Turning a 12-meter-long yellow American school bus into a pow-chasing hostel. What is the first thing you would do? Well, you demolish everything on the inside and make sure you can start with a clean plate. How long would this take? Just ripping things out? Euhm, maybe a week or so?
Looking back at the way I envisioned it before we started makes me smile. Back then I didn’t know that every single part we wanted to take out came with a bonus package, with surprise challenges a volonté.
We started with the roof and to be more precise with the screws, every single one of the 60 screws per beam in the ceiling had to come off. The Philips (cross) bit didn’t do its job, losing grip all the time. Luckily we had my cousin from Canada over who quickly discovered the solution: the Robertson bit. In the middle of the screws there was a small square needing some special Canadian treatment. Thank you Canada for your special screws, but at least you’ve sent someone over to Europe to help us out.
After the ceiling we really wanted to take the seats out. “Let’s just unscrew them!” Euhm, no, not really possible. They just didn’t want to budge. This is when we went back to skoolie.net for the hundredth time, the forum where all previous gladiators who have conquered buses that are not really made to demolish, write about the tigers they needed to face and their heroic solutions.
The Angle Grinder, the tool that promised to solve it all. Yes, true, but what if you have one of the Thomas MVP RE busses where the bolts in the feet of the seats are kinda sunken, surrounded by metal in a way that made it impossible to ‘just’ grind them off. So, back to skoolie.net it was, luckily a 19-year-old kid converted the exact same bus and with his trick of angle grinding vertically instead of horizontally we slowly managed to get them out. We did remove the seats first by grinding the legs of so we had some more room to move around and see what other obstacles we had to face.
Before I sound too negative, don’t get me wrong, these ‘obstacles’ were a great learning experience. Thanks to super helpful friends we always managed to retrieve the needed tools and a proper solution.
Maybe everything turns out well all the time because of our little Nomads Village.
This place definitely has something magical. The rainbow is not just a rainbow, but looks more like it was copy-pasted from a My Little Pony episode. The sunsets are mind-blowing. And the grass is super happy, because dear Belgium has managed to drop an abundance of water almost every day since the day we got here. The wind and this great water has made our living situation quite a challenge, however after enough try/fail episodes we found the perfect setup that seems to be resistant to Belgian storms.
Now we wake up in a quite sizable tent, have breakfast in a way bigger tent, go to the coolest compost ever in the coziest caravan ever and if we’re in a super life-stoked mood we even take a bloody cold outdoor shower. As a bonus we have those 2014 life essentials like the Internet, Electricity, Drinkable water, an insect killer UV light and an awesome kitchen.
Thanks to the Skilled Nomads who stopped by to help we now have managed to take the walls out, are trying to remove the 14 year old insulation stuck deep within the wall and since today have a metal floor, freed from a layer of plywood, many screws and rubber. Hallelujah!!
What’s left to do before we can actually start rebuilding?
-We need to reseal the windows. We took one out to see if we needed to take all out but they look pretty good.
– Treat the rust in the floor/walls and weld some new metal on the worst parts. Wire brush the floor and put some primer on it. (Will be followed by insulation and wood)
– The emergency exits in the ceiling are leaking a bit so we need to find a solution for that too. Maybe just put a window in?
– Finish the floor plan, we need to re-measure everything now the bus is empty and we are still figuring out who we can use our 25m2 optimally.
– See what electricity wiring we can remove.
– See what lights we need to change on the outside of the bus, as not all are legal in Europe.
– And probably a lot more things we will stumble upon.
If you’re ever near Leuven feel free to come visit or/and help out a bit, become a part of this crazy and unique project.
Let’s be Nomads!