Stories

This Midwest Family Transformed a Yellow School Bus Into Their New Home So They Could Travel The Country Together

Do you think of yourself as adventurous? Or spontaneous? Have you ever considered just packing everything up and getting on the road? Well, the Davis family decided after living the standard 9-to-5 lifestyle, they were ready to mix things up a bit and see the entire country with their own eyes.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They were ready to start a brand new adventure together, and they were going to do so onboard an old yellow school bus. So Luke and Rachel Davis got to work, completely turning the school bus into a functioning home. And we have photos of the whole process to show you how it’s done. So settle in and enjoy the journey following this seriously cool family and their epic renovation.

Decision Making

In 2015 Luke Davis from Illinois was unemployed and was living with his wife and daughter when he decided to take the plunge and buy a school bus. He went out and bought a 1992 Am Tran Genesis for $4,000. Yes, we are talking about the good old stereotypical yellow school bus.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Luke and his wife, with the help of friends and family, planned to transform the interior of the bus. It actually ended up taking them around 18 months, which doesn’t even sound that long considering the transformation. But we have to admit that seeing the old blue seats make us super nostalgic for school days.

Getting Started

Luke explained the decision in a blog post, “At first, it seemed like such a crazy, far-out idea, the kind you only dream of doing. Then, the more we talked about it the more we realized we couldn’t shake the desire for this lifestyle of freedom.” And we just love their passion and attitude!

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

The Davis family was not the first to buy a school bus to renovate. It is actually already a trend that has been named a ‘skooly.’ You can see Rachel was excited about starting the renovation of the bus. It was an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of process. And Luke’s dad and brother helped a lot too.

Big Changes

The first step of their renovation journey involved gutting the entire interior and get rid of the bus seats. Then they had to decide which parts of the bus were going to stay. Was everything going to fit? Well, they decided to lift the entire roof of the bus by 20 inches to add more space.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

We didn’t think that was possible. But the Davis family proved that anything was possible when it came to their bus transformation. So yes, they just simply lifted the roof. That meant they had to extend the walls. By doing this it actually gave them the chance to add or remove windows as they wanted.

Handy Man

Luckily, Luke was a pipefitter by trade so he had some useful skills up his sleeve. And when it came to things that he did not know how to do, he just learned on the job. Both he and Rachel applied their knowledge as well as learned a lot just by giving it a go and asking tradie friends.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Luke explains, “I’ve definitely done a lot of work in the trade — welding, fabricating, and all that, but we had to learn a lot to do all the components — the electrical, the solar.” It is pretty useful to have these skills and not have to hire anyone to do the heavy-duty stuff.

The Layout

Once the bus was gutted, Rachel and Luke had to figure out how they wanted to do the layout of the bus. They tried a lot of different versions with the kitchen in the middle, or at the back, or at the front and everything else moving around accordingly as well. They changed their minds multiple times, and again even after they had started remodeling.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They decided to put the kitchen towards the middle and then put a couch and table sitting alongside the kitchen. We think that this was the right move, well we don’t know anything about this stuff but it turned out well so we like it. They also had to build in the gas and electricals so that they could have a fully functioning kitchen.

Going Green

And these guys did it all right. They even installed an exterior self-sufficient solar-paneled roof. This provided the bus with enough energy so they could go completely off-grid for two weeks at a time if they wanted. We love to see this kind of stuff, we are all for green energy!

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Rachel clearly picked up some skills, helping install the solar panes on the roof. They wanted to be as solar energy-efficient as possible. And with a rather large roof on their bus, they could install large panels, which meant a large amount of solar energy.

Storage Solutions

In such a small space, where do you put all of your stuff? We can’t begin to even imagine just trying to fit our shoe collection. So, Luke and Rachel were super conscious of ensuring they had enough storage space. And to us, it sounded like trying to hide Christmas presents.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They put some storage behind their stove. Then they put some more storage under the couch. And there was some more room under the stairs that they built. Pretty much, they put storage wherever they could. And somehow they managed to fit it all. Pretty cool to see the interior coming together.

Bed Time

Sleeping arrangements on a bus naturally become snug and cozy. So Luke and Rachel designed their beds in a bunk bed style. They created a second level for their bed to go above the one below for their daughter. Can you imagine living in a bunk bed with your parents permanently?

