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Wanderluster 08-30-2016 10:12 PM

Pipe dream?
 
Tired of apartment living and annoying neighbors, tired of spending a whole paycheck on rent and tired of not having something of my own. So, I have now started my campaign of trying to convince my husband that we should live in a skoolie full-time.

But, I need some opinions from the experts (and possibly some ammo to help me in my campaign). Here are my questions:

1. We live in Cleveland, Ohio. It gets infuriatingly cold here. Is full-time skoolie living reasonable considering our climate?
2. My husband is a maintenance man (residential apartments). That's as far as our "handiness" and technical "know-how" goes. And, yeah, we have no knowledge when it comes to cars, trucks, etc. Is a bus conversion totally unreasonable for people with our limited knowledge? As much as I'd like to live in a skoolie, I'm also realistic and have no issues with abandoning-ship if it's just not practical.

So, what do you guys think?

I welcome any and all opinions! :Thanx:

Offgr1d 08-30-2016 11:18 PM

This is just my opinion, but I think anyone could convert a bus who has enough desire, motivation and persistence. If you are uneducated in areas as electrical, plumbing, or engines, there are plenty of resources online - forums such as this - or books..
So one of the most important things to have like I said is persistence!! I've heard of many people start a large project like this, than not follow it through. Your goal in the conversion sounds the same as mine did. Everyday rent thrown away, for what?? A roof over head? I wanted to build something that was MINE - and done my way, crazy creative or extreme so be it.. You may need help with an engine problem, or look up tutorials online for installing a sink, etc... Point being with enough drive one can definitely learn and complete a goal..

As for the winter climate?!? I dunno, I deal with the opposite here in Vegas. I'm sure there are plenty of skoolies with wood stoves inside and humans nice and cozy in their mobile dwellings... :-)

Josiahdr 08-31-2016 12:10 AM

Just like what Offgr1d said. If you believe in yourself and have consistent action you can totally make it work!

dopamine16 08-31-2016 12:11 AM

Not to long ago before i purchased my bus, i found a guy on craigslist who was selling a mini fridge that i wanted for the bus i was getting ready to build. After talking with him for a little bit about the fridge & telling me how he drank most of his life & money away he finally asked me what i was going to put it in, i said i want to convert a school bus into an rv. You know what he told me.? That is a pipe dream it will never work. i will never forget those words, Thats is what he said to me. I could not believe my ears i was so pissed that he told me that, i wanted to blow up but i relaxed and took it as more motivation to reaching my goals. Nothing on earth is a pipe dream. If humans can supossibly walk on the moon you can build a bus. You can do anything you set your mind to, get'r'done. I love my bus & you will to.

EastCoastCB 08-31-2016 05:31 AM

YOu can do it!
But first find out where you can keep a bus.
If you have to buy property or live in an rv park its gonna be expensive.

Carytowncat 08-31-2016 07:50 AM

I bought a bus. Didn't tear out the floor or repair any rust. Didn't paint it, built only a bed frame and laid a few 2x4s across two rear seats for a bench, installed a 200w solar setup (4 wires; 2 go to the panels and 2 go to the batteries)

Then i filled it with my belongings; chairs, bed, coleman stove, rugs, etc.

I have often had a dream that others did not share and i wanted them to so they would help me. That always took more energy than doing it myself.

I have been on the receivin end of someone else having a dream and it not being one that i share, and being pressured and "convinced" it was better than what i wanted. That always ended in disaster.

You are in the right place. I could not have done it without some faith in my dream and some luck from the Universe, and his forum. Reading about all the different styles and approaches people had gave me confidence that there was room to do mine my way.

Good luck to you!

PS. Sometimes i could not tell the difference between all the fear and all the excitement. Sometimes all i had was that beutiful place inside that was ready to try something different and sensed there was more to life than a noisy, busy, expensive, unhappy apartment.

Wanderluster 08-31-2016 10:05 AM

Thank you all for the encouragement and the advice! I'm sure if my husband and I decide 100% to do this, there will be some sort of criticisms. But, I'm ready for a home of my own that I can actually afford and I'm up for the challenge!

cadillackid 08-31-2016 01:48 PM

like others i say go for it!.. but plan it out... iuse tools like sketchup to draw a plan out for your bus... thuink about how you will live.. will you be nomadic? or want to park somewhere .. the nfigure out how to park for weeks or months at a time.. how you will handle things like keeping your groceries cold even when off the bus at work... where to dump the toilets and refill.. little things like that which can add up quick in cost if you have to rent camp-ground spaces or rent land to live on.. things like permanent address and mail ... where to ship the "amazon" if you order from there.. how to sirvive in all-out bad winter weather like say a Blizzard that takes down power or closes the roads where you cant get fuel..

all things to add to the list of quesrtions a mile long im sure you already have...
if cleveland is at all like columbus then yes rents are out of control!
-Christopjer

roach711 08-31-2016 09:05 PM

"The person who says it's impossible should not interrupt the one who's doing it."

