By Mark McConville
MEET the couple who packed up their lives into a stunning self-converted school bus and hit the road.
Tyler Hjorting (28), from Redondo Beach, California and Lexi O’Brien (26), from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma were inspired by van conversions they saw posted on social media.
They eventually stumbled across ‘Skoolies’ where people convert old school buses into tiny mobile homes.
Tyler and Lexi then spent around £8k on their 2001 International bus before spending a further £12k refurbishing it over the course of eight months.
“This is a home that feels warm and cosy while still representing a minimalistic lifestyle,” they said.
“A school bus is the perfect empty shell to create your ideal home on wheels. We spent months designing the perfect layout that would fit our needs. Our bus is completely off grid and has everything from a full kitchen to a bedroom and bathroom.
“A few years ago I was telling Tyler how much I loved all these van conversions I was seeing on Instagram and social media and that I wanted to drop everything and travel in a van.
“He loved the idea and ended up finding “Skoolies.”There is a whole community of people who have converted school buses into their homes! And when Tyler showed me, I became obsessed and knew this is what we had to do! The next day we started looking for a school bus to buy.”
The couple has travelled through 19 states in America over the last eight months and plan to make it to the East Coast in the New Year.
Their goal is to see most of the United States before they settle down somewhere. They explained what life is like on their bus.
“At first we thought it would be a lot different than living in our old apartment but it’s not too different other than the fact that it moves,” they said.
“We had a one bedroom apartment before we moved into the bus and it wasn’t much bigger than what we have now. Now I feel like life is better on the road. We have so much freedom and have been able to see so many things.
“Although we initially thought the freedom was going to be the absolute best part of this lifestyle, it’s the community. The people we have met whether it is on the side of the road in some small town or at a Tiny Home festival of thousands, the friends we have made will be lifelong.
“There is such an amazing vibe and sense of family between the people of this nomadic lifestyle that has blown us away. Following along on social media is one thing, but sitting in someone else’s bus or van and hearing their story in person and realizing that we are not alone on this journey is incredible. Meeting other people living this lifestyle has not only inspired us to keep going, but to encourage others to do the same.”
The adventurous pair also had some advice for anyone who wants to follow in their tyre tracks.
“If we had to give advice to anyone it would be that it is never too late,” they said.
“We have seen families of six, young couples, old couples, and plenty of solo travellers on the road. We have also seen people leave behind corporate jobs, friends and family and get out of their comfort zone to pursue their dreams.
“There is a ton of ways to make money on the road and when you live this way you really don’t need much. We went from making £2-4k a month each to budgeting our whole year at £14k. The hard part is making the decision to let go of everything you were taught you needed.”
For more information see https://www.instagram.com/onewildridebus