We have all dreamed of sacking off our lives and embarking on an off-grid adventure – but this young couple actually did it.

Joe, 27, and Lauren, 26, both from Baltimore, Maryland, quit their jobs and created a stunning mobile home so they could have an entirely different kind of life.

The couple transformed a school bus into a small bohemian home complete with a rooftop deck with just $16,000 (£11,652).

They hit the road – with their four dogs in tow – eight months ago, and so far have no regrets.

Joe used to earn $60,000 (£43,696) a year as an estimator at a property management company, but the 9-to-5 grind left him unsatisfied, and he began to dream of a more fulfilling existence.

That’s when he met like-minded partner Lauren, who was working as a high school art teacher.


In March, 2019, the couple bought a 40ft International 3800 Blue Bird bus, for $12,000 (£8,739) and got to work giving the vehicle a makeover and making it their permanent home.

‘This was, in my opinion, the first decision for myself and for my happiness, despite what anyone else thought about it,’ says Joe.

‘Before the van, I was living in an apartment building on the sixth floor, paying more than $1,300 (£946) for rent and parking alone, not including utilities.

‘I was a different human and had different values at that time, but without having paid such outrageous prices in housing, I probably wouldn’t have made it into a van so soon.’

Joe and Lauren talked about getting a bus together – the idea sprung almost out of nowhere.

‘Before that conversation, we had never even talked about living together. But we were on the same page without even needing to talk about it,’ he says.

The bus had already been stripped bare by the previous owners before Joe and Lauren started making it their own.

The couple did everything themselves, including installing air conditioning system, a rooftop air vent, solar panels, a DIY composting toilet and a hot water shower.

They scoured thrift shops for furnishings and homeware, including the sink and stove in their 8ft kitchen, as well as changed the outside colour from blue to khaki green.


Joe used YouTube tutorials and online bus renovation groups for help and inspiration.

‘It took us a couple of months to make the bus liveable, but we have been changing things non-stop since,’ he adds.

‘The responsibilities were definitely 50/50, an example would be like the shower; Lauren did all of the tile work and then I just came in and knocked out the electrical and ran the plumbing.

‘Lauren usually does any painting on the inside that needs to be done but we double-teamed painting the exterior.’

The bus includes a bedroom at the back with a king size bed big enough to accommodate the couple and their four beloved pooches, a lounge area with a benched seated couch, a washing machine and plenty of storage space.

Joe adds: ‘The bus definitely gives a thrifted and functional vibe. Nothing is perfect, not a whole lot is square – but it works for us.


‘It’s not worth it to us to have a pristine and clean bus with new things in it, as living with four dogs and being on the road things tend to get dirty and damaged easier.

‘The more you live in it, the better you know what you need.’

The couple departed from Maryland and travelled from the east coast of the United States to the west coast, while visiting 26 different states along the way.

The couple say they always drive slowly, so as not to distress their pets, who can usually be found snoozing when the tiny home is on the move.

‘I would hope that our dogs love the lifestyle,’ says Joe.

‘We did all of this to be with them as much as possible, amongst other things. We don’t ever drive for more than an hour or two, when we do drive.

‘It makes it easier on us, the dogs and the bus, but usually we drive to places where we can have the doors open and have the pups roam freely at their leisure.’


Although the couple, who are currently in California, started their journey without jobs, they now make money reselling items that they find in thrift shops.

‘Being on the road gave us a crazy advantage to an existing market of thrifted clothing resale because we were able to go to thrift stores in different cities and states,’ says Joe.

‘With her audience from social media, when Lauren started posting thrifts for sale, people were very interested and started buying them at a surprising rate.

‘This gave us enough confidence to stray away from just selling thrifts to working with manufacturers and wholesale companies in order to sell new clothes that were based around the aesthetic and brand we were going for.

‘This has developed into a shop that we run entirely out of the bus, where we sell new and thrifted clothing online.’

Joe says that the couple’s chosen lifestyle came as no shock to those around them.

‘When we told our families and friends what we were up to, nobody was really surprised and only supported us,’ he says.


‘We don’t expect everyone to support what we’re doing but we surely aren’t going to let that stop us.

‘I would describe my life now as living in a way that is based around what makes me happy.

‘Before I started making decisions for my own happiness, I was just living in a way that society projected I should live. Making decisions based on what makes you truly happy is something that I will talk about for the rest of my life, as it has changed my life, and has the capacity to change anybody’s life that makes those sometimes tough decisions.’

The couple has also shared some advice for those who are thinking about beginning a renovation project of their own.

‘Don’t take it too seriously, you don’t need to plan every little detail out,’ he advises.

‘It’s okay to learn as you go do it yourself and you’ll know how to fix everything yourself, if you aren’t.

‘When things don’t work or fail, it means you’re learning and growing. Reach out to the community. Care more about how this will benefit you, rather than what could go wrong.

‘Your build doesn’t need to break the bank. It’s not about having the best of the best materials, it’s about getting your life back.’

Do you have an inspirational story to share? We want to hear from you.

Get in touch: [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article