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Nomadic Bus Life Q&A

I opened up to the community to ask us questions about bus life or living as nomads. Here is the conversation.

What was the most difficult part of starting bus life? What was the most rewarding?

While building the bus itself was more challenging than we thought it would be (and took much longer), the most diffcult part was probably overcoming fear. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of challenging the status quo. Fear of not having a permanent address with a mailbox. Fear of not making enough money to support the lifestyle.

But it has been the most rewarding adventure! Not having a permanent address gives us the ultimate freedom to go anywhere, do anything. Every day is exciting. The fear melts away and then there is only the question, “Where will we go next?”. We laugh like kids every day!

How much did you spend on the bus?

We spent a whopping $2,000 to buy the bus (fantastic deal for a bus with low miles), and put about $20,000 into building it out. Some of the things we spent money on were luxuries, like our wood stove and lithium batteries, but we were willing to splurge a little on things that were quality and would have longevity. We’ve also spent more after the build on some mechanical repair work. All told, it’s a great deal to have a traveling home that goes where you go, and not have to pay rent or a mortgage!

How’d the install go on the wood stove with the fiberglass roof?? Nervous about ours!

We were nervous too. The thought of cutting a hole in the roof was a scary thought, and we put it off for a long time… But once we decided it was time there was nothing to be afraid of! We just measured carefully and made the cut. Now our wood stove is a permanent part of our bus. We love it and couldn’t live without it!

Kimberly wood stove, best on the market

How do you make money on the road?

When we were ready to start the next chapter and hit the road we both quit our jobs. Surprisingly, my employer asked me to stay on and work remotely. No one else at my job was doing it, and I wouldn’t have known it was an option without attempting to resign first. Now almost the entire department is working remotely due to COVID. Times change. The lesson here is you never know, it might be a possibility for you, and it doesn’t hurt to ask!

(I am an IT analyst working for a health system, and work Mon-Thu with plenty of time for travel and play. All I need is wi-fi on the road, which I have and is working great. I made a post about what I use for internet on the road, check it out if you are looking.)

What kind of camera do you use?

My regular camera is a Nikon DF, but it’s not an “adventure camera”. It’s too big and too heavy to climb mountains or ski with. So the majority of my photos here were taken with my Pixel 3 (cell phone). They aren’t as good as they could be, but it’s like they say, the best camera is the one you have with you!

Backpacking on the Olympic Coast

Very curious why you chose a wood stove over other options like a propane heater (propex)?

Firstly, we didn’t want to rely on an electric heater because we weren’t sure if our solar would be enough to sustain that. We seriously looked into propane heat as an option, but ultimately it was our lifestyle that caused us to go with wood heat. We spend a lot of time in the mountains at higher elevations. Propane heaters require the correct mix of propane to oxygen, and at higher altitudes there is less oxygen, which could cause issues with ignition or noxious gasses. There are adapters to make adjustments to the amount of propane flow, but ultimately we didn’t want to have to keep making adjustments based on our elevation, so we went with a wood burner. 

We love our wood stove and feel like it was the right choice! Wood heat and the ambiance of flickering flames is so special. We do also use a tiny space heater that heats really well, but only use it when we are connected to shore power. 

It’s warm and cozy inside, even in the snowy mountains!

What was the most difficult part of the build/ or surprisingly the easiest?

Framing out and walling in all of those odd angles corners and nooks was so frustrating. It took ages and a whole lot of patience. There are no right angles in a bus! Also, fiberglassing the shower by hand was grueling and very messy. We breathed a lot of awful fumes (even with PPE) that burned our sinuses. The result was well worth it, but it was a lot of work!

The easiest was plumbing and electrical. It’s surprising because neither of us knew anything about plumbing or electrical when we started. We just researched and learned it all as we went. YouTube became our best friend.

So many curves and odd angles!


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