Former UK police officer brings Icelandic locals & tourists together

in school bus turned coffee shop.

Looking for a remote place to enjoy bus life and a good cup of coffee... In Iceland? In the shadow of a volcano?? Check out Skool Beans Cafe with your hosts Holly Keyser and Jeffarious Edwardious the First aka Jeffrey the bus cat.

Holly Keyser Skool Beans Cafe 

My name is Holly Keyser. I am a 38-year-young woman, UK born, Australian resident, Icelandic resident, former police officer, “small changes make a big difference fighter” and entrepreneur! Haha! I was a police officer for ten years in the UK, I took a career break to go traveling while raising money for the local Air Ambulance in the UK. After a year of travel, I moved to Australia and stayed in Melbourne for a little over six years. Wishing to be closer to home, I came to Iceland to be a Glacier Guide and have been settled in Iceland for the last three years. I opened the newest addition to Iceland's hospitality scene on the 01st August 2020, Skool Beans coffee bus, located in the southernmost town of Iceland, Vik.

Skool Beans Cafe Sign IcelandSkool Beans Bagel Muffin Donut Cafe

Bus specs:

Make: Thomas Vista
Model: School Bus
Motor: NO idea! (That’s terrible I know!)
Year: 1996
Current Location: Vik, South Iceland
Purchased From/Location: A guiding company in Iceland who used to use it to convey clients to and from the river for river rafting trips
Cost in materials for the conversion: Full conversion not including stock 14,500 USD (Roughly… Iceland is VERY expensive!)
Total time from purchase date to on the road: 2 years

Skool Beans Coffee Bus Iceland

Interviewee: Holly Keyser and Jeffarious Edwardious the First (Jeffrey)

Bus Cat Jeffarious Edwardious the First aka Jeffrey Skool Beans Cafe Iceland

Why a bus?
After living in Melbourne for so long it was clear that the food truck industry was a massive deal.
Top chefs who would normally be hidden away in a restaurant were suddenly able to open incredible food outlets with low overheads in creative and flexible environments. The low overheads were reflected in the affordable cost of the takeaway opinions which opened up a new wave of great quality food choices for everyday people.
When I arrived in Iceland I was… let’s just say a little disappointed in the hot drink scene, to say the least. I felt like many places outside of the capital city (Reykjavik) lacked creativity and pride in what they were offering. Only catering towards coaches of tourists and not necessarily considering the locals. This was not true for all cases but there seemed to be an uneven balance.

Obviously Iceland has an extreme climate so having a standard food truck was not an option. The wind can literally roll cars over and smash through windows!
I wanted to revolutionize the food truck industry in Iceland by allowing people to come inside to order, wait and sit and enjoy their purchase.
The health and safety department reviewed my case and thankfully allowed the blurred line between restaurants and food trucks to work in my favour and ta daaaa! Skool Beans opened!

Skool Beans Cafe coffee Coffee Shop Inside


Where did you convert your bus?
The bus was already in Iceland and formally owned by a guiding company who let is just sit and rot for two years in a yard in the belief that it was broken down beyond repair!
BUT… I had an amazing friend who learnt how to become a mechanic on that exact bus!! He told me he could fix it, I offered them less than scrap value for it and they accepted 600 USD for it!!!! Two new batteries and an ignition wire later and away we drove to their frustration!
I converted it for the first year on the driveway of my house in Iceland. I have VERY kind neighbours who didn’t mind the overhanging bus on the pavement outside of the house and local police officers and a town mayor who were very supportive of the project. You see, it’s more than just a food truck for the town, it’s a new concept here in Iceland that elevates the coffee scene and connects tourists and locals together with a few simple elements I've included within the bus.

Now, “why did it take two god damn years to convert?” That’s simple… I did it all myself.

 

Learning, making mistakes, correcting mistakes, and working full-time to save for the conversion myself meant that it just took this long.
I can’t tell you how many YouTube videos I watched, or how many desperate or teary calls I made to my father but eventually, I got it done.
I have to admit, I had help from amazing friends for the jobs that would have been silly of me to try such as the electricity and the counter building. Especially because I used some beautiful dark wood and it cost me over a month's salary!

