They’re taking their home on the road.
An Australian couple has purchased an old school bus and turned it into their very own dream home on wheels.
Harry Shaw and his partner Hannah purchased the Hino RG230 bus back in 2018, but have since and transformed the 40-foot vessel into a permanent vacation home, spending a grand total of $30K on their abode.
Their project comes as interest in mobile homes has gone up by nearly 50% just between May and September compared to that interval last year, according to Google searches for relevant terms. In Connecticut, New Mexico, Virginia, and Texas, interest in these homes increased by 80%, new data from Point2 show.
The only state in the country that didn’t skyrocket in this metric was South Dakota, but there are more cows than people out there as it is.
For Harry and Hannah — and a growing number of new RV owners — the interest in mobile homes was literal. It also gave them a chance to turn a smaller, more affordable living arrangement into something they could get excited about.
“We loved the idea of having a home that we could live anywhere in,” Harry, a former mining industry worker, told Jam Press. “We loved the idea that we can have all the luxuries of a house and have the beach or forest right on our doorstep, and still get to sleep in our own bed every night and have a coffee from our coffee machine every morning.”
“The first day we went and looked at it, it had just dropped off a group of school kids for an excursion,” Harry said.
The couple spent hours and hours watching and rewatching Youtube tutorials on everything from installing a sink and faucet to building out some interior architecture framework for a bedroom or kitchen area.
“We sacrificed a lot of our spare time and social life in order to get it finished whilst also working at our jobs full-time,” Harry said. “Every tiny little task we would estimate how much time it would take, and it would drag out to four times as long as you would think.”
Working to keep the budget down, the couple scoured secondhand stores and online vintage dealers, shopped locally and made the most of secondhand wares. In terms of the interior design and architecture, friends and family were willing to step in and lend a hand for some of the more engineering-centric tasks.
While enthusiastic about the project and the end result, neither Harry nor Hannah came from a renovation or construction background, meaning every task required learning on-the-go, from putting in floorboards and roof panels to installing the gas and electricity.
Inside, the home’s been largely upgraded to suit the couple’s needs. At the back, there’s a bedroom area with a queen-sized bed on a platform that lifts up to reveal a big storage area.
“Above the bed is a split-system air conditioner, which we run directly off two lithium batteries charged from the 1800-watt solar panels on the roof,” Hannah, an on-the-road nutritionist, told Jam Press.
They were also able to add a full-sized kitchen with a gas oven and stove, a fridge, a cupboard that doubles as a laundry room and a breakfast bar.
“There’s also couches and a guest bed that can lift up to access more storage,” Hannah said.
Outside the actual “house,” the bus also tows a rig carrying equipment such as tools, camping gear and their “toys:” a dinghy boat and a 4×4 Suzuki Jimny.
The bus is fully operational, too, giving them the ability to venture out of their native Perth.
“We traveled north along the West Australian coast,” Harry said. “We saw how bananas grow in Carnarvon, we caught octopus and mud crabs in Karratha, we went to a pearl farm at Cape Leveque. We went cliff jumping at Lake Argyle and caught Barramundi in the Victoria River, ate Laksa for breakfast at the Darwin Markets. We have watched the sunset and sunrise at Uluru and went opal mining in Coober Pedy.”
For their ongoing saga, they also share their adventures on Instagram, @herandharry, with their 257,000 followers.
In doing so, they hope they can inspire other travelers across the world to take up the same reins.
“Do your research and get a good understanding of what sort of vehicle you want/need and what it is going to take to convert it,” they said. “Try and find people in your area who are undertaking a similar project and chat to them for advice. Also, learn from other people’s mistakes.”