So when I tell people that I’ve bought a school bus they usually do one of three things:
1.) Laugh and are excited and interested.
2.) Laugh and tell me that’s the weirdest thing they’ve ever heard and give me the “get away from me you dangerous mad-man!” look.
3.) Just ignore me and go on as if I hadn’t brought it up
I admit it’s a pretty odd thing to do. Converting a bus as a tailgating vehicle is somewhat common but as a permanent solution for a living situation, it’s defined as strange. The tiny house movement is seemingly just starting to take off but the stigmas against living in, dare I say it, a ‘mobile-home’ are slower to change to positive connotation. Such a broad term has such a standardized image. That somehow a smaller mobile space can’t be as valuable as any other home. The average American’s home is around 2600 square feet and costs about 90 bucks per square foot. My bus’s living space is about 255 square feet and in the end should cost around 60 bucks a square foot which I’m proud of – remember this is on a full-time college students budget created by two part-time jobs and one seasonal job. That comes out to about $15,000 which is less than what the down payment would be on said average home.
All dreams aside, college tuition has pulled me into the venomous black hole that is we all know as student loan debt. I know there’s a stigma that an artist typically doesn’t make much, and though most of us won’t live in mansions, we make more than most people think. Besides a persons’ home is their castle right? But the year and a half I’d spent at University of Kentucky cost about just as much as the two and half years tuition I’d expected to spend at University of Cincinnati. And I’m going to be here at UC for at least five years. Take it from me, make sure your scholarship is sealed in stone while still in high school and/or just play it safe and go to school in-state. Also take some time and be really, really bleepin’ honest with yourself about what you want to do in life.
So why do I consider this conversion a good idea? I think of it like this: $15,500 is basically two years rent for a one bedroom that allows large dogs in the U. of Cincinnati campus area. (Because you know – any dog over 40 pounds will probably kill you right? Look at peaches – she’s plotting.) And once my bus is finished, I don’t have to pay for rent because I’ve got predetermined arrangements for parking for the first
couple years after school. The utilities come down to refilling the propane tanks (which will vary greatly with the seasons), refilling the fresh water tank and consequentially dumping the gray water tank once every 4-5 weeks, and general maintenance on the fire place. No electric bill, period.
I plan on living in the bus for at least the two years to make it worth my money though I think I’m destined for a longer ride. I more than likely will be moving back in with my parents this fall to negate my need to pay bills and utilities (thanks mom and dad for offering!) so that the meager wages of a pool supervisor/sculpture studio manager/assistant swim coach can have a bit more meaning.
So basically this is my cheap way of living and my own way of keeping things interesting in the “now what?” stage I’ll inevitably hit when I graduate. It’s just my personality.