My Dad saved the day a couple of times when he came to visit and a local Icelandic friend saved all of the other days that I needed saving! I can proudly say that most of the work and every inch of the design and concept was my brainchild and my efforts. I feel super proud of the outcome which is a fantastic feeling.

Holly Keyser Skool Beans Paint Coffee Bus Iceland

 


What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far?
I had zero experience in conversions like this but a lot of experience in interior design and concept construction, I felt confident in the space and zones I was creating but the actual conversion was a massive learning curve. I have no idea there were metal self-tapping screws or if something was galvanized or not or what epoxy resin or epoxy glue was! My goodness, I think I could write a book about it all now to help out others in my situation!
I have to say though, I feel pretty badass knowing what I do now about Skoolie conversions!

 

Tips/tricks/advice to help others have who want/are converting a vehicle? Something you wish you had known going into this? Any current troubles?

I wish I had known more about roof hatched and window leaks because Iceland is extreme when it comes to wind and rain. Depending on what country you live in and how much access you have to materials, the budget is so important. Iceland is crazy expensive and for anyone who has been here, I’m certain they will agree.

If I were to do another conversion, and I plan on doing so, I would map out the zoning and create a budget for each area. I would buy the right tools and suck up the cost of those tools because trying to make the wrong tools work only takes up way more time and probably ends up costing you more in the long run. You can get great second-hand tools online in most countries, or borrow them and if you decide to buy them, you can always sell them afterward.
Finally, tidy up at the end of each construction day so that the next day is begun with an organised space.

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?
Wow, this is a great question because it’s a really unique concept here in Iceland. I didn’t insulate it because I really needed the height space, I didn’t add a funky door or a deck on the roof. I just kept the internal structure of the bus as an empty shell and added to it.

So…. because of that, I added a big log burning stove that would normally be used in a house or larger building. It’s great! It looks stunning, it smells divine from the outside and it kicks out enough heat to keep people warm even on a freezing day.

Aside from that, I would say the stunning Icelandic sweater that was custom made for the driver's seat, haha! It was made by a local girl who can knit a traditionally and as a gift to the bus she knitted a custom seat cover in the style of an Icelandic sweater!

Conversion aside, I think the Bacon and Mapel latte is pretty unique (And of course the resident cat “Jeffarious, Edwardious the first” who was described on Trip Advisor as “A hospitable gentleman!!”

Skool Beans bus Cafe coffee

What about the bus has helped you be successful in reaching your lifestyle goals?
I want to revolutionise the food truck industry here in Iceland and bring in a new idea that can allow others to follow in my footsteps. So far I have been a roaring success in only 20 days, attracting media attention from Icelandic news reporters from all channels. Not only because I have opened a business in the midst of a global pandemic, but because of the concept.

Skool Beans in the smallest micro-roastery in the country. I’m the only Tea-lab in the country, offering 25 varieties of tea from around the world and making handmade soaps and face scrubs from the tea and coffee I offer.

I’m here to show people what they should expect and to push environmental awareness. I am organic and fair trade, plastic-free and I promote “responsible disposal” by offering a 10isk cash reward for anyone who returns their cup to me. This way I can assure that I minimise littering and promote recycling.

All of the takeaway cups are biodegradable and I use organic chocolate for the chocolate drinks where I experiment with different styles of chocolate mixology: white chocolate, lemon juice, and black pepper. Smoked dark chocolate and beetroot and bitter chocolate and Turkish candy floss are just a few options on the menu.

Along with that, I have “screen-free hours” where I try and promote conversations with humans rather than technology. So far, that’s a great success and I also have a free book exchange. The book exchange is a way for tourists to offload heavy books in exchange for any book they choose. It’s also a way for locals to have access to the latest books. For free… Because it’s nice to be nice.
I am the only provider in Iceland of the Happy News and I think there is no better time than to have that available.
So… My life goal… To make people a little more considerate… and to hopefully pay off my home loan in doing so!

