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Old 12-29-2018, 07:40 PM   #1
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Hello from Austin (and later Maine)

Hello all!

I have been lurking a bit but figured now that I've an account I should say hello. I am currently in the research phase, but very much looking into the conversion process for a skoolie. I've time on my side to figure out the details currently, so want to learn what I can from reading through the forums and asking questions along the way

My basic scenario: Currently live in Austin, TX but originally from New England. Been in Austin for past 5 years but starting to plan my exit from Texas (Texit). I am an Occupational Therapist, and one of the benefits to this career area is that there is a lot of contract work available out there. Many contract therapists are RV'ers, rolling around from 3 month contract to 3 month contract. Makes sense to be able to take your home with you for this type of work. I've had my eye on venturing into contract work pretty much since I started working as an OT and know a few people who have done it/currently are doing it/about to do it. For a therapist with an itch for travel, hard to beat! On top of this I've also been pretty fascinated with the tiny house concept, have helped some friends build their own as well and have kept this idea in the back of my head. So a skoolie seems like a pretty great fit overall


Borrowing from this dude's facebook page, his bus's general layout is what I have in mind (I'd want to have a "garage" area for a motorcycle/gear/tools)

https://www.facebook.com/Skoolie-Bui...1850784388238/

My basic plans currently are to leave Austin late next summer and head back to Maine, where my folks currently reside. I'd be able to store some of the fairly minimal belongings here and make this basic "home base" for a time. Before venturing into any concrete bus build steps, I'd first venture out and complete a contract to save some extra build money as well as get a taste for the life and make sure it feels like a good fit. If all is still looking good with the plan, I'd move forward with a skoolie build. The Maine "home base" at my folks place is pretty ideal (outside of timing parts of the build around the winter) as they have a very private spot in a rural area. No worries about complaining neighbors, an easy spot to park, and access to a large garage with a variety of tools.

So that is the general idea!
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Old 01-04-2019, 09:46 AM   #2
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Welcome! At least there are lots of rust free buses down in Texas for you to pick from. Have you decided what size suits your needs? Full sized, shortie, van-based? Conventional, flat nosed? Lots of options and it could take a few months to find the right one for you.
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
Welcome! At least there are lots of rust free buses down in Texas for you to pick from. Have you decided what size suits your needs? Full sized, shortie, van-based? Conventional, flat nosed? Lots of options and it could take a few months to find the right one for you.
Thanks!

Yeah, I partly wished circumstances better allowed me to find the bus while still living in Texas, but the bus itself is still a few steps ahead for me and will be after I'm in Maine. Need to explore the travel contract work options first, make sure that type of work suits me before committing to a skoolie build as both plans are somewhat interlinked. BUT, definitely not going to look at used buses in Maine. After saying goodbye to several cars in the past due to Maine rust, don't want another used vehicle from the state again!

Part of me even feels guilty planning to bring my current vehicle up there as it is very well cared for and entirely rust-free car that has lived its whole life in Texas. But of course gotta have a set of wheels when in rural Maine, so not much option there! Once it is time to look for buses, I'll very much be looking in the central Texas area as having a number of friends in the area will give me some flexibility

In terms of size and style of bus, I am leaning towards the full size end of the spectrum. A flat nose would be great for the better length:livable space ratio, but conventional nose would of course be considered as well based on what I come across. I want the full size due to the plan to live full time from it, with ease of driving and parking somewhat secondary considerations. A full size with a wheelchair lift in back is the goal, set up the rear as a "garage" space and be able to store a motorcycle there. I figure the bike will help for more of the day to day getting around and thus make the full length more forgiveable, but would want to carefully explore the engine/transmissions of the bus as well to choose a combo that would be viable for a towed vehicle option potentially more long term (a "toad", if I've correctly picked up the terminology!")

All that being said, I am very much here to learn and refine the ideas and the plan as I've time on my side, so nothing is set in stone!
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:30 PM   #4
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Welcome,

I don't know how big your household is. If you have quite a bit of stuff to move you may consider picking up a bus before you leave TX. Pull the seats out and use it as a moving truck.

That's what I did. Saved me about $1100.

Good luck.
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Old 01-05-2019, 03:23 PM   #5
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Thank you!

Thankfully not a lot of stuff to move, it is just me! Should be able to fit everything in the car/on the roof of the car in a storage box, the TV will be the biggest item to figure out. Not going to keep any furniture as none of it is particularly precious to me and the plan for Maine is to stay at parents home, so furnishing isn't an issue. I'm fairly young and never saw myself long term in Austin so avoided accumulating too much stuff, so will happily enough self off what I can on Craigslist and give the rest away after that

If I were planning to move an entire household, a bus would definitely make a helluva "moving truck" though and would make sense to avoid the expense of a rental. Not a bad suggestion! But until I've figured out my taste for the travel contract work element of my plans, I'm hesitant to commit to purchasing the bus just yet
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Old 01-05-2019, 03:52 PM   #6
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I spent six years traveling the country in my first bus doing conrtact IT projects. Loved it!!

Time off between jobs allowed me to see the country and not just drive through it.

I miss it and am working on options for income while traveling so I can get back on the road.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I spent six years traveling the country in my first bus doing conrtact IT projects. Loved it!!

Time off between jobs allowed me to see the country and not just drive through it.

I miss it and am working on options for income while traveling so I can get back on the road.
That sounds excellent, EXACTLY the sort of story I need to hear!

The way I am figuring, if the contract work suits me I can pretty much roll around the country every few months, moving on to the next contract. If I worked 9 months of the year, I'd make better money compared to full time now (as contract work is pretty well compensated in the health fields) and be able to have a lot of freedom and flexibility between contracts. Take a month off between, catch up with friends, explore more of the country.

I last did a bigger trip following grad school (the trip that lead me to Austin about 5 years ago). Traveled around in my old Honda CR-V and camped out of it for 4 months. So basically a bus conversion would be the larger scale, better funded version of that period!
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Machine View Post
That sounds excellent, EXACTLY the sort of story I need to hear!

The way I am figuring, if the contract work suits me I can pretty much roll around the country every few months, moving on to the next contract. If I worked 9 months of the year, I'd make better money compared to full time now (as contract work is pretty well compensated in the health fields) and be able to have a lot of freedom and flexibility between contracts. Take a month off between, catch up with friends, explore more of the country.

I last did a bigger trip following grad school (the trip that lead me to Austin about 5 years ago). Traveled around in my old Honda CR-V and camped out of it for 4 months. So basically a bus conversion would be the larger scale, better funded version of that period!
When I was on the road I met a number of people that lived in their RV full time and worked contract jobs in healthcare. They loved the lifestyle.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:27 PM   #9
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When I was on the road I met a number of people that lived in their RV full time and worked contract jobs in healthcare. They loved the lifestyle.

Good luck!!
Yes! That is exactly what I am shooting for, just with a skoolie instead of an RV.

Thanks for the encouragement!
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