July 17, 2024

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Couple Turned School Bus Into Apartment to Travel US + Photos

4 min read
  • After their jobs went remote in 2020, couple Pooja and Kumar transformed a school bus into a home.
  • The couple installed plumbing, solar power, wiring, and water tanks into the bus.
  • The two have traveled to more than 10 different states across the US and work from their bus.

When their corporate workplaces went remote in March 2020, Pooja and Kumar decided to look for alternative living arrangements, sparking the idea to convert and live in a school bus.

“We used to travel two hours each way from our local area each weekend to change things up,” said Kumar. “One day, we thought, ‘Why even come back home to sleep? How can we keep going?'”

The couple bought a bus, redesigned it, and began their journey across the US. 

They chose a bus for its affordability and overall safety

A green bus on a gravel road with mountain range in the background

The coupled passed on an RV for a more affordable school bus.

Pooja Shah

After ample research and help from a friend who owned a bus, the couple purchased a vehicle of their own in January 2021.

Though an RV can range anywhere from $35,000 to $300,000, the couple said their bus cost about $10,000, plus additional spending to build the necessary requirements and personalize it.

“We wanted something that could customize to our needs and we can also be off-grid with our solar system,” Pooja said. “None of this was really possible with current RVs in the market and if it was, it was very expensive.”

Transforming a school bus can also be safer with proper planning and preparation.

Unlike RVs, school buses are built with windows made of laminated glass and a body made of steel. A typical RV is made from an aluminum frame and a fiberglass cover, materials that are less durable.

The couple put a lot of thought and deliberation into transforming their mobile home

Front area of bus with doors open, black driver's seat, and black steering wheel

The two wanted their new home to be functional but still have some homey touches.

Pooja Shah

Once they purchased their bus and gave up their apartment, Pooja and Kumar spent weeks transforming the vehicle into the sustainable mobile home of their dreams.

Wooden shelves and drawers and black refrigerator with view of white cabinets and driver's area in front of businside redesigned school bus

The couple spent months planning how they would transform the bus into their dream home.

Pooja Shah

“We were in a bit of shock after we made the purchase and were like, ‘What did we get ourselves into?'” Kumar told Business Insider. “When we finally were ready, we sketched, laid out floor plans, and conducted research on everything from plumbing, toilets, batteries, solar, wiring, security, water tanks, to even how to fill up oil.”

Inside of re-designed bus with gray seating, wood panelling, green curtains, and white ceiling

Pooja made sure to incorporate touches like curtains and decorations into the school bus.

Pooja Shah

With the functional aspects out of the way, the next step was to make it feel like home with lighting, curtains, pictures of friends and family, sentimental frames, and candles.

They started their journey without a plan but ended up in beautiful locations

School bus on road with carved out tunnel on side of mountain in background

The couple has traveled across the US for almost a year.

Pooja Shah

Once the bus was completed, they began their journey in June 2021.

They’ve since visited Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, and North California. 

A woman sits in front driver's eat of school bus and smiles with blue sky and desert area in background

Between the two of them, Pooja does most of the driving.

Pooja Shah

It was always Pooja’s mission to be the sole driver on this journey — to date, she’s driven over 7,000 miles.

Green school bus next to giant redwood trees in forest

The couple is currently living in California.

Pooja Shah

While traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple said they remain diligent during their interactions and wear masks around others.

The couple redefined the term ‘work-life balance’

Inside of redesigned bus with gray seating, wood panelling, and white ceiling

The two have remote jobs, so they work from their bus.

Pooja Shah

Pooja and Kumar also learned how to balance their careers and exploration time.

“It’s all about scheduling,” said Kumar. “We make sure to line up our work hours as best as possible. From there, we arrange key travel days and keep certain times during the day open to enjoy where we are, whether it is a long lunch break or getting up very early before work to get a hike in.”

Man sits on top of green school bus with built-on ladder on left side of bus

Pooja Shah

Kumar said a key part of working from the road is always having three working internet options. They also try to identify locations they can work from in advance. 

The couple doesn’t yet have an “end date” for their journey but are aware of when their bodies or schedules require them to slow down or change course.

Above all, they said, their goal is to keep waking up in places they’ve dreamed of.


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