Happy News skool beans Coffee Shop Iceland

How has the pandemic affected bus life for you?
It’s odd because Iceland was almost unaffected by the pandemic. That was until other countries allowed for travel. Iceland was then hit with a new wave of COVID19 and consequently started to enforce a strict quarantine rule. These rules came into effect 24 hours before Skool Beans was due to open. I think I thought about delaying the opening for about 5 seconds before I figured, “Hey, we need a space like this at this time.”

I opened with strict COVID social distancing rules, applied online ordering systems, and a drive-through option, and apparently, Iceland is pretty happy with it.
I have people traveling for 2 hours to try the beans I roast and so far I am in the running for the best coffee in Iceland. The media loves it because I have opened a business in the toughest time and the locals are shows a huge army of support and even local restaurants such as The Soup Company are sending people my way.

Collaborations between me and cheesemakers in the Westmann Islands (Vestmannajar) are in the making and I think as a whole, Iceland is standing strong and supporting a space where only positivity is enforced! I mean, even the password for the WIFI is ‘Have a great day” and the first rule when you enter is “It’s nice to be nice.”
This is all new in Iceland and normally new places are only targeting tourists and fast cash. Skool Beans is wanting to push amazing produce and happy vibes. And…. it’s a massive yellow skoolie in the middle of Iceland underneath a gigantic volcano that could erupt any day (Katla) so that get s a fair bit of interest flowing!!!

Skool beans Coffee Shop COVID Iceland

Where do you project you’ll be three months from now?
Hmmmmm.. Well stricter rules just came into play so it’s a toughy, that question, but I really hope that I will be able to tick along smoothly. Perhaps it will quiet down and I can work on collaborations with other local companies and introduce coffee roasting events and chocolate mixology nights to at least keep the locals engaged and give them things to look forward to at this time.

All going to plan, I hope in three months I will have proved to Iceland that we took can have an all year round food truck industry and that can be used to showcase exceptional goods with low overheads in creative spaces and locations.

Skool Beans Tea Lab Iceland
How can people learn more about you (social media, website, etc.)?
Awesome! My website (Which I need to update and make a LOT better) is www.skoolbeans.com
Instagram is @skool_beans and Facebook is Skool Beans. I’m pretty active on Instagram and I try and make sure that anyone that shares a story gets shared by me again as a thank you for supporting this small and mighty venture.

Skool Beans Coffee Bus Iceland Cups

More Articles By Little House On The Hwy

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

 

Holistic "Earth Mama" builds chic custom skoolie for family to attain financial freedom.

Courtney Jolivette Bus conversion diy Skoolie 

Courtney "Earth Mama" Jolivette is a mother, doula, author, blogger, and holistic content creator. She has also been busy building her own bus into a tiny home on wheels for her family in Atlanta, Georgia. And they recently moved onto the bus full-time. Although Courtney already had experience living an off-grid, minimal lifestyle, bus life has enabled her to further pursue financial freedom and the ability to find and purchase land for her family. Follow Courtney's adventures here.

Courtney Jolivette Bus Life Thomas International Skoolie

Bus specs:
Make/ Model: Thomas International
Year: 2002
Current Location: Atlanta, GA.
Purchased From/Location: Alabama
Cost in materials for the conversion: paid $4500 for the bus and put in a little over $12,000 in materials and builder supplies, donations included
Total time from purchase date to life on the road: purchased in May and worked through the build and moved in July with still a little left to do. But I'm mostly done.


Why a bus?

I wanted to do bus life two years prior to the build. I felt like I needed change and I felt that bus life would give me that. I had already lived off-grid prior. Financial freedom and elevation is always the main goal. To achieve that I needed to minimize my surroundings. It was an easy transition being that I was already in a minimal lifestyle.

 Bus Life Skoolie Interior framing Courtney Jolivette

Does your bus have a name or phrase you call it? Why did you choose it?

