By Scott Thompson
MEET THE adventurous young woman who has decided to ditch university in favour of a life on the road after being inspired by her OWN MUM to live on a bus.
When Etsy online store owner, Lexis Noelle (21) from New York, USA was still in high school she was inspired by the time she spent with her mother travelling the USA and Caribbean visiting areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Lexis had been influenced by others on Instagram who were seeing the world with their very own vans or busses in tow and was inspired by this minimalistic way of living. Working hard at the time as a waitress she saved every penny and then on February 6, 2017 when she was 18, she found the bus of her dreams on the internet.
Having had a test drive, Lexis went home empty handed and thought about her future, and the following day her dreams of travel came true as the bus became hers.
“I have such a huge passion for travel and exploring new places. When I graduated from high school, I just knew I didn’t want to go right to university. Books weren’t really my thing… nor was sitting around in a classroom learning about something I had no interest in,” Lexis said.
“I wanted to seriously enjoy my life and I knew that travel would give me what I needed. I mean, I could always go to university later down the line if I felt like it.
“When I was in high school, my mum, Tabbi, took me to all these cool places in The States and in the Carribean. It was always such a thrill to explore them all, meet new people and to see new things.
“We went everywhere in her vintage 1965 travel trailer. I used to love going camping with it and after seeing her convert her shuttle bus, it left me in complete awe. I knew I had to get my own little home on wheels.
“I’d been following others on Instagram for a while, watching them travel the world in both vans and bus conversions. I was completely torn between which to get, but in the end I got my own bus as there’s more space to customise them and I really wanted to be able to stand up inside. Especially in the USA, where depending where you are, winters can be pretty harsh.
“So, I spent months saving money and searching the web for the right vehicle. Then on February 6, 2017, when I was 18 years old, I found a little, pale blue, short 1989 bus with a ton of bus life potential.
“I contacted the seller right away and after many slow long hours of waiting in anticipation, they replied. Before I knew it me and my mum were on our way that very same day to test drive her.
“We left without it at the time. I got home and thought hard about what I wanted to do. The next day we went back, I paid for the bus. Just like that the little short bus, now called Lola, was all mine!”
Lexis’ mum was a life line when it came to converting the vehicle because she had seen and done it all before and she taught Lexis how to get it all ready for her own solo travels.
The bus took two-and-a-half months to get ready to move on board as she was gutted and superbly redesigned to fit Lexis’ living style completely. Her mini home includes a living and sleeping space, a bathroom with toilet and shower, kitchen and dining space and is powered with solar panels and power stations.
“Since my mother had already completed her shuttle bus conversion and knew all the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of converting a bus into a tiny home, I asked her to teach me what to do and where to start,” Lexis continued.
“My bus was completely emptied and I never knew how to re-do a floor, build cabinets, hook up solar power, or wire anything together. It was all new to me and I’m so glad I had her knowledge, patience and interest to teach me.
“I chose all the interior design for Lola and made sure it fit my living style. I wanted to be able to fit the most I could for the smallest amount of space.
“I put the bed in the middle to allow me to fit a bathroom on the far-left corner and give me an end table with storage in the far-right corner. It also means the back door wasn’t blocked so I can get in and out and get amazing scenic views wherever I was. The bed is also arranged so that in the day I can set up two couches which are made into a full-size bed at night.
“In the kitchen I have a variety of on/off grid kitchen appliances such as a microwave, coffee machine, gas stove, electric frying pan and mini fridge. Everything a girl could need to rustle up a delicious meal.
“The bathroom has a combined toilet and shower. The shower head is portable and drains out in the floor. It’s designed so I can take it and use it using campsite facilities too. I just hook it up to their water source. Or I can use it completely off grid using a portable pressurised shower bag.
“I even have dining space, it’s simple but sweet for dinners and includes two chairs and a slate tiled round table. I have curtains split into two so that while eating at the table I’m able to look outdoors to watch nature at its best.
“I truly created my own vision, which gives Lola character and she is completely unique. I needed my space to reflect me and what I loved and I’m so happy with the way she’s turned out.”
It has been three years since Lexis purchased her dream home and she has never been happier or freer. She can’t wait to continue exploring new places with Lola and sometimes following her mother with her bus.
“Fast forward, I’m now 21 and Lola is truly complete. I am loving everything I get to experience from my travels and can’t wait to carry on seeking out new wonderful places. I’m looking forward to travelling with my mum alongside her bus too,” she said.
“I set up my Instagram handle @adventuringwithlola to journal my conversion, seek advice and meet new people. I love being able to inspire others like they have me.
“I have even been able to start my own Etsy creative shop which allows me to make a living while I continue my travels. I will be attending Tiny House festivals and creative craft fairs across the USA. I can’t wait to see you all on the road.”