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Well, it turned out pretty cool and you will soon see the end result. Luke and Rachel even installed a proper staircase up to their bed. That’s where they also managed to add a bunch of storage. They really took advantage of every nook and cranny on the bus.

Ready for Details

As soon as they started getting to the interior finishes, things started really coming together. With just a simple coat of white paint, it started to look like a home. It is probably because they had done such a good job with the building, the windows, the skirting, and frames. Everything looked legit.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Especially with the floorboards. Have you ever seen a bus with beautiful timber flooring? Probably not. Nor had we until seeing Luke and Rachel’s skoolie. And how beautiful is that timber! It really makes it seem like such a cozy home to live in.

Coming Together

By adding more details to the bus, it became more and more of a home. Like the kitchen drawers, and ever the adorable handles. When they realized that they had some spare room, a mere 18-inch gap (huge in terms of fitting a home onto a bus) they added a small end table.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Even when you’re living on a bus, you need somewhere to put your cup of coffee or piece of cake when sitting on the couch. And Luke and Rachel had thought of all of these small requirements for their place. Which made it the perfect home by the end of it.

Sun Light

Just like we mentioned earlier, by replacing the exterior walls, they were able to have more control over the light and functionality. Here you can see one of the big windows that they installed. They needed to maximize natural light but also make sure they had plenty of privacy.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Rachel looks super happy with all the progress so far. We can’t imagine how much energy and effort would go into a project like this. It must have been especially difficult as a young family. The building site was definitely not a place to have their little one, Charlotte, running around.

Final Touches

Once almost everything on the inside was installed and finished, They got the exterior. Here we see Rachel weatherproofing the roof of the bus. They really did think of everything and took all the necessary precautions. This way, even in snowy and rainy weather, they could confidently drive on in their mobile home.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

To patch up the roof, Luke and Rachel used Henry solar flex roof coating. And we aren’t talking about just one coat of the stuff. They had to paint on several layers to ensure it does the job. At this point, they must have been so excited to be finishing up the bus after 18 months of tirelessly working on it.

Almost Ready

Yes, the bus is parked and is not being worked on, Charlotte is safe. Even baby Charlotte is getting excited about her new adventure. We can’t imagine growing up on a school bus. Having all of your first memories on the road and on a big America journey.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

It looks like Charlotte wants to be driving the bus herself. Maybe one day when she is older, she might copy her parents and do it all herself. But for now, we want to see the final product. Let’s check out all of the hard work that the Davis family put in for their brand new home on wheels.

Go Time

And here it is. In all of it’s transformed glory. And it is a beauty. The bus looks absolutely brand new and ready for the big adventures to come. Luke and Rachel couldn’t believe how well it had turned out. It was everything that they and dreamed of and so much more.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

This gorgeous photo should be used to encourage others to follow suit because it almost has us convinced that we should. But now we are ready to see some interior shots. You won’t be able to believe that it was just a standard falling a part yellow school bus.

Polished Goodness

Ok, so we can surely agree that this is way more than we ever imagined. The former school bus now features a wood burner and fitted kitchen units. The polished timber is the perfect warming touch. And we are pretty in love with the blue-painted ceiling.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

If we hadn’t shown you the entire process, we would probably we able to convince you that this was someone’s compact apartment kitchen. It is hard to believe that the Davis family put this home together on the yellow school bus. We think we could definitely live onboard this bus for a while, but maybe not a few years like Luke and Rachel.

Family Touch

And not only did Luke and Rachel design the bus interior perfectly, but they also added all of the homey and family touches that are crucial. We can really get a sense of their family life just from seeing these few photos with the pillows, handing decorations, and toys.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They even have room for an indoor plant and a little dining table! So for such a compact space, they’ve really made it a place for their family to settle in. We wonder if there’s a TV or something like that on board the bus. Or if they just stuck to the great outdoors for entertainment.

Pillow Talk

We love how the bedroom set up turned out! The bed actually looks super comfortable and we think we could definitely live with that. The bed is actually a queen mattress but to make the staircase functional they actually had to cut 6 inches off the end of it.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They are lucky that Rachel is short and that Luke isn’t super tall and they were able to manage with 6 inches less. And Charlotte’s little bedroom underneath is adorable. She even has her built-in barrier so she can’t fall out of bed. It must be fun for her to have her parents so close.