I call her melanin because of the HUE-man I am. I chose her because of her beautiful brown tone.

 

Will you be full-timing?

My kids and I live on the bus full-time and we also travel. Currently looking to purchase land outside the country.

 

Where are you converting/ did you convert your bus?

We converted the bus in Atlanta, GA. And yes I was hands-on for most of the build.

Courtney Jolivette model bunk beds Bus diy Skoolie


Did you do the conversion yourself or did you hire someone?

Most of the build was me and my partner prior alongside a lot of family and friends we’ve made along the way.

 

Who are you living/traveling with?

I live with my family which includes four kids, three boys one girl.

 Bus Life Q&A Courtney Jolivette

Were you all on the same page about living bus life or did one person (or more) have to be convinced?

No, we weren’t all on the same page, but change is inevitable and to see the end goal you have to be willing to change.

 

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far?

I’m pretty handy so a lot of the build was ok. We had a lot of volunteers and help as well. I learned so much along the way, especially about measurements and construction.

 

Tips/tricks/advice to help others have who want/are converting a vehicle?

My only advice is to do what you want and follow how you feel. Nothing should stop you.

 

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?

The most unique feature I have to say is the bohemian aesthetic feel and the compost toilet area because of the faux grass along with the brick wall.

 Diy Skoolie bathroom design bus life adventure

What do you do for income? How often do you work while on the bus?

I am a content creator of brands so I make my income by showing the products of holistic, ethical, and sustainable brands. I’m always working on the bus.

 

Is there anything you wish you did differently in your build?

The only thing I wished I’d done differently was to leave more room in the front area for a bigger living space.

 

What are your lifestyle goals while living in the bus?

The goals I have are for financial freedom and purchasing as much land as I can for all my children.

 

What has been people’s reaction to you buying a bus to live in?

The outpouring of support has been amazing actually and I’m beyond grateful for it because it’s been more than enough support.

 Bus Life Skoolie Interior Courtney Jolivette

Have you met other skoolies or buslifers on the road?

I have met a lot of skoolies along the way and they’ve contributed a lot of advice and references for the build.

More Articles By Little House On The Hwy

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

 

 

 

This couple met in pre-school and later converted a local school bus in their hometown in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Alex and Sarah Mini Squad Skoolie diy short School  bus conversion

 

Next up, we are proud to introduce you to the next build in The Bus Fair Feature Series, Mini Squad Skoolie:

Hi! We are Alex & Sarah and we live in our Mini Squad Skoolie! We’re originally from Pennsylvania and have been stationed in San Diego, California. Building this bus and traveling the country makes us feel like we’re truly living our dream. For anyone who is considering a conversion, we highly recommend it! There definitely have been some bumps along the way, but we are so grateful to be living this lifestyle.

 Mini Squad Skoolie Insurance Follow My Agent Short Bus conversion

Bus specs:
Make: Chevy
Model: 3500 Bluebird Shorty
Motor: 6.5L Diesel
Year: 2000
Interior Square Footage: 100 sqft.
Current Location: Northeast Pennsylvania
Purchased From/Location: Jim Thorpe, PA
Cost in materials for the conversion: 15,000 - 20,000?
Total time from purchase date to on the road: 4 months

Mini Squad Skoolie Interior diy short School bus conversion Kitchen sink

Why a bus?
We were living in Center City Philadelphia, and eager to start traveling and exploring the country. We fell in love with the west coast, and Sarah found a job in San Diego which allows her to work remotely part-time. The bus was initially going to be used as a moving truck and it evolved into more than we could’ve imagined. It started with some engine work, then we said “let's paint it a cool color!” and that is where our tiny home quickly escalated from there. The bus took about four months to complete with all hands on deck and continues to be a project we keep modifying to fit our lifestyle!

 

Where did you purchase your bus?
We actually found our bus locally to where we grew up. Alex’s mom is a special education teacher at Jim Thorpe Highschool where the bus was used! Our bus really came full circle after realizing his mom’s students rode on it throughout the years, making it that much more special to us.

