College Student Veteran Converts Short Bus into DIY Cabin on Wheels

Brittany Newson DIY Bus Life 

Hey, world! My name is Brittany and I'm an optimistic Air Force veteran who converted a 4 window short bus. Domino is her name.

My bus life journey started after my second year at San Francisco State University (SFSU). I was paying $1,300 a month to rent a room in a house with four other people. After doing that for one year, I decided there had to be another way.

I fell in love with vanlife/buslife after watching countless videos on YouTube and I decided this was for ME!!

Bus life has helped me rediscover what makes me, Brittany, happy. I lost so much of my self being in the Air Force because I conformed into the person THEY needed/wanted me to be. 11 years, 2 months, and 23 days later...I now have the freedom to just be ME & bada ba ba baaaaa I'm Loving It! 

 School Bus Domino

Bus specs:

Make: Chevy

Model: 3500/ 4 window

Year: 1998

Interior Square Footage: Less than 80 sqft

Current Location: Reno, NV

Purchased From/Location: Online Auctions, Casper, Wyoming

Cost in materials for the conversion: Under $6k

Total time from the purchase to hitting the road: The original conversion was completed in under 3 months

 Short Bus Conversion Bus Life

Does your bus have a name? If so, why did you choose it?

Domino is her name. Bringing Dom home, my husband and I drove over 9 hours through the mountains with no mechanical issues. I figured she was lucky and named her after the Deadpool character Domino...her special power was luck!


Where are you converting/ did you convert your bus?

My initial conversion and remodel is being completed in the driveway of my apartment. To be honest, additional space would be great, but you don't need a ton of space to build.


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

My husband and I did the initial conversion. For this remodel, I've done 98% of the work myself.


What has been your favorite part of the build so far? Why?
The remodel has been my favorite part. With COVID halting the world, I have been able to sit and think about what I want to see when I wake up. I have added so many beautiful bright colors and GLITTER to Domino. I smile every time I open her doors. I trust myself with tools. I trust myself to make important build decisions. I know what I want this time around and I’m not afraid to make it happen.


 Glitter epoxy countertop  

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

Domino is all mine. I purchased her to live in while I was away at SFSU. Now that school is all online, Domino is more of an adventure mobile.


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

Before converting Domino, I only used a power drill. I learned how to use tools and build things off YouTube. I watched tons of videos, mainly videos with female builders, and used them as inspiration.


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

Self-doubt has halted many dreams from becoming a reality and I think the most important thing is to not second guess yourself so much. Yes, measure twice, or three times if you have to, BUT, when you need to make those big decisions know that you are making the right decision AND to be honest, most things aren’t permanent. Maybe you can remodel in a year like me!

 DIY School Bus Conversion

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?

I think my glitter butcher block is the centerpiece of my little cabin on wheels. It took three goes in order to get it right, but it's finally perfect and I'm happy with how it turned out! It screams Brittany.


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

My initial conversion was rushed because of my school's start date. I had kitchen cabinets from Habitat for Humanity and the style of the entire build was blah. Everything was functional but it was just blah. Now that school is out, I decided to remodel Domino and make her my little cabin on wheels. She is looking so good and like a real cozy space these days! So much has changed in less than 30 days. Domino has personality and style now.

 Camper Conversion Short Bus

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

For the most part, people weren't shocked when I announced my purchase. People who really knew me understood my vision and considered me a hippie or free spirit. So, Domino wasn't a hard pill to swallow for the masses.


How can people learn more about you?

I'm @Whereis_Brittany on Instagram and Where is Brittany on YouTube