High School Sweethearts

Luke and Rachel were lucky in love from an early age, having met and dated during high school. They were both born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, marrying in 2009 when they were only 19 and 20 years of age. We just love to hear that these once teenage lovebirds created a happy family and married life.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Proof of their successful partnership is in their recommendation to do exactly what they have done. “We lived in a 1400 sq foot house for 6 years before converting our bus and moving into it,” they explained, adding “We have been able to do a lot of traveling. It was a blessing to be able to travel the country and we highly recommend it should an opportunity ever arise for you.”

Serious Explorers

When living on a bus, the world is your oyster. If you want to stay parked and explore the surrounding areas by foot, you can. If you want to drive endlessly and cover a lot of distance, you can. And that is exactly what Luke and Rachel did. While living on the bus, they lived both stationary and on the road.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Imagine having the American great outdoors as your ‘back garden.’ It is pretty amazing to see the bus sitting in the middle of a national park. We are really able to see the life and environment that the Davis family lives in. Their day-to-day life really is one giant adventure and exploration.

Happy Campers

After almost a full year of living on the bus as a family, Luke and Rachel were able to reflect on the huge changes they had made, as well as the journey they were on. We can definitely get how weird it must have been to quit their jobs and jump on a bus. But they are still looking like happy campers to us!

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Luke explains, “We are a family who loves Jesus, coffee, healthy things (and sweet things), meeting new people, and doing life together. Adjusting to life in 220 square feet has had its challenges but ultimately we love it and the freedom that it gives us. We have seen more of this country than we ever thought possible and are dreaming big for our future.”

Growing Family

After eight years of marriage, a gorgeous daughter, and a year of living on the bus, the Davis family decided to expand. So far, they had already traveled to 32 states as a family of three. And now with the news of their expected baby, they were excited about the new adventure ahead.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

We just want to know how they worked out how to fit another person into their life on the bus. Yes, we know a baby is small but surely adding a newborn onto the bus added a lot of extra supplies and energy. The Davis family definitely knew how to keep it interesting.

Raise the Roof

As a growing family, any extra space is welcome. That’s why they’re so happy to have raised the roof of the converted school bus. It may not make much difference to the kids, but that adults sure feel the benefits. Many would prefer not to change the original structure, but the Davis’ certainly weren’t in two minds.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They explained: “I know some people are partial to keeping the original look of the school bus, but man, does adding height give the interior a completely different feel! We loved having all the extra headroom!” We love to see that they’re changing the bus to what best fits their needs.

New Arrival

And on October 28 they announced on Instagram, “Meet our new wanderer! Abraham William Davis. This little guy doesn’t have his own spot on the bus but that’s not going to stop us from living the #skoolie life!!” And isn’t he just an adorable addition to the Davis clan?

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

And for a while, their lives slowed down a little. Taking in the first very moments with their new baby, Abraham. Look at his little hands, they couldn’t be sweeter. And Rachel looks over the moon and exhausted, just like any new mom.

Capturing Moments

Life was still an adventure on board the bus but now life was all about lattes, books, naps and family time. We can imagine it must have been really special all living intimately as their little family grew up. Charlotte was smitten with her new little brother.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

And we also need to appreciate the little wood burner that they installed next to the stairs. Firstly, we love the industrial vibe of the burner. Secondly, it must be a lifesaver during the winter months. Making the bus super cozy for them all to snuggle up together.

Living Life

With Charlotte and Abraham growing up, the family spent a lot of time in nature. They often met up with other families and friends along the way. Exploring the national parks and local areas as they traveled along. Luke even mentioned, “Having visitors always makes us get out and do new things.”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

And with life moving along, Luke was super appreciative of everything his wife was doing, “Rachel is a natural mother and is strategic in every facet of raising our kids. The proof is in Charlotte, I wouldn’t change a single thing about her and I’m proud of how she is turning out thanks to Rachel’s love, grace, and patience.”

Home Sweet Home

Nothing makes anywhere feel more like home than the smell of some freshly baked treats. And once Rachel figured this out, you couldn’t stop her keeping busy in the kitchen. In this photo, she gives us a glimpse into what a chilled afternoon at home looks like for them. Coffee cake anyone?

