Meet Richard, a man who embraces life and prioritizes unique experiences over material possessions. He decided to turn a 2006 International school bus into his dream home. The conversion took a lot of effort, but the result is a one-of-a-kind tech-filled tiny home skoolie with amazing features.
His motivation for creating a nomadic home was his late father, who loved technology like Richard. He believes in prioritizing enjoying life because we aren't guaranteed a long one.
"Part of my motivation for doing this is my dad. I love my dad. He was just a brilliant man and very happy and enjoyed life, but he was real intellectual and smart.
He died at 54 years old of pancreatic cancer. So I'm only 59. If you wait till you're 70, you could all of a sudden something could happen that's catastrophic, and you might not be able to travel.
So why not embrace life? If you can go out and see things and do things and enjoy things. I think we have to get our priorities straight. I think quality of life is a lot more important than just the 9-to-5 grind.
I realized that life is about experiences. I mean, I like to have some nice things, but I don't really need to have a giant house. I don't need to have a bunch of fancy things. I'm more interested in traveling and seeing the country.
And then, if you can do that without paying campground fees, it's even more exciting. The fact that you can go park in those locations and explore and come right back to your house and look out the window and not have to mow your lawn, to me, is very appealing."
Inside his Tech-Filled Tiny Home Skoolie
When Richard decided to build a tiny home skoolie, he knew he wanted it equipped with the latest technology to make his life easier and safer. He started with a dog-nose 2006 International school bus, with a DT466 engine and an Allison 2500 transmission, measuring 32 feet long. One of the standout features of the bus is its security system, which includes four 1080p cameras and a Blink doorbell for added protection. This allows Richard to keep an eye on his surroundings at all times.
Further, he installed a 360-degree security camera on his roof. It's on a removable 4-foot pole. Impressively, it features a 20x optical zoom with night vision and 2-way audio. While it is helpful for security, Richard uses it for wildlife viewing at night. Because it has infrared night vision, he can pan around and look for animals around the bus.
Also, mounted to his roof:
- 1800 watts of solar panels
- a ham radio antenna
- a Starlink antenna for internet
The back of the bus serves as a garage for storage and housing Richard's dual-sport bike, which he uses for transportation. A 15,000-pound hitch on the back also allows for towing if needed. Inside the garage, there is space for photography gear and a 100-gallon water tank that is only accessible from the rear of the bus. This gives Richard the freedom to explore and live off-grid for long periods.
The bus's interior is equally impressive, with a kitchen with custom cabinets, a butcher block countertop, and heated floors. The bathroom includes a separate shower, a custom urinal for easy access, and a toilet in a drawer. The bedroom has sliding closets, a folding bed, and access to his robust solar power system.
Richard prepared his traveling tiny home skoolie for all kinds of weather when parked on or off-grid. He installed four modes of heat. This includes an RV propane furnace, a diesel heater, a mini-split heat pump (also for AC), and heated floors. While that might be excessive, Richard likes the idea of backup solutions if one or more systems fail.
Cost of his Tech-Filled Tiny Home Skoolie
Richard bought the bus for $7,000 and spent about $35,000 on the conversion. Notably, he points out that you could do it for less. All the technology he installed drove the cost up. But Richard argues that a DIY tiny home skoolie is a better investment than a traditional RV.
"If you look at a motorhome, you could spend anywhere from $40,000 to $200,000 on it even if it's used. Those motorhomes you buy don't come with solar. Or if they do, they come with really minimal solar.
So you spent less money (to convert a school bus), and you got exactly what you wanted.
And something that's really robust and strong because it's all steel versus buying something that's made by somebody else. Maybe it's made with particleboard instead of plywood. Some of the safety features might not be as good. If you spend time, you can build your bus right and make it exactly what you want."
For Richard, the time, effort, and expense of his DIY tiny home was worth it for the ability to travel and have unique experiences without spending money on expensive motorhomes or campgrounds. His tiny home skoolie gives him the freedom to travel and explore new places without feeling tethered to a permanent residence.
In conclusion, Richard's conversion of a school bus into his dream home is an inspiring example of how creativity and technology can transform a mundane object into something extraordinary. His tiny home is functional, safe, and comfortable, enabling him to live life on his own terms.
Richard's story is a testament to the power of dreaming big and taking bold actions to achieve those dreams. Perhaps his story will inspire others to take a chance on themselves, invest in their dreams, and embrace life to the fullest.
Watch a Tour of His Tech-Filled Tiny Home Skoolie!