 Mini Squad Skoolie bus diy bathroom shower toilet tiny house

Where are you converting/ did you convert your bus?
We converted the bus in the Poconos in Northeast Pennsylvania, where we grew up! The conversion took place in Sarah’s dad’s garage during the Winter months which made the build a bit more difficult. We purchased the bus in November 2018 and completed the build in March 2019 before leaving for California.

 

Who are you living/traveling with?
Just us, Sarah and Alex. We have known each other since pre-school days. Alex’s mom was our preschool teacher. We grew up together but did not start dating until college when we both went to Philadelphia for school. We’re also looking forward to getting a dog soon to join our adventures!

 

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far?
Alex grew up working with his Dad on their home, vehicles, motorcycles, and other toys throughout the years. Sarah on the other hand never picked up a power tool prior to this project. We have learned so much from building this bus. From carpentry to plumbing, to electrical, to mechanical skills, etc. This bus conversion has given us confidence in ourselves that we never realized we had. Prior to the conversion, we couldn’t have dreamed of building a tiny home on wheels. It was a project that allowed us to work closely with our friends and families and create lifelong memories and skills.

 Mini Squad Skoolie Interior office kitchen living space bus conversion

Tips/tricks/advice to help others have who want/are converting a vehicle? Something you wish you had known going into this? Any current troubles?
Something we learned is that each project takes twice if not three times as long as you think it will. So try not to get upset or discouraged during different aspects of your build!
As we mentioned, we didn’t buy the bus with the intention to turn it into a skoolie. If we were to do another bus, we would probably get a bigger chassis and a different motor. We didn’t consider the amount of weight we were adding onto the bus, and realized that a 3500 chassis is a little small for everything we added. We ended up installing airbags in the rear to help support the weight.

 Mini Squad Skoolie diy office tiny house bus

What is the most unique feature of your conversion? We would probably say our new office/dining/living room setup is one of the most unique features. We had to completely re-customize our workspace in the bus. As much as we loved the dinettes, we were unable to both work from our small table. So we removed the dinette and found seats that had armrests and seatbelts off of Craigslist and got swivel mounts for the seats. Our desk area tables can fold up into a table and lay flat against the wall as well. We bought computer monitor mounts that we attached to the side of our window frames, which are removable and allow us to move it to the bed area as well. Also, we have kept our table from the dinette, so when we have dinner, we can still sit across from each other. The seats we installed can recline, so the area is also our living room space if we want to relax or watch a movie/show. This set up so far is much more efficient and comfortable for us (so happy we did it!). Being in a space this small, you have to think out of the box and create spaces that are multifunctional!


Many people ask “what is the chain noise I hear under your bus” and the bus actually came equipped with Onspot’s which are automatic tire chains. They require an air compressor and air tank to operate. The arms with chains near the rear inner tire fold down and ride along the inner tire throwing the chains attached under the tire as it moves forward or reverses. It’s a great feature to have when traveling in the snow.

 

What do you do for income? How often do you work on the bus?
Alex is an insurance agent and Sarah works for a telemedicine company. We are traveling across the country this summer and our goal is to hit all four corners of the country while working along the way!

 Mini Squad Skoolie exterior diy short School  bus conversion

What has been people’s reaction to you buying a bus to live in?
When we first started the build in our hometown, people were kind of shocked, especially some family members. However, once the build really started to come together, everyone got on board and was really excited for us!

 

Have you met other Skoolies?
We went to our first Skooliepalooza this past year and it was truly amazing! We also attended Tinyfest in Del Mar which was such a fun experience! We’ve met so many great people and you really appreciate everyone's build and all the creativity/hard work they’ve put into their homes to make it their own. We definitely feel there is a sense of community with everyone who has a conversion and we are looking forward to future events and meeting new people!