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Yep, these kids aren’t missing out on anything. They can get busy with their drawings and puzzles – before they know it they’ll be indulging in a nice homemade treat that was whisked together only a meter away! After all, it was important for the family to keep things homey: “I love the smell of fresh baked goods,” Rachel admits.

The Snack Spot

The kids have discovered a little area where they like to perch and have some snacks. It just so happens to be the front dashboard of the school bus! It wouldn’t be safe to sit there whilst one of the parents is driving, but why not make use of it when they’re stationary? After all, they want a spot at the front of the bus, too!

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

The parents were a little dumbfounded at first by the kid’s enthusiasm for the spot, asking followers: “Anybody else’s kids love to sit on the front dash?” They admitted that they resisted making it a habit for the kids, but eventually caved. “When Abraham started crawling all he wanted to do was go up there so I constantly had to block it because I never put up a gate, but now they both go up there every day to sit and snack and play.”

Book Club

One thing that Luke and Rachel need to accommodate is their kids’ love of reading. Finding a space to read isn’t a problem as we can see, it’s storing all their books! “Both of our kids love reading books so book storage is a must,” Rachel explains. Luckily, they designed their school bus with flexibility in mind.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They used to store the books underneath Charlotte’s bed until they needed more space. Now, they have them stored in a wire basket on their stove-top surface! “Sometimes you gotta rearrange. When we move the bus we will put hooks and a cord across [the basket] to hold them in place. And the wire basket is actually screwed to the counter so that is always road-ready.” These two are always coming up with solutions.

Two-Toned Travels

After traveling for a year and a half and visiting over 30 states the Davis family finally decided it was time to paint their bus conversion! They wrote: “Weird fact: we didn’t paint our bus until after we did all of our traveling. [Only] until we resettled we decided to paint the exterior of the bus. It got to the point where the two-tone silver/white became our look and people thought we did it on purpose… nope.”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Pictured here before the all-white paint job, they didn’t have a special reason for leaving it so long. It simply “just wasn’t high on our priority list.” They added that “She’s definitely sharp looking painted all white but sometimes it feels unnatural because we were so used to it being two-toned.”

Laundry Day

A big subject of discussion for those in the mobile-life community is whether or not it’s worth getting a washer/dryer put in their home on wheels. Rachel found herself reaching out the community to share their thoughts and experiences. She asked: “Do you like it? Waste of space? Nice to have? Good for everyday stuff but still need to go to the laundromat? Not efficient enough?”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Despite wanting to hear about what others had to say, it doesn’t seem like trips to the local laundromat are much of an issue for them. “We don’t have machines in the bus,” Rachel admitted, confirming that “we have never found it to be too much of a bother to spend a few hours at a laundromat.” And considering the fact that a lot of laundromats have free wifi, it might even be a welcome stopover sometimes!

Three Years and Counting

The Davis family officially marked three years of living on their school bus. And what a journey it has been. Charlotte had grown up a lot, Abraham was born, Luke and Rachel celebrated three more wedding anniversaries and plenty of adventures and memories had been made.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

And they are all still smiling! Well, maybe except Abraham but we are sure that he is smiling on the inside. We are excited to see what comes next for the Davis family. As they continue life on board the bus and grow as a family, we are sure there’s more exciting stuff to come.

Total Pro’s

All their experience building up their home on wheels has made them into experts that can now do the same for others. They’re now carrying out van or bus conversions for their clients, carrying out roof raises, welding, or woodwork. They know a thing a two about life on the road and found a sustainable way to share their knowledge.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Just take a look at the photo above – it’s clear they have a real knack for this kind of stuff. They crafted a super nice kitchen and workspace for their clients to fit their needs best. Making it so that as much light as possible can flood into the bus, this living space doesn’t feel so cramped or claustrophobic.

Coping With the Cold

It may be sunny outside, but it was still a cold day in Zirconia, North Carolina for the Davis family. Luckily, they thought ahead and were well equipped to deal with the challenges that winter weather brings. Aside from their stove in the corner, they made more space in the center of the bus to play and keep active.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They folded away Abraham’s pack n play and stored it down the right side of the sofa. Allowing for more open space encouraged the kids to move around, giving them “some extra space to play!” The flexibility of their living space was another well thought out feature that allowed them to adapt to changing needs.

