By Ben Wheeler
MEET the young couple who have left behind their jobs and families in favour of life on the road after spending just £1.8K converting their bus “Bilby”.
Liam Kenny and girlfriend Ali Kelly-McCudden, both 24, were inspired to buy a bus after driving past a similar converted vehicle on their way home from a camping trip last year.
The Australian pair bought Bilby in September last year and have taken the bus out regularly whilst getting it ready for their travels together.
“As soon as we drove past that bus on our way home, I immediately got my phone out and started researching buses for sale,” said Liam.
“Over a period of about eight months I was researching non-stop about people living in buses and vans.
“We considered buying a van but decided if we were going to be living it full-time we could do with the extra space.
“We took Bilby out every weekend whilst we were in the process of converting it and after a long hard period of saving we left our homes in Melbourne behind for good to pursue this lifestyle.
“We’ve been on the road for six weeks now and we plan on doing another five months before settling down somewhere over summer to build up our funds again.”
The process of converting Bilby took Liam and Ali a total of nine months, utilising every spare moment when they weren’t working at their day jobs to get their beloved bus ready.
Despite the gorgeous, homely interior the conversion was done cheaply with the pair being thrifty in their approach to the project.
“People often ask how we afforded to do it but the truth is it really didn’t cost much at all,” said Liam.
“For example, most of the timber we used is recycled, mostly from an old fence my friend needed ripping down and my mum made all our cushions out of an old sofa bed we had at home.
“Having been to university to do a business degree I didn’t really have the first clue about DIY, but thanks to some carpenter friends and a lot of YouTube videos I managed to make most things for the bus myself which I actually found really fun.
“It was really important to us to have a lot of space to live in so other than our little private bedroom in the back we decided to have less things.
“It makes the rest of the bus feel so open which is great when we’re at the beach and it’s sunny, we get the most amazing views.
“The only major problems we’ve had are with the electrics which we thought we could cheap out on by getting a $150 solar panel from eBay.
“However, after about seven stop offs at electricians and two panels having flew off on the highway within our first month we had to invest in some extra equipment.”
The couple, who have been together for 18 months, met through friends and their love of the great outdoors instantly drew them together.
Despite having their ups and downs, which are part and parcel of living together in a small space, Liam and Ali find their lifestyle means it is harder to get annoyed with one another than if they were back home.
So far, the pair have already racked up just over 1,000 miles in Bilby, travelling from their Melbourne, Victoria home along the coast to Byron Bay, New South Wales which is just South of the state border with Queensland.
“When you spend all your days by the beach you feel a lot more relaxed,” Liam said.
“Having a motorbike on the back also gives us the freedom for one of us to be able to go off and explore whenever we feel we need a bit of space.
“We do keep ourselves pretty busy though and are out on the water most days, one of my big ambitions for the trip was to learn to surf which I’m still not very good at.
“Ali has a push bike and paddle board, both of which she likes to regularly get on wherever we are.
“We now have so much time to do the things we love, ‘van life’ has for us has been pretty special so far.”