Nothing screams freedom like packing up all your stuff and hopping in a Van, RV, or Bus and hitting the open road! And thats exactly what Shelby & David aka Aimless Travels on Instagram, did last year and have been on the road living out of their Old US Air Force Bus ever since!
We had a chance to catch up with Shelby & David to discuss how they transitioned into Bus Life, the Pros and Cons they have encountered so far, and some tips on how others can get started with their Van or Bus Life dreams! Lets check it out…
Inside Look at Bus Life in an Old US Air Force Bus
So who are you guys?
Aimless Travels: We are Shelby (25) and David (28). We both grew up and lived in New Jersey our entire lives. We were over the 9-5 and wanted to have more meaning to our lives than just work, the grind, and only ever looking forward to the weekend. We’re both college graduates (I went to Rutgers and David went to NJIT) but we feel like we’re both doing things outside of our degrees.
We met on a camping trip in New Jersey over 5 years ago and immediately clicked. We’ve been dating ever since…
How long have you been traveling around in the bus for?
Aimless Travels: We left September 2019 and have been on the road ever since, so about 10 months now.
How did you guys get started with Bus Life?
Aimless Travels: We decided we wanted to do this lifestyle back around October 2018, which is when we began our initial search for the right bus. We preferably wanted a mid-size bus as we are currently towing a car, but knew they were hard to come by. We flew to Charlotte, NC to buy our bus in the beginning of November 2018. The conversion took us about 10 months while David and I worked full-time jobs for about 6 of those months before quitting.
We chose to convert a bus as opposed to a van, RV, or other rig for a number of reasons. For one, the initial cost of our bus was only $5000. That gave us plenty of flexibility with how much we wanted to put into our bus. In addition, most buses are diesel and have engines that’ll last forever.
What was your prior travel experience before the Bus?
Aimless Travels: David and I have always had a passion for travel. We both have been traveling throughout the United States for years chasing pow (Snowboard term for fresh snow) and just Snowboarding. That was one of the main reasons we chose Bus Life. We wanted to chase some of the biggest snow storms throughout North America and use it almost as our “Mobile Ski Resort.”
Your Best Life Co: Wow! I fu*kin’ LOVE that! I actually had an RV that I bought for almost the same reason. I did a Season of Snowboarding up at Copper Mountain, Colorado back in 2017-2018, while I had my RV Parked in the Satellite Lot of Breckenridge for I think about $4 per night. Haha
Aimless Travels: That’s super sick! We’ve didn’t do as much riding as we wanted to this year due to COVID-19 but still got to do a lot of Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, & Tahoe (1 day at squaw before the biggest powder storm of the year 😭) parking was tough. Found a free spot in Salt Lake City and some other States like New Mexico allowed us to park at the base of the mountain for free which was dope
Anyway, what type of bus do you guys have?
Aimless Travels: We have a 2002 Thomas Built MVP Saf T Liner with a 5.9 Cummins and 2000 Allison Transmission. It’s a decommissioned US Air Force bus that was kept in Georgia. It only had 86,000 miles when we purchased it.
Whats your favorite part about Bus Life?
Aimless Travels: There is so much to love about traveling full-time on the road, especially in a bus. We have the privilege of camping in some of the most beautiful and remote parts of North America. Our skoolie is equipped with 135 gallons of freshwater and over 1400 watts of solar. We’re able to go over 3 weeks without needing to fill up! While most public lands and national forest lands (these are usually free to park on) allow only 14 days, it’s still insane that we can be completely off grid for so long. In addition, we don’t have to pay for these million dollar views!
The community has to be at the top of our favorites, as well. The amount of amazing people you come into contact with has been so eye-opening. Van and bus lifers are some of the most incredible people you’ll meet. The community is so opening and all they want to do is help each other grow.
What is your least favorite part about Bus Life?
Aimless Travels: Things can go wrong very suddenly, especially when you’re traveling and on the road full-time. We’ve ran into a few issues with the bus, and they’re not cheap fixes. This lifestyle has definitely taught us the importance of being adaptable and flexible. You can’t expect everything to be absolutely perfect every single day. We’d recommend to anyone looking into this lifestyle to definitely plan ahead with budgeting. Having an emergency / rainy day fund has really helped us out a ton.
How do you guys’ make money while on the road?
Aimless Travels: David has recently started helping others with converting their own rigs. He’s worked on buses, vans, campers, and even a taco truck! His goal is to travel and help people build their dream rig.
I am a Senior Writer for a company that I’ve been at it for over 2 years now. The job is flexible and lets me pick my own hours and schedule.
Got any Tips for others that are looking into the Bus Life as well?
Aimless Travels: Be prepared for the unexpected. Instagram, Facebook and YouTube have a tendency of making this lifestyle seem perfect. While this journey has truly been a blessing to us, it’s so important to be prepared and not stress when things go wrong.
Choosing the right bus and build for you is also important. Take time choosing your bus to ensure that it meets all your requirements. If you don’t have construction experience and have no friends or family willing to help you, buying an already converted skoolie could be a great option for you. They’re going to be a little bit more expensive than if you built it yourself, but they are still much cheaper than buying an RV or camper that still may not have all the bells and whistles you’re looking for.
Bonus Tip: DO NOT RUSH YOUR BUILD! Some people are in a time crunch with a really specific deadline. But, if you are a bit more flexible, I’d highly recommend taking the time to do your build the right way and not skipping any steps. At the end of the day, it’ll only benefit you the most.
What are 5 things in your bus that you couldn’t live without?
1. Apartment-size RV Fridge (we love to cook)
2. Our WiFi System
3. Our Water Filtration System
4. Sea Eagle Inflatable Kayak
5. Our deck for sure — we spend so much time up there!
You can Follow Shelby, David, and their daily Bus Lyfe journeys over on their Instagram page at Aimless Travels. They can also be found over on our Message Boards where you can ask them any questions you may have!
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