Their Own Property

Rather unexpectantly, the Davis family bought a piece of land! Don’t worry, they’re still a traveling family, but they wanted a stable place where they could create another unconventional family space – a yurt. And we have no doubt that it’s going to be something impressive when they’re finished with it if history is anything to go by.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Here their little one is looking out of the window onto the land itself. Even before beginning to build, they spent a short weekend there living in the bus. They reminisced: “We don’t have any utilities on our property yet so we didn’t stay for long. Nonetheless, it was fun and got us really excited to wake up each morning with this view!”

Trading Homes

With news of their intentions to start building a little yurt, they shared their unexpected future plans with the converted school bus. “We can’t believe we’re about to say this…. but we will most likely sell the bus,” they admitted, but it’s all for good reason. “We have so many plans to fill you in on,” they explained.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They captioned this photo on Instagram: ” We recently bought a 30’ yurt and it will be here in July… We will be going from 220 sq ft to 705 sq ft! We are so so stoked and will keep sharing the process.” Obviously they felt it was time to upsize and allow their little ones more room to play.

Busy Bees

Having very recently started to build the base to their yurt, they documented the first couple of challenging days. And you might be surprised to see just how far they’ve come in such a short space of time. This is where they were at on the second day! Perhaps they got so much done due to the assistance of their little helpers.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Not veering too far from their tiny living situation on the bus, they’re also building a tiny home on their plot of land. With the framing done and the subfloor put down after 48 hours, they’re well on their way to creating a dream home for their growing family. Luckily, the kids love playing outdoors, and it seems like they’ll settle into this environment very easily.

Baby on Board!

The second month into 2020 saw another exciting change for the Davis family: a new baby! They revealed that they’re expecting to give birth towards the end of July, making July, August, September, and October birthday months for the Davis family!

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

While they kept the news under wraps for the first few months, Rachel joked that it was harder to hide in person. She admitted that people who had seen her lately would have quickly guessed the exciting news: “It’s very obvious.” It might make their alternative lifestyle all the more challenging, but that’s not intimidating them.

Bittersweet Good Byes

While the Davis’ are really excited to move into their new tiny home, they have mixed feelings about leaving behind the home on wheels they’ve had for three years. This was Rachel’s morning spot: ” Every day. Coffee, bible time, and calm before the day begins. Sitting here feels so normal, it’s comforting.”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

She admits, “I’ll definitely miss sitting on this couch watching my kids play at my feet and grow up before my eyes!” But she knows good things await their family in the future: “It’s just goodbye to *this* couch and we’ll nestle into a new routine in a new spot soon.” If you’re wondering what Luke is up to usually at this time, he fully admits to not being a morning person like his girls!

There Were Sacrifices

Despite all the fond and meaningful times they had in the school bus conversion, it’s important to remember that it wasnn’t always peaches and cream. Sacrifices did have to be made for a young family to live in a home on wheels. One of the ways in which they compromised was when it came to laundry.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Specifically with drying clothes, they had to get creative. They admit: “The drying rack didn’t make the cut for bus life.” They improvised, and hung their wet laundry wherever they could. But they assure us that not only did it do the job, but they also didn’t miss having the clumsy apparatus anyhow.

The Triple Purpose Sink

Another object they sacrificed on was a baby bath. Instead of hanging onto a bulky plastic tub, they just washed their little one in the sink like in the good old days. And it worked a charm, especially as it actually took on another purpose as the temporary babysitter.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

While needing to spruce up their motorhome they could simply sit their toddler in the sink and keep him distracted. “Bubble baths make a great distraction while I get some cleaning done (especially since I never have to even leave the room.) Now that’s what we call multifunctional.

Mess Was Amplified

Another downside to living in a tiny home was that if the living space was messy, it looked exra messy. Household items that would normally become misplaced or children’s toys would make their home look especially untidy compared to a more spacious and conventional family home.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

That basically mean’t that the Davis family would just have to clean up more often than most. “This is the reality of what the bus looks like before our morning clean up,” they captioned this photo on Instagram. “But yes we do have a morning clean up that we do. And a midday… and evening!”

