Vehicle Model
2004 International IC RE

Primary Category
Best Bus

Secondary Category
Best Home Built

Instagram @sincewewokeup

Additional Info
In 2018 we decided to sell our business, three-story home, and most of our possessions to convert a school bus into a tiny home and travel full-time. We had everything we’d been told would make us happy, but we weren’t. We realized no matter how much we amassed – wealth, success, possessions – what we really wanted was freedom to travel, experience life, and not be tied down to debt. We found our bus, Oliver, in May 2018 and moved in exactly one year on May 29th. The process of converting a school bus into a skoolie that could comfortably house four people and a Great Dane wasn’t easy, especially since we had to simultaneously run and prepare to sell off a business, house, car, and lifetime of possessions that we no longer needed. We also had very little previous construction experience, meaning we learned everything as we went along. Oliver is entirely self-converted with help from friends and family here and there for larger projects. My dad was a huge help and did our metal work for us, including our front door and wood stove surround. Oliver is a 40′ International RE with a DT466 and Alison 3000 in his rear compartment. We equipped him with two forty-gallon white water tanks, a 600W solar system and 600 aH battery bank that run both DC and AC power using a 1,000W inverter, and two twenty-pound propane tanks. He has a tankless hot water heater, nearly full-size Dometic fridge, and three-burner Atwood range. He weighs in at 18K pounds fully loaded and has a top speed of 85mph. Our layout includes an open living area with a seven-foot platform couch that offers storage underneath, fold-down Murphy couch hidden in the mantle, spots to hang a full-size hammock or hammock chair up front, 40″ television on a pullout swivel, and foldaway table and seats. The two couches were made from twin mattresses that double as beds for our teens. The kitchen has an L-shaped bank of cabinets with concrete countertops that offer plenty of storage, a large pantry shelf on the side of the fridge, and open shelving for herbs along the length. The sink is built-in to the concrete and has a large faucet with pot-filler and sprayer. On the far end of the cabinets is a built-in eating nook with stackable stools. Our appliances were a mismatched set that we did a brushed rose gold finish on to make them match. We utilize a Jotul wood stove for heat in the winter. It’s housed in a concrete surround that has a metal heat shield and a built-in concrete wood box. Next to the woodstove is a decorative wall with a world map cork board that records our travels. Our bathroom is done wetroom style from the same feather finish concrete we used in the kitchen, which kept our build lighter. We have a copper shower with attachments, a built-in fifty-gallon concrete bathtub, Nature’s Head composting toilet, and a small vanity sink with matching copper faucet. The bathtub is filled using the hose attachment on the showerhead and is mostly used when we’re parked near water hookups. On the floor, we used Acacia wood tiles. The door to the bathroom is a full-length mirror on a sliding door. In the back is the master bedroom. We have a Queen-sized platform bed that has three huge storage drawers and a ton of additional surrounding storage accessible by hatch doors. Instead of walling off the rear-engine, we created a window seat on top of it! On the roof, there’s a small deck that we love to watch sunsets from, and underneath there are four large cargo bays that allow us to pack a ton of additional camping and traveling gear with us. Before the Coronvirus hit, we had made it through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, where we’re currently holed up waiting until we can travel again. In May of this year, we will have lived here for one year, including a Montana winter with sub-zero temps, and we can say exactly one thing – we have no regrets and no plans to leave this life any time soon. Life with Oliver means more time together out making memories, more time with our quickly growing kiddos, financial freedom, and more time doing what fills us with joy. Thanks for taking the time to read our story. You can see more of our adventures by visiting our Instagram page!