Lots of people live in school buses so the "pipe dream" guy is clearly wrong. Just make sure you have a viable (legal) place to park the thing along with water/power/sewer hookups.

Anyone who can do apartment maintenance can do a bus conversion.

Wanderluster 08-31-2016 09:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cadillackid (Post 161098)
like others i say go for it!.. but plan it out... iuse tools like sketchup to draw a plan out for your bus... thuink about how you will live.. will you be nomadic? or want to park somewhere .. the nfigure out how to park for weeks or months at a time.. how you will handle things like keeping your groceries cold even when off the bus at work... where to dump the toilets and refill.. little things like that which can add up quick in cost if you have to rent camp-ground spaces or rent land to live on.. things like permanent address and mail ... where to ship the "amazon" if you order from there.. how to sirvive in all-out bad winter weather like say a Blizzard that takes down power or closes the roads where you cant get fuel..

all things to add to the list of quesrtions a mile long im sure you already have...
if cleveland is at all like columbus then yes rents are out of control!
-Christopjer

Um, yeah, I had not thought about any of this, so thanks for the pointers. And yes, if you live in Cleveland and you want an apartment that doesn't have shag carpeting and isn't totally creepy, you will definitely be parting ways with half of your monthly wages!

milkmania 08-31-2016 09:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dopamine16 (Post 161061)
Not to long ago before i purchased my bus, i found a guy on craigslist who was selling a mini fridge that i wanted for the bus i was getting ready to build. After talking with him for a little bit about the fridge & telling me how he drank most of his life & money away he finally asked me what i was going to put it in, i said i want to convert a school bus into an rv. You know what he told me.? That is a pipe dream it will never work. i will never forget those words, Thats is what he said to me. I could not believe my ears i was so pissed that he told me that, i wanted to blow up but i relaxed and took it as more motivation to reaching my goals. Nothing on earth is a pipe dream. If humans can supossibly walk on the moon you can build a bus. You can do anything you set your mind to, get'r'done. I love my bus & you will to.

Don't ever tell me I can't do something..... It becomes my life mission to prove to myself that I can!

I'll give anyone anything I have.. If I give it to you, it's motivated from my heart! I gave it to you because I wanted to!

But, if you force me to give you something... The fight is on, and it becomes a matter of principle! Just ask the ex-wife that spent 5 years in Supreme Court with me, over our divorce... Yeah, I may have lost it all, but she knows she was in one hell of a fight:furious:

M1031A1 09-01-2016 04:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by milkmania (Post 161140)
Don't ever tell me I can't do something..... It becomes my life mission to prove to myself that I can!


You can't give me a million dollars!!!!!!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :whistling: :angel: :banghead:

milkmania 09-01-2016 10:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M1031A1 (Post 161147)
You can't give me a million dollars!!!!!!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :whistling: :angel: :banghead:

I've thought this over for a couple days...

All I can say is you'll have to blame Ms. Sampson that I can't make you a millionaire or even a thousandaire....

Ya see, Ms. Sampson was my 2nd. Grade homeroom teacher, and she told me that if I brought something for someone..... I had to bring enough for the whole class.

I'm sorry! Her rules, not mine!

turf 09-01-2016 11:36 PM

pipe dream? yep, good weed helps fulfill the dream!

if you have a place to live, a shop to build in, a place to park, and cash to throw away, you're set. if you don't, have another hit.

:whistling:

Wanderluster 09-02-2016 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turf (Post 161238)
pipe dream? yep, good weed helps fulfill the dream!

if you have a place to live, a shop to build in, a place to park, and cash to throw away, you're set. if you don't, have another hit.