Living in an Unfinished Bus

Living in a converted bus means that you have to be flexible and adaptable. When they started off living in the school bus conversion it still wasn’t finished. And as we can see from this picture, things could get more than a bir crowded.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

It was an adjustment period of about five months until they finished renovations. They would work on it “at a family members house, on the side of the road, in parking lots, campgrounds…” basically anywhere and everywhere they could.

Independent and Self-Reliant

While they were first living inside the bus and still building it, they decided that they wanted their bus to have the ability to be self-sufficient. “We built our bus to be off-grid capable because we knew we wanted to take advantage of beautiful spots like this and not be dependent on campgrounds.”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

These solar panels allowed for them to convert sunlight into energy, meaning they could function normally in totally remote areas. “And man were the views worth it!” they reminisced about their time living off-grid amongst the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming.

Privacy, Please!

Even though they’re cohabiting in a tiny home, it was still possible to get a corner of privacy here and there! Take a look at Charlotte’s fort creation – she’s sectioned off her sleeping space into a password-only area that her parents can’t peek into. All it took was pinning and dragging a curtain across.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

It’s nice to see that even though they love and enjoy the communal living space, the kids are still able to have some moments alone from time to time. It also allows Charlotte to turn off the lights and get some sleep when the grown-ups are still up and awake.

Clean and Pristine

Take a look at their beloved bus just after they gave it a brand spanking new paint job. The Davis family were really happy to get rid of the two-tone exterior they had been rocking before, and just have it a uniform and clean white color. Funnily enough, it took five years to finally get round to it!

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

Reminiscing about their time spent living here, they wrote next to this picture: “From day 1 to day 1,777. What a journey, bus life and the skoolie community has meant so much to us. It has launched us into a different life than we ever dreamt we’d have.”

Festival-Bound Skoolie

Luke and Rachel were so happy with how their 1992 AmTran Genesis bus conversion turned out, they took it to the Tiny House North Carolina Street Festival. There, attendees could roam around the Davis’ home on wheels and check out exactly what the build was like in the flesh.

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Image: School of Home

Here, Luke is pictured sitting on the kitchen table top as people take in the fine craftesmanship. And seeing so many people in the front of the bus shows just how much space there really is to entertain people. Not to mention how much of a difference the roof raise ads.

Achieving Recognition

Last year, Luke and Rachel were very proud when they were chosen by The Spruce Makes as one of the best tiny homes Instagrm accounts out there. Along with 15 other small dwellings, they were recognized as one of the most worthwhile converters for their wonderful build.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They acknowledged the achievement online, writing: “What an honor, it’s very humbling that y’all enjoy following along on our adventure! Any time we hear that we have been able to inspire someone in even the smallest way it makes everything worth it. It is seriously crazy to think back to moving from IL to CO our very first night in the bus.”

Exciting Changes

Now, they’ve put aside their life in the bus conversion. Here they are on the piece of land they bought, soaking up the sun. “We looked for our property for over a year and a half and almost made offers on a few others,” they revealed. “But we are so so happy to have found this one.”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

It’s easy to see why their so happy with their purchase: “It is 1.43 acres, flat and buildable with grass yet completely surrounded by trees… it has a stream and a barn and is only 15 minutes to [work] so the daily commute won’t be too bad!” They certainly sounded excited about their future on this property.

Preparing for Their New Yurt

When March was coming around, the Davis’ gave a little update on their situation. “We are renting an apartment in an old stone house as our transitionary space! We are very excited, and we do not plan to be in it long,” they revealed, along with the reassurance that “things with the property are moving along.”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

They knew people were curious about how the yurt build was coming. They explained, “We have our septic in which is a huge step forward! We are waiting for the electric to be turned on to the barn (this week) and we are about to start building the deck for the yurt!” Clearly, self-isolating as a family hasn’t stopped them from getting ahead with their building plans.

Lattice Walls, Check!

Take a look at how much progress they made in just a few weeks! The yurt building site has transformed into a solid structural foundation, but it wasn’t without a lot of hard work and many hands on deck. Now, the Davis family is able to imagine what their new home will look like.

