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This Man Converted A School Bus With His Dad To Live The Good Life

“I was tired of wasting money on rent for an apartment that I was never using because I worked so much. It didn’t feel natural to spend my free time in my car, to and from work, and feeling too tired on my days off to do anything. There had to be something better, there had to be more. Tiny Living, I thought, might be the answer.” So started the adventures of Patrick Schmidt and his converted bus, Big Blue.

Big Blue was a labor of love for Patrick and his dad.

exterior shot
Photos via ABCnews

Patrick purchased the bus from a church in Santa Barbara for $4,500, then drove it to Vegas. No, not to gamble the rest of his money away, but to work on the conversion from bus to long-term livable RV. He’s 29 and he calls himself the “Adventuring Bus Driver”.

Before and after, looking from front to back.

before and after

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The former airport worker from Seattle would spend $8,500 and the next four months at his parent’s home transforming the bus, a 1990 International. The transformation included a dining area as well as a bathroom and bedroom. As bus converters go, Patrick is no slouch. His design is simple, but well executed.

Gutted, with new flooring and insulation in process.

in progress

Once the bus was complete, Patrick took the savings he had built up over the last decade and hit the road for three months, traveling 10,000 miles through 30 states.

Everywhere I went I can see heads turning, smiles on people’s face. People give me thumbs up, the peace sign, waves, all sorts of ways to show their love and appreciation.

Imagine this view from the foot of your sofa.

life on the road

I don’t know about you but that sounds like a pretty nice way to spend three months on the open road. So, what’s next for Patrick? Well, for now, he’s wintering in a friend’s driveway in Florida and plans to head out again in the spring.

Big Blue’s dinette has built in speakers in the ceiling.

dinette booth

While he spent frugally, he admits his savings won’t hold out forever, so it’s back to the West Coast to look for work again. He’s considered heading back to Seattle, where he might actually rent the bus out as a tiny bed and breakfast, popular among those who want “try on” the tiny living lifestyle before committing to a four month bus conversion.

Talk about ambience. Dining with this scenery outside your window is…well, not bad.

dining view

So, does Patrick have any advice for would-be “Adventuring Bus Drivers” ?

The advice I have for others is to go do whatever you can, even if they are little steps, to move towards your goals. You can have the life that you’ve always wanted. I never thought it was possible, and here I am living and blogging on a School Bus Tiny Home, on the adventure of a lifetime.

The main view with the colored lights on.

fun lighting

Move over Tony Robbins, when Patrick gets tired of the nomad life, there may be a future for him as a motivational speaker. Until then, we wish you well, Patrick! May your tires always hold until the next good repair shop, may your gas gauge always give you an accurate reading, and may those you meet along the way continue to be peaceful and happy to see you.

You can see more photos of Patrick’s renovation in his gallery on Imgur.



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