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Old 03-24-2019, 10:14 AM   #1
Bus Nut
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 282
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Post debit.servus, coming from CheapRVliving, going to get what I originally want in 2019.

Hellow, after 8 years of wanting I am now on the road to getting into a skoolie.

I discovered the alternative to mortgage servitude during a session of YouTube surfing in 2011. In the related videos pane, I clicked on a video showcasing a Tumbleweed tiny house dwelled in by a CEO. I was 17, and pondering moving out. I watched it, as the video ended I was introduced to a world of housing where you can live freely in a tiny house on wheels & save thousands of dollars a month by not having a mortgage. I would go on to spend countless YouTube sessions on all things alternative dwelling.

I explored everything. Tiny Homes on Wheels to Shipping Containers, box trucks, moving trucks, semi-trailer dry van / reefer conversions, house trucks, truck camper builds, box truck conversions, step van conversions, Converted cargo trailers, vans, coach buses, shuttle buses, city buses to school buses. In search of dirt cheap build costs & an unconventional look. I even looked at alt. lifestyles, homesteading, permaculture, farming, desert hermitage, hyper-frugalite, urban hermit, war tax resistance through extreme frugality etc. I consumed Kirksten Dirksten, Tiny House Talk & Tiny House Blog. I made many designs in Sketchup and on paper. I talked ad-nausem about alt dwellings, their the nuts and bolts, how I'll live in it etc.

I settled on a skoolie, but had to shrink to a van because a bus was beyond my means. I did everything to shrink my life into a van and trained my mind to enjoy vandwelling. I part time vandwelled in a base model high-top Contempo van conversion built on a 1986 Dodge ram extended cab. I never felt fully at home in the van as I didn't have the desktop computer workstation, push button climate control, integrated greywater tank, and the ability to fully stand up inside (I wanted to raise the high top by at least 6" with a self fabricated lip riser). My goal was to turn the low-end campervan interior into a roadtrek interior, and the stock drivetrain more like a sportsmobile van.

After conteplating the drivetrain maintence cost thinking skoolie mechanical upkeep was out of reach (see, I decided life is too short to not have what you want because of incremental cost and that I will find a way to pay whatever the additional drivetrain maintence is for the big bus.

This year, 2019 is the year I move into the bus, and make it reality.

I will go places of distance with the skoolie, with the goal to be able to take it at least 10,000 miles per year, and most years more than 15,000 miles per year exploring everywhere from the Drive-in to the Dalton. I will build it out to comfortably boondock in the extremes, so I can really experience life. From securing a prime viewing location for a mid-July SpaceX launch by boondocking in direct Florida sun a week before anybody else shows up, to experiencing the northern lights in the Yukon wilderness on a moonless night in the deepest dephts of winter.

I will be contributing many thoughts, questions & ideas in the months to come.

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Old 03-24-2019, 11:55 AM   #2
Bus Geek
o1marc's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 10,482
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
I think many have found that the Skoolie life is not free, it still takes substantial money to drive and maintain a bus on a monthly basis.
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:11 PM   #3
Bus Nut
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 282
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I think many have found that the Skoolie life is not free, it still takes substantial money to drive and maintain a bus on a monthly basis.
It’s not free and not cheap but instead of concluding “it’s too expensive”, I will find a way to pay for the increased maintenance & travel running costs.

People shrink instead of grow and wonder where they’re life went after a few years (or decades) of shrinking.
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:33 PM   #4
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,039
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
just make sure you have a career that you can take on the road.. either you are employed by a company that involves lots of travel where you can drive your bus, software development is also a good one as you can do that anywhere the laptop and perhaps a little internet exists.. (I do the 2 above.. so I can even write down some of my bus trips)...

lets put a little context to things $$ wise.. my red bus... I brought it home pretty much exactly 30 months ago...

Ive driven it about 46,000 miles since I got it... if we take the lifteimt computer readings it says I average (includes idling, in town, stuk-in-traffic.. road trip etc).. somewhere around 9.5 MPG.. its probably a little better now since it has the swapped transmission and the Upped horsepower.. in fact I know my highway MPG went up.. (thats 11-13 or 14.. can go down to 10 in a headwind)

but lets use 9.5 as our number.. with that ive burnt 4842 gallons of Diesel fuel.. if we say over that time ive conservatively spent $2.75 a gallon... (some more some less.. and I am on all the rewards programs)... theres $13,315 in diesel fuel.. ive done 8 oil changes averaging 75 bucks a piece(5 gallon bucket of rotella T4. and a oil filter for a T-444E).. so now we are up to $13,915 over 30 months.. == $463 per month just to drive the bus everywhere!! now granted in my work I write off a lot of trips since i own a business and I often drive the bus to installs, customer conventions, business meetings, etc.. I cant write it off as used or owned by the business... I simply can write off the miles like i was using my personal car to travel in... ie a travelling salesman.

that above number assumes a PERFECT bus! that never breaks a belt or needs a coolanrt flush or needs tires, or blows a transmission, or the muffler falls off or needs injectors, etc... nor does it include any conversion... (I dont convert mine I just upgrade the crap out of the drivetrains and pout in cool techie gadgets and drive em)...

in my case the bus is a Hobby.. if it breaks down I park it and dont use it for a few months.. no biggie.. if it were my home or liveliehood then contigencies and saved $$ would be required in case it did end up in a shop for a few days where it cant be lived in, or if you have to buy parts and maybe tools to fix something....

keep it in mind... the $$ adds up quickly..

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Old 03-30-2019, 10:19 PM   #5
Bus Nut
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Posts: 671
Year: 1999
Coachwork: New Flyer
Chassis: D45HF "Viking"
Engine: 11.1L Detroit Diesel S60
Rated Cap: 51,600
You need to take David Ramsey's "Financial Peace University" or some such course. If you are going to be living in your bus, you absolutely must have an emergency fund of between $10k and $20k for repairs, along with alternative living arrangements if the bus is in for repairs.

Furthermore, there is no modern lifestyle where living is "free". All it is is shifting expenses around, as cadillackid showed. Even living in a yurt in the middle of a state forest will cost money (probably transportation so you can get back and forth to a job).

However, the one plus to bus life is if you structure it properly, you have a great chance to avoid DEBT. Debt is downright difficult to avoid in this modern lifestyle because our whole economy is based on it. Housing is the biggest reason for debt. Eliminate the large mortgage and you've eliminated the one biggest reason for debt in your life. Eliminate debt and you eliminate the one biggest reason that pushes you into "work-a-day-servitude".

Just remember that you are becoming the equivalent of a gypsy. Go investigate what their lives were like. Its not easy, and there are people today that will treat you just like the gypsies of old were treated.

But its fun to do for at least awhile. You'll meet some really interesting people on your travels. You'll see a very different world as well.

Good fortune on your endeavors! Be sure to get all the help and advice you can on structuring your financial affairs properly.
MarkyDee is offline   Reply With Quote

2019, debit.servus, introduction, skoolie

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