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

The yurt has double front doors, five windows all around it, and intricate latice walls. They’re also making a yurt that will stand the test of time and prevent weather leakage by building not one but three roof layers on the dome. On the left of the construction, you can see they started adding the insulation panels.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

All the while the build has been going on, the kids have been exploring their new playground. And Luke and Rachel are thrilled to see their little ones take to the environment: “We love watching the kids play outside when we’re here,” Rachel explained, adding “They are just in their element, they’re drawn to the stream and the dirt and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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Image: Instagram / midwestwanderers

While mum and dad have been busy with the build, the kids have been climbing trees and caring for butterflies. They recently released some Painted Lady Butterflies on their lot, and when the grandparents come round to babysit they like to create their own all-natural hot chocolate (AKA red dirt from the creek and water from the stream!) They’ve gotten pretty good at finding excuses not to drink it.

We Should Have Seen it Coming

If there’s one thing the Davises are good at, it’s roof-raising. That’s why they decided at the last minute to raise the roof of their yurt by another two feet. It’s hardly surprising, seeing how much they loved the extra headroom on the school bus. Now, from the floor to the top of the dome is 16 feet!

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Images: Instagram / midwestwanderers (left and right)

They were able to extend the roof by building two feet extra to the load-bearing wall. The lattice was only seven feet tall, so they built some attractive wood pallets to sit at the bottom. With nine-inch tall walls, their home won’t feel as cramped or tightly packed. They revealed: “We did this so that we can have a decently sized loft for ourselves with a little more headroom.”

One More to the Mix

Good news all around – Rachel is pregnant with her third child! The whole family is extremely excited to welcome a new addition to the home. It’s not expected that they’ll have moved into the yurt by the time the baby is born, but that doesn’t mean they’re not enjoying the property in the meantime.

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Images: Instagram / Rachel Davis (left and right)

It was recently Father’s Day, and the family could think of nothing better than spending it in their happy place. It’s a whole lot happier for the young ones now that they’ve built them an at-home sandpit. They posted these words on Instagram: “Happy Father’s Day. To a dad who will do anything for his kids, you’re awesome and our kids are lucky to have you!!” They certainly are.

It’s a Yes From Me

Their oldest kid Charlotte certainly looks pleased with how the yurt is coming along. Here she is standing in the shell of what will be their new home, taking in that ceiling height. At only five years old, she’s already had amazing experiences and seen breath-taking views that many others can only dream about.

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Image: Instagram / Rachel Davis

She definitely lives up to her middle name, Joy, as Rachel revealed. “She exemplifies her middle name, Joy. She’s smart (beyond her years, always has been), funny, compassionate, and full of love.” In this image, Charlotte takes a look at their handy work in broad daylight, before they covered their build in a green waterproof cover.

Meanwhile Back at the School Bus…

The Davises wished to sell the renovated school bus but they wanted it to go to the right person. They found the right customer in Lee Asher, a full-time traveler who wanted to move in with his dogs. He’s a plant-based chef who instructs people how to create easy and original everyday meals.

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Images: Instagram / Lee Asher (left and right)

But there was a catch – he wanted to move in with all of his 10 rescue dogs. He did just that, and now 11 of them live on top of each other in the converted skoolie. But it’s not all that bad as you’ll come to see, as he and his wolf pack have been having the time of their lives.

Bagsy the Couch

Take a look at all 11 of them in the main living space. It’s a bit of a squeeze but all of them are enjoying it. “My favorite thing about the skoolie is how comfortable all the dogs always are in it,” Lee wrote on his social platform. His dog Molly (lying opposite Lee with the dark fur) he admits would much prefer it was just her and him in the bus, but as he puts it, she just ” loves life on the road.”

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Image: Instagram / Lee Asher

But as Lee says, “there’s no assigned seating on this bus.” He knew he’d be taking over the bus after the Davis family a few weeks prior to moving in. When it finally happened, the lifestyle change came as quite a shock to him, and especially to the dogs. But he finds sharing his life with his canine companions so fulfilling, he tries to encourage others to do the same. And that’s what inspired him to start his charity, The Asher House.

The Asher House Bus

He wanted to do more than travel full-time with his pups – he wanted to show other people how fulfilling it can be to adopt a rescue. That’s why he called his skoolie “The Asher House Bus,” to visit dog shelters all over the U.S. and host pet adoption events. He even wrote it on the side.

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Image: Instagram / Lee Asher

When he posted this pic, he thanked his followers for “the unbelievable love and support you’ve shown.” He explained how “The whole point of The Asher House was to show how your dog, specifically rescue dogs, could be an addition [to] your active lifestyle and not get in the way of that.”