:whistling:

Haha! Why am I not surprised that you're from Colorado? ;)

jennynic 09-02-2016 10:34 AM

I have had the same thoughts as you for a very long time. I'm tired of renting and having annoying neighbors, I'm tired of being told I can't do this and I can't do that in the house I live in and I pay high rent for. So even though I was scared and I didn't have all the answers for the questions the doubters who said it was a pipe dream had for me or even for myself, I finally did it. I bought a bus. Im in the process of tearing it apart and rebuilding it now and while it is a lot of work, I am so happy to be doing it. I gave two months notice at my apartment today. I did a lot of research and decided that all of it is possible. I love to camp and I lived on a boat for three years in Alaska in the past, so roughing it without a microwave or cable TV is okay for me. Living on the fly will be welcome. I will figure it out as I go. Eventually I plan to quit my job and make my bus my art studio/living space and travel around in it. Why not? If in three years I am over it, then okay. I get a regular job again and rent a place. Really there is nothing to lose for me. Nothing is permanent anyway, no matter how much control over life you think you have. If you have a dream, make it happen. You will find that in the pursuit, the dream evolves as doors open and experiences change your perception so new dreams evolve and become possible. It's called living. Cleveland winters are cold and summers are hot. So get a tiny wood stove and an air conditioner. Have some cash saved for bus repairs. Do more research and read the many blogs out there of people doing it. Very few express regrets. Good luck.

milkmania 09-02-2016 07:20 PM

I kick myself everyday because I didn't do this just out of high school....
Lot of money wasted on rent, debt, taxes, and mortgage.

I'm happier now than I ever was!
But, I know when my head hits the pillow at night... I've done the best I can.

M1031A1 09-02-2016 10:20 PM

My son is helping us with our conversion. He also likes the idea he can take his home with him no matter where his career takes him. He's inspired to build a skoolie of his own with some help from us. He'll save a BUNDLE in rent and so on. He's a freshman in high school and looking at all the mistakes we've made and is learning from us.

I couldn't be prouder!

Wish I had done this DECADES ago!

M

Offgr1d 09-02-2016 10:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by milkmania (Post 161274)
I kick myself everyday because I didn't do this just out of high school....
Lot of money wasted on rent, debt, taxes, and mortgage.

I'm happier now than I ever was!
But, I know when my head hits the pillow at night... I've done the best I can.


So true!!!! I wish I had done mine sooner as well. I love my bus!! It also becomes so much part of your "family" or of value to you and an extention of your personality with all the hard work and sweat poured into it.. Almost everyday someone asks me at work or out and about "how's the bus?" Lol - you never got that with a house or apartment.... Lol "how's the house?" :thumb:

gobygoby 09-03-2016 03:10 AM

I love all the positive responses so far, and I agree, you can do anything you set your mind to :)

Now on a more realistic note, there are several big obstacles in your way. If you can solve/work around these, you should be good to go.

1. Capital. My wife and I made a big mistake on this one. We borrowed some money from my parents for the initial bus purchase ($5500) and we calculated that we would need $6500 more to finish. We took $6500 and divided it by the number of weeks in our scheduled plan. The result was doable for us. What we forgot to put into account is that you need to buy a lot of supplies in the beginning weeks, and not so many in the final weeks. It is not an even distribution week to week. Some parts of the project are very cheap but time consuming, other parts are fast but very expensive. We wasted more time that we wanted (or planned on) waiting for paychecks to come in. So I highly recommend starting with a lot of capital on hand.

2. Location location location. You need to have a place to store the bus, a place to work on the bus, and a place to live. Usually these can't all be the same. We had to store the bus in covered parking in an RV storage lot, but they wouldn't let us work on the bus there. So I drove it to the Dallas makerspace, which was a fantastic place to work on the bus, but I couldn't store or live in it there. Finally, it was WAY harder to find a place to live than I expected. RV parks are ok,and the rent is not nearly as bad as apartments, but the most successful tiny home owners I've seen all had a place with no rent. The could them take all the savings and put it into the tiny home or save up. There are a lot of city regulations you have watch out for. Also, a friend might let you park in their field for free, but you will need a water solution, a power solution, and a sewage solution. I highly recommend you make a chart of all your appliances and how much power they use. It adds up real quick and free places to stay don't usually have 240v 50amp connections.

3.Putting in the hours. You don't need a ton of specialized skills to build a skoolie. Plenty of people have already done it, so you just need to be able to copy them, you don't have to come up with it all on your own. But it takes a long time to build it right. If you just want to vacation from time to time, you can skip a lot of steps, but if you are going to live in it full time, you really need to do it correctly. It's kinda fun taking out the first chair or putting up the first layer of insulation. But it is not fun taking out the 20th chair or installing the 4th layer of insulation. There is SO MUCH repetition in the build and stuff gets old fast. As long as you can stay motivated and force yourself to put in the hours, you should be ok, but I've seen a number of builds on this site that took many years to complete.


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