 

Tell us about your layout. Kitchen? Bathroom? Bedroom?
The layout was one of the hardest parts of the bus to plan because we have such a small space. One of our requirements was to have a bathroom, but also enough countertop space in the kitchen and a place to sit/eat. We spent so much time researching how other small buses did their layouts and creating our own multiple times to fit our needs. However, after living in our bus, we realized that our dinette was not the most ideal for both of us working remotely and replaced it with side by side captain's seats and fold-down tables. For our bathroom, we have a small wet bath (shower/toilet combo) with an RV style toilet and black water tank beneath.

In our kitchen, we have a sink, faucet, drinking water spout, two-burner propane stove, and a Whynter fridge/freezer combo. We initially had a microwave and a toaster oven but realized we barely used them and they drew so much power. We ended up removing them and adding more storage drawers in their place, as, with a bus our size, storage has been a priority! We recently built a hydraulic lift under the bed for our clothing storage - this has been a huge space saver and allows us to use our upper cabinets for additional storage that we previously did not have. We have had our bus for a little over a year, and have learned that even after you’ve completed your build it’s okay to continue to make modifications that better fit your lifestyle!

Mini Squad Skoolie bedroom bus bed diy tiny houseMini Squad Skoolie bus  under bed storage hacks diy

How can people learn more about you (social media, website, etc.)?
Our Instagram name is @MiniSquadSkoolie and @Follow_My_Agent and Alex’s website is www.FollowMyAgent.com

More Articles By Little House On The Hwy

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Saskatoon artists turn short bus into dog-friendly adventure rig 

The Bus Fair 2020 had to be postponed until June 2021, so we are digitally coming together for the bus community! Thirty unique skoolies were chosen to be Featured Exhibitors at The Bus Fair. Since we're unable to meet in person - we're bringing a handful of these bus conversions right to you. Meet Determined Life Adventures and their "Gus Bus".

 

Logan  Brooke Determined Life bus vanlife

Written by: Logan & Brooke, Determined Life Bus

We are Logan and Brooke and this is our story and how we found our bus, Gus. We are a young couple originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We met four, exciting, adventure-filled years ago. We recently spent a year living on Vancouver Island, BC where we converted our 20ft short bus, Gus, into our dream tiny home on wheels.

When we made the 1800km move from Saskatoon to Vancouver Island we bought an old RV that we planned to live in and renovate into a tiny home. On the way there the RV died on us and we were left finding a home to rent as our new job was starting asap. This was one of the most stressful things we have endured as a couple, finally moving to our dream location. We didn’t let it stop us though, we are resilient and determined with all we do, hence our social media name @determinedlifeadventures.

We dreamed of moving to BC to live the lifestyle that we desire, focusing on our hobbies (snowboarding, longboarding, hiking, camping, biking, etc.) and getting to be outdoors as much as possible. We found ourselves not being able to enjoy all the things we moved there for because of where we were living, the jobs we had, etc. We also felt cheated that we hadn't truly had the chance to live vanlife as a way to experience all the things we love while traveling, and so we found Gus, our bus.

We found Gus in Squamish BC, and so we took the ferry ride over to the mainland to bring him home and begin our project. At the time we got Gus, we weren't working as our boss was on a trip for five weeks, which gave us a good chunk of time to get our bus ready. We are extremely creative people. Logan is a Red Seal Welder and I am a photographer. We also build completely handmade and painted longboards from start to finish. We can't wait to get some feedback on them and share them with those at The Bus Fair. Since we are both artists, this project was so much fun as we had an empty canvas to work with!

We chose bus life because we believe there is no definition of what a 'regular' life should look like and believe there is no right or wrong for how you should be living your life. We are extremely hard-working people with big aspirations and this lifestyle will only help us achieve our goals faster and realistically also. We are spontaneous people who like to live life on a whim. We travel in our bus with our two dogs, a 3-year-old boxer named Meech and a 6-year-old Staffordshire Bull-Terrier named Rocco and they love bus life just as much or more than we do if that’s possible. The four of us are happy as long as we are all together, adventuring. We spend all our time together and so living in a tiny home on wheels was not a concern for us whatsoever, it was extremely exciting.