The Fun Is in the Challenge

Living in a converted bus and traveling through the states can be especially inspiring. He has thanked his followers for joining him on his journey, adding that while it’s a fun adventure, “It’s been a lot so far. I’ve been going through a lot, I’ve been thinking a lot, writing and creating a lot, I guess all in all just doing a lot, especially driving…”

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Image: Instagram / Lee Asher

But driving and sleeping is the only time they tend to stay on the bus. He clarified in an interview with Pet Central that “We don’t live in the RV, we live in the world.” He asserted that “We’re not spending the majority of our time in our RV. We’re spending it experiencing new adventures.”

It’s a Dirty Job but Someone’s Gotta Do It

You might assume the toilet situation is a pain for Lee to deal with, but wherever there’s a will there’s a way. He keeps his motley crew on a potty break schedule that’s roughly every two to three hours. And in the mornings, they know the first thing he’s going to do when he wakes up is let them all do their business.

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Image: Instagram / Lee Asher

Lee likes to work out every morning too, followed by eating his breakfast. But not before he’s gone outside to “pick up” after all 10 of his dogs. Yep, that’s a lot of bending over he has to do. We’re jealous of his life in a lot of ways, but this isn’t one of them.

Shotgun the Front Seat!

One thing his dogs aren’t good at doing is giving him space. When he’s at the front of the bus and driving it, most of them try to sit or stand right beside him… while the vehicle is in motion. But he has fond memories of “driving straight for endless miles on an open road with one hand on the wheel and one hand giving them head massages.”

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Images: Instagram / Lee Asher (left and right)

Lee admits that petting his dogs while driving on a freeway was “a cool image” to him that he would often think about. Now, his dreams are his reality. As we can see from the photos, his pups are just like real kids competing for the front seat. But once they been driving for a while, they all settle down and fall asleep in the RV.

Not off the Rack

Remember how the Davis family had to cut six inches off of the end of their mattress so they could fit a bed at the back? Well, Lee also had to find himself a more permanent solution that wasn’t going to ruin his back. In the end, he went all in and had a custom mattress made for the specific space in the skoolie.

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Images: Instagram / Lee Asher (left and right)

“I couldn’t find a bed that not only fit my bed frame in the skoolie but also supported my back,” he revealed to his Instagram followers. In the end, we think he chose to invest wisely. After all, it’s not just him he’s doing that for, it’s his 10 other feet warmers, too!

Itchy Feet and Paws

Take a look at the gang staring up at Lee as he kicks back a cool beverage. On average, he likes to be living on the road for seven to nine months of the year, going for two months at a time before touching base. He drives across states and visits rescue shelters, encouraging people to adopt, not shop.

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Image: Instagram / Lee Asher

His first year living on the road saw him travel to every one of the states except Hawaii – now that’s a lot of driving. Last year he managed to revisit 40 states and to date, over 500 rescue animals have been adopted during a pet adoption event he hosted. “We’ll certainly hit a few roadblocks along the way but we’ll never stop driving,” he told his followers.

What Motivates Him?

Lee is adamant that adopting a dog in need of a home can heal many wounds for both the person and the pup. One day on Instagram, he reached out to his followers to share some overwhelming feelings. “Such a beautiful feeling to connect with these beautiful adoptable dogs. So much love.”

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Image: Instagram / Lee Asher

He continued: ” So much gratitude and loving healing energy. Man, I just can’t put it into words. My heart with these animals feels so whole and complete. Alright, I love y’all, thank you.” But the question he asks himself when he sees a rescue isn’t if he needs to them, it’s whether they need him.

Pooch Smooches

Naturally, if you’re living in a renovated school bus with 10 dogs ranging from two to 14 years old, you’re probably not a clean freak. That’s why Lee isn’t fussed about kissing his dogs: “If you’re going to hold anything back then don’t let it be kisses,” he pleaded to his Instagram following.

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Image: Instagram / Lee Asher

“For each kiss should say more than I love you, each kiss is a message sent with energy that we can only explain as a powerful feeling that translates into a gift that anyone or anything is special to receive.” Clearly, he knows what he’s talking about. We’ve hardly seen such happy and content pups.