A Life On The Road: From An Old School Bus To A Mobile Home, One Family Actualized Their DreamBy Israel O
Living a productive life as an adult comes with various challenges. This may mean a regular nine to five office lifestyle that will leave you with little to no rest. Or, it may entail hectic morning and evening routines taking care of kids and the house. In essence, the bustling demands of our regular routines can prevent us from enjoying the best things life has to offer. Today, we will look at two role models, Luke and Rachel Davis, who have been able to break out of the quintessential way of living life to embark on a more adventurous journey. Their incredible story, which has now inspired thousands of their Instagram followers, started when they decided to leave their home in Illinois to transform a school bus into a mobile house. Without further ado, let’s see how they lived up to the life-changing challenge!
This is the beginning of a year and a half journey that led Luke, Rachel, and their family friends to transform a school bus into a mobile home. It all started in 2015 when Luke decided to spare a few thousand dollars.
They used the money to purchase a regular school bus known as the AmTran Genesis from 1992. After that, the Davis family started a series of construction and renovation projects to turn the bus into a home capable of living life on the road.
The beginning of an inspiring transformation
Usually, deciding to change one’s home comes with a lot of going back and forth. This is particularly true when the decision involves two opposing parties. As for Luke and Rachel, the decision to start leading an adventurous life was an easy one.
This is Rachel holding their daughter beside the AmTran genesis. Her husband just returned from where he purchased the bus a few days back with his brother. With the arrival of the bus, the Davis family was ready to make the necessary effort towards the transformation.
The first steps
As you would expect, the bus arrived filled with regular bus seats, which were obviously a hindrance to moving around effortlessly. As such, the first step was to remove the seats to create space for further planning. The next step was to create more headroom.
Normally, moving around the bus without creating more headroom would mean that the Davis family and their visitors would have to bend their heads when they spend time in their new home, and that’s definitely not comfortable. To address this concern, they had to push the roof up by about 1.8ft.
Time to apply old knowledge
Making installations and renovations of this magnitude meant that Luke and his wife must be conversant with power tools and various engineering skills. Apparently, Luke had some experience from his last jobs, and his wife was able to complement his efforts.
They had to repurpose almost every inch of the bus, including wiring and power installations. These are jobs that require at least a heft amount of knowledge in the respective fields, but the two of them were able to accomplish their task with appropriate consultations.
Designing the layout
As soon as the Davis family cleared up as much space on the genesis as they could, they designed the layout of how they wanted the interior to look. They had to decide on the location for the bathroom, kitchen, and living room.
The layout wasn’t rigid as they had to move some parts of the house to a new location for the sake of convenience and what made sense. In the end, they decided that the kitchen would be in the center of the bus.
Looking for a power source
Luke and Rachel knew that the installations and renovations would consume a considerable amount of power. As such, they thought of the safest and cheapest way of acquiring an uninterrupted power supply. This led them to install solar panels.
As you can see, Rachel looked engrossed in work as she began installing solar panels on the roof. The bus’s roof had enough space to accommodate several panels. These solar panels not only help to supply power but they also help protect the environment.
Getting regular power supply
The couple knew that they would mostly be touring remote and far places with their mobile home and, as such, would need a regular source of power. They also knew that getting constant power from the main grid would be difficult since they were mostly mobile.
The installation of several solar panels on the bus’s roof to harness the sun’s continual energy supply was the best decision they could make. This way, they would save costs while ensuring that they have a regular power supply on the bus.
Creating storage units
Every house needs storage space where you can keep your household items like clothing. Creating an adequate amount of storage space on the genesis was a challenge for the Davis family since they wanted to maximize every inch of the bus.
After much deliberation, they decided that the storage unit can’t be in one place. They created some space under the sitting room couch and the staircase. They positioned some extra storage space around the house to make it sufficient.
Setting up bed spaces
Sleep is one of the most things a human being needs, and the Davis family understood this. They made cozy bed spaces a priority after sorting out the storage issues. The couple also maximized the limited space by using the bunk-bed system.
They created a bunk with their bed space directly on top of their kid’s bed. This way, they could monitor their kid while maximizing the limited space. They also made a mini staircase to access the upper bunk. This design also made room for extra storage space.
Adding some crucial interior decorations
After creating the storage and bed spaces, the couple decided to put some effort towards beautifying their new home. They started by framing the bus’s windows and adding timber flooring. These two moves changed the bus’s interior entirely and made it look more like home.
The flooring was complemented by painting the walls white. As you can see, Rachel was applying finishing touches to their beautifully painted walls. We also noticed the electrical installations which were never on the bus before. It’s really starting to come together at this point.
Kitchen drawers and a center table
You would think that the new Davis family home would lack some basic components that conventional houses had. An example is kitchen drawers and a center table. Even with the limited space, the couple ended up adding these elements effortlessly.
All of this indicates that they put a lot of thought and planned vigorously before they embarked on their new adventure. At this point, the couple was excited about the continual facelift the bus was undergoing, and the end was in sight.
Let there be light
All their efforts would be left unappreciated if the house lacked adequate lighting. The couple understood this and started working on giving their new home adequate lighting and ventilation. The first step was changing the walls to allow for more airflow.
This also allowed them to carve framed windows on the bus. They determined the size and number of the windows they needed to provide adequate lighting and ventilation. And they understood the importance of privacy that every family feels.
Roof coating and more exterior decorations
The bus’s interior already underwent enough renovation and looked like a regular home. The next step for the Davis family was to extend their efforts to the bus’s exterior. Their first point of action was to strip the roof.
The roof needed to be protected from the sun and continuous moisture to prevent leaks, damage, and mold that would just end up costing them an enormous amount of money in the long run. In turn, they used a special multiple-layer paint to coat the roof and protect the bus.
Charlotte and her new home
The couple’s baby, Charlotte, is seen here playing around the genesis, the old school bus that will now be her new home. Luke and Rachel must be proud of their accomplishment so far as the bus now looks like a home with their personal touches.
They set out from Illinois to break the hectic and boring cycle that they lived through every day, and now, their adventurous life is about to begin. The genesis would enable them to live and travel to exciting and delightful places.
A new look
This is the new look of the old and dilapidated genesis. Luke and Rachel had put in tremendous effort in transforming the bus into a cozy home. You can see the appropriately sized windows and lighting, which affords the family some privacy.
The extended headroom is also obvious and allows them to move around the house effortlessly. The Davis family dream is now a reality as they begin their new, fun-filled life. The bus’s interior is even more impressive than what we see here.
Welcome to the Davis family home
This is the result of the incredible effort that Luke and Rachel had