Bus Conversion Diaries: The Beginning
The first time Zach mentioned bus life I remember completely changing the conversation. I thought it was too good to be truth. It was after coming across @panamericanbus pictures followed by a few days of binge watching bus life that it all made sense for us. It was an accessible opportunity to build a home and have a vehicle to keep on the road. It made a dream life seem tangible for the first time and it was so appealing. We started the process a bit clueless and naive, having consumed some content and information on how to do it but not formally prepared. In many ways we had no idea of what we were getting ourselves into, which made the process much more organic and spontaneous for us – although much more chaotic too.
We broke the first rule of bus life “Don’t but the first bus you see” and the second one “Don’t get one with rust”. In total sincerity, we didn’t do much research. We know understand those decisions to be ‘intuitive’ but back then it simply felt easy, felt oddly just right. We bought the bus two weeks after finding it on the side of the road. When we went to pay for it, we were clueless about where we would park it and just HOW we would actually build a house on wheels.
All we knew was that it was possible....because we saw it on Instagram.
Although we were quick to purchase a bus after deciding we wanted to give it a try, actually going for it took us a few months. At that moment in our lives, just a few months after graduating college and moving in together, we were caught up and living out what we thought was expected and meant for us. We were working in corporate America, we were depressed, constantly anxious and craving deeply to find something else.
The bus spent a month parked with its previous owner before we moved it to Zach’s college friends house an hour away from where we lived. We would go down for one day a week, it was hard living far from the bus but we kept finding ways to make it work. Sometimes it was fun and some others stressful and frustrating. Sometimes we would show up with a plan just to end up with no progress eight hours later. But we showed up anyway, we would work twelve hour days and drive back to sleep at home.
At first we kept our bus purchase to ourselves and a few good friends. We were extremely anxious of saying it outloud or posting about it. For both of us but for me, Fiorella, in specifically this was a big final redirection from who I was before and what the person thought she wanted in life / what others thought about her to a lifestyle and everyday that made us feel alive and driven for a bigger purpose.
The beginning was well, rough. Zach worked some labour jobs in high school but we had a total of zero tools, no experience in anything related and with few family around to help. And that is why that time between the bus and us was so special, it was the beginning of a new chapter.
The gutting out was very therapeutic, to just pull layers and layers of stuff. The demo process was thrilling, empowering and good mental exercise about how good it feels to let go what doesn’t serve you anymore. To find beauty in tearing down knowing you get to start again and build. It was timely with our mental transition, letting go of fears and traumas to open space for creativity and trust.
If you are dreaming or starting your own conversion use this process for personal growth. To let go of the limiting beliefs and to truly understand that you are abundant, that you can have the life of your dreams – however that looks like – and that it’s not only okay, but actually the key to happiness.
When the seats were out, the walls ripped to the bone and the floor back to its beginning, we realized the amount of work that was ahead… and how incredibly unprepared we were for it. Let us share that the first day, when we removed the bus seats, we only had ONE small wrench no power tools or even a screw driver. We also took five trips to home depot as it took us 4 hours to take out the first pair of seats.
So, yeah we had no idea what we were doing.
We left the bus ripped for a few months and went on to watch countless youtube videos and draft out one too many layouts and to do lists.
Beginnings are messy, they are meant to be the perfect combination of thrill and fear. That is their true beauty. It is always scary to make that first move, but only paralyzing if we let it. Say those worst fears outloud, listen to how silly they are and then stop the excuses and go build your dream life. You won't know what you are doing at first and that is okay because the answer is probably on YouTube.
two people who struggled for months but finally decided to drop excuses and are now living their dream life