Travel

Couple ditch renting to turn old bus into their dream home on wheels for just £22,000


Harry Shaw, 28, and Hannah, 26, ditched pricey rents and bought an old school bus instead (Picture: Jam Press)

Fed up of spending loads of money on rent, Harry Shaw, 28, and his partner Hannah, 26, decided to overhaul their entire lifestyle.

They packed their things, trimmed down their belongings, and bought an old Hino RG230 bus for £11,000.

They then spent a further £11,000 on turning the 40ft long old school bus into their perfect home on wheels.

That might feel like a massive expense, but this move means the couple no longer have to pay rent, and have cut their monthly bills by £330.

Plus, they’re now able to travel the world in their road-ready home.

‘We purchased the bus from a small, local school bus company,’ said Harry, a former mining industry worker.

‘The bus was a school bus up until we picked it up. The first day we went and looked at it, it had just dropped off a group of school kids for an excursion.

‘We loved the idea of having a home that we could live anywhere in.

‘We loved the idea that we can have all the luxuries of a house and have the beach or forest right on our doorstep, and still get to sleep in our own bed every night and have a coffee from our coffee machine every morning.

The couple bought the bus for £11k and gutted the interiors (Picture: Jam Press)

‘We also love being able to follow the seasons heading to the north of Australia to skip the cold winter.’

The couple did most of the bus’s renovation work themselves, watching hours of YouTube tutorials for guidance and roping in their friends and family for extra help.

They had to completely strip the bus’s interiors, then searched second-hand shops and local boutiques for items that wouldn’t cost a load of money.

They did most of the DIY work themselves (Picture: Jam Press)

As for the construction work, Hannah and Harry put in floorboards, roof panels and walls, doing it all themselves except for installing electricity and gas.

Harry said: ‘We sacrificed a lot of our spare time and social life in order to get it finished whilst also working at our jobs full-time.

Before and after (Picture: Jam Press)

‘Every tiny little task we would estimate how much time it would take and it would drag out to four times as long as you would think.

‘Our materials were a mix of online purchases, local stores and some second-hand items.

‘We had design help from our friends and family – those who had engineering-type minds, have built similar things or renovated extensively before.

Buying secondhand furniture helped to keep costs down (Picture: Jam Press)

‘We also learned a lot from YouTube videos and Facebook groups from people who had completed one or more conversions themselves.

‘It also took so much longer because neither of us had any idea about how to do anything before we started the project.

‘We had to learn how to do everything.’

The end result is pretty impressive, as the bus is kitted out with all the home comforts the couple could want while on their travels.

The end result is pretty lovely (Picture: Jam Press)

‘Starting at the back of the bus, we have a bedroom with a queen-sized bed which lifts up to access the storage underneath,’ said Hannah, who works as a nutritionist.

‘Above the bed is a split system air conditioner which we run directly off two lithium batteries charged from 1800W of solar panels on the roof.

‘From there, we have two wardrobes, a toilet with sink and separate shower on opposite sides of a hallway.

“We then have a full-sized kitchen with a gas oven and stove, a 310L household fridge, a cupboard that houses a washing machine and breakfast bar.

The couple have been able to travel all around Australia (Picture: Jam Press)

‘We then have our couches/guest beds that also lift up to access more storage.

‘Upfront, we have three passenger seats and the driver’s seat.

‘Outside we have large storage lockers underneath for all our tools, toys and camping equipment.

‘We also have an outdoor shower for washing off after the beach.

The bus has everything they need (Picture: Jam Press)

‘Behind the bus, we tow our dual deck trailer where we store our dinghy and 4×4 Suzuki Jimny.

‘It was challenging as it took time to learn and do everything.

‘We wanted to make sure we did everything right so that it would last and wouldn’t break when we were on the road.

‘We had to learn new things and master them before putting out newly-acquired skills into practice on the bus so things would stay fixed in place and work when they were getting vibrated when we were driving.’

The couple had to save up money for three years before buying the bus, all so they could have a glorious lifestyle travelling wherever they please.

The couple advise people to do their research before jumping in to bus life (Picture: Jam Press)

They began by travelling along the West Australian coast, going cliff-diving and fishing for octopus and mud crabs.

They’re now exploring the Adelaide Hills, while supplementing their savings through Hannah’s part-time work as an on-the-road nutritionist.

For people considering the bus lifestyle, the couple have some words of wisdom.

‘Do your research and get a good understanding of what sort of vehicle you want/need and what it is going to take to convert it,’ they said.

What adventures lie ahead? (Picture: Jam Press)

‘Try to find people in your area who are undertaking a similar project and chat to them for advice – Facebook forums are fantastic for this!

‘Also, learn from other people’s mistakes.

‘We spent years converting the bus so we feel it needs to be about that same amount of time living in the bus to make all our hard work worthwhile.’

You can follow the couple’s journey on the @herandharry Instagram account.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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