small or tiny lifestyle before you commit to it. With companies like Airbnb making it possible to rent all manner of homes, I would look into staying in a tiny space for a week or so to see how the practical side of it might work for you. With the sudden popularity of tiny houses, people tend to overlook the less–than–glamorous aspects of this life. It’s not for everyone. But it is extremely rewarding if you’re willing to make some key changes.

What do you think, could you live in a bus?

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