Living in a Bus Step 1: Research and Planning

I recently decided to pursue one of my life-long dreams: living out of a vehicle.  I’ve been toying with the idea for years, and now that I have the funds saved up and the freedom to do so, the time has come to seriously explore the option.  I’m currently doing the research necessary to make this dream a reality, and I figured a good place to start would be to write down exactly what I want and don’t want.  If I’m going to do this, I might as well do it right.

Step 1: Overall Goal Assessment

I think a good place to start would be to assess my overall goal which is essentially this:

I want a vehicle that I can live out of independently with all the luxuries needed to live a comfortable life: bathroom, kitchen, bed, etc.  I want the vehicle to be big enough to contain everything I need for my independent lifestyle while still being as small as possible.  My comfort is important to me, so if I can’t stand all the way up inside the vehicle, for instance, or I’m not comfortable driving it, I don’t want it.  The ultimate goal is to have a place to live while saving money, so if the vehicle itself costs as much as a house, or requires hook ups and can only be parked in certain places, I don’t want it.  Are my goals unrealistic? We’ll find out.

Step 2: Type of Vehicle

Of course, I’ve always romanticized the idea of living in a VW bus, but this just isn’t realistic for what I want.  I’ve read about all the different types of RVs and other vehicles that can be converted into a home, and I think I’ve narrowed it down to one of three options: class B motor home, truck camper, or a converted minibus. I’ve chosen these three options for a number of reasons:

  • I’m not comfortable driving excessively large vehicles which pretty much rules out the Class A and Class C motor homes.  I also want to be able to park the vehicle in any parking lot without a lot of trouble. For these reasons, I need something small and accessible.
  • I don’t have a vehicle that can tow large items such as pop-up trailers, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. Plus I’m trying to keep this project as cost efficient as possible, so the vehicle itself must be drive-able.

Step 3: Start Shopping

All the other questions I have about maintenance, remodeling, upkeep, etc. can’t be answered until I’ve found a vehicle, so the shopping process begins now!  I’m definitely leaning toward a used vehicle though I know I might burn a hole in my pocket with the conversion process and maintenance costs.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to buy a shell of a vehicle and customize it or buy one that already has all the amenities and spend the extra. I know it won’t be cheap, but I’m prepared for that, and worse case scenario, I get a vehicle that will be great for road trips and nothing more.  Once I find the perfect vehicle, we can begin the next step: turning it into my new home.

Got any advice for me?  I’ve got no qualms about being slapped with the reality stick, so lay it on me!


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