We are so proud of the fact that we built Gus from start to finish completely on our own, learning as we went. We chose a bus to reduce our ecological footprint, to connect with nature, connect with each other and ourselves, eliminate the everyday distractions that get in the way of quality time, work to live not live to work, save money for future goals, focus on our passions, experience more of our beautiful world and live where we want/when we want.

We are excited to be going to The Bus Fair to meet so many people from this amazing community of van/bus lifers. We have only attended one small vanlife event in Squamish, BC but had to leave in order to get back to Vancouver Island for work. We are excited about all the inspiration we will find from the other attendees and their masterpiece tiny homes that they have created. 

Determined Life Skoolie Short bus diy home

Bus Specs:

Make: Ford
Model: E350 Superduty with a short bus chassis attached
Motor: 6 Litre Powerstroke
Year: 2006
Interior Square Footage: About 90 sq ft.
Current Location: Saskatoon, Sk
Purchased From/Location: Squamish, BC
Cost in materials for the conversion: $9200 (cost of bus) $2000 (Conversion materials-we repurposed a lot of material we found)
Total time from the purchase date to on the road: Purchased on-Feb 16, 2019 Moved into bus-April 28-2019 (about 10 weeks for full renovation) Though we were driving/ taking it on small trips regularly throughout


Why a bus?
We chose a bus to reduce our ecological footprint, to connect with nature, connect with each other and ourselves, eliminate the everyday distractions that get in the way of quality time, work to live not live to work, save money for future goals, focus on our passions, experience more of our beautiful world and live where we want/when we want. We also chose a bus in comparison to a van as we wanted to be able to fully stand up and have ample room with our pups. We love that with a bus we are responsible for things like making sure we have water every day and propane to cook and all the essentials for daily life, it gives you a different perspective to not take what you have for granted.

What we loved about choosing a bus, that was virtually an empty shell when we got it, was that we had absolute free reign on the design, like building a home from the ground up. We built the bus completely to our and our dogs' needs. Every inch of the bus has an exact purpose and in some cases multiple uses. From hidden closets inside walls, to slide out dishes for our pups, to fitting our extensive clothing/shoe collection, to all of our outdoor gear, snowboards, to a hidden table for eating and painting, to a rooftop deck, we thought of it all and never felt like we had to compromise on not having the things we simply couldn't live without.

Bus build Interior stove kitchen skoolie vanlife

Does your bus have a name or phrase you call it? If so, why did you choose it?
Our bus’s name is Gus Bus. The day we went to look at him before deciding to purchase, Brooke mentioned Gus Bus as we had just watched the movie “Benchwarmer’s” and the nickname of one of the characters is called ‘Gus Bus’ and it just fit him perfectly!

Will you be full-timing?
We lived in our bus full-time from April 28th, 2019 - August 30, 2019. We had every intention of living in our bus longer, and may still. We came back to Saskatoon, SK, where we are originally from for a wedding last summer and were going to head back to see other parts of beautiful BC, though we decided to stay back and work to save money as Logan was able to work for his previous employer as he is a Red Seal welder. And Saskatchewan winters are INSANELY cold so we had to give in and move into a house over the winter. If all goes as planned, be moving back to Vancouver Island and we could not be more excited to get Gus Bus back to his natural habitat. If we are not living in Gus Bus full time we will be using him as much as possible for camping trips and adventures whenever possible!

 Determined Life Bus build Brooke Logan

Where are you converting/ did you convert your bus?

We were lucky enough to be able to work on our conversion of Gus Bus at our suite where we were living in Sooke, BC on Vancouver Island.

Did you do the conversion yourself or did you hire someone?
We did the entire conversion from start to finish ourselves, learning lots on the fly as we went.

Who are you living/traveling with?
Our little adventure pack includes: Logan(24), Brooke(23), Meech(our 3-year-old Boxer pup), and Rocco (our 6-year-old Staffordshire Bull-Terrier).

Determined Life Skoolie Short bus dogs nomad

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself so far?
We are both super creative people. Logan is a Red-seal welder that came in handy for having all the right tools to cut steel and in building our tiny wood stove. We learned how to do electrical and plumbing as we went, thanks to YouTube, and managed to get everything working very well. We were working for a construction company right before we bought Gus Bus. We were building homes, so we took our framing knowledge into our build as we created our walls, cabinets, closet, couch, etc. Then we got creative in building cabinet/ closet doors as we found old pallets and tore them apart and recreated them into doors and drawers. We painted our interior fun colors of stain and used old rugs/ flags from our suite to make our space reflect us and our fun personalities. We built each nook and cranny of the bus to hold a specific purpose or multiple ones and we love how it turned out and are extremely proud of the fact that we did it on our own.

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?
Besides our rooftop deck feature, our most unique feature of Gus Bus would have to be the unique storage solutions we came up with to not feel like we were limited on what we could pack/ or feel crammed in with the pups.

Skoolie Dog Bed Determined Life

1. We built the dogs their own bed underneath ours, which also features a hidden closet in one of the walls which holds all of our towels/ cleaning supplies.

2. We built a hidden drawer in the bottom of our couch for our dogs' food dishes so they can be put away and kept tidy, only out when needed.

3. We built a hidden compartment above our dogs' bed where our dining table slides out of.

4. Our couch opens up to be a massive storage space underneath.

5. Underneath our bed is a massive storage compartment that we access by lifting three plywood sheets in sections to reveal different compartments. One in particular that we access from on our bed holds all of our snowboarding gear and camping gear. The rest of the area under our bed is our ‘garage’ which we access from the back doors of Gus. Here we have our shower, two big drawers full of gear, fitness equipment, and our two water jugs, our propane tank, and our full-size toolbox fit here as well.

 

What do you think will be the hardest thing about this whole lifestyle change/ living/traveling in a bus? Easiest thing?

Living in a bus isn't hard at all, it is freeing. However, make sure you know two things: where you are allowed to sleep and where the nearest washrooms are...or a good nearby tree/bush will do! The easiest thing is being able to be one with the outdoors and step out and explore and having everything you own with you in one small space!

 Vanlife Interior Determined Life Skoolie Short bus diy home

What about the bus will help you be successful in reaching your lifestyle goals?
Living in a bus helps you realize what is really a necessity and important. It helps you connect more and save more money by choosing where to stay and when and being able to see more of the beautiful planet. We couldn't decide where in BC we wanted to live and so we thought a bus would be the perfect solution so that we could live in every place for a short while and see more beautiful sights.

 

What have been people’s reactions to you buying a bus to live in? Have you met other Skoolies?

People’s reactions have been a bit mixed, some good, some negative, some think we're crazy haha but for the most part good. Most people we meet are excited for us being that we are some of the youngest people(that we have met at least) doing this and how creative we have been with it by taking our hobbies on the road with us. A lot of older people tell us they are living vicariously through us and it makes them smile! We have met a few other skoolies. While we were living in Squamish, BC, last summer we met an awesome skoolie named Doris and a few other buses but mostly a lot of vans there that were awesome as well! We are excited to get back to BC to see more bus/ van lifer’s again and go on tons of adventures.

 

What is the most memorable place you’ve traveled in your bus conversion?

Our most memorable, favorite place that we have traveled in Gus Bus so far would have to be Buttle Lake on Vancouver Island.

 Vancouver Island Determined Life bus

How can people learn more about you (social media, website, etc.)?

We have an Instagram account as well as a Facebook page called @determinedlifeadventures. We also have a website, determinedlifeadventures.com where we write our unique travel stories in a blog(like the time we slept in a haunted parking lot), share our Youtube videos, our photography and our handmade and painted longboards that we build. We also have a Youtube channel @determinedlifeadventures where we create fun buslife & adventure & wellness videos.

Bus Vanlife Couple Logan Booke Determined Life

More Articles By Little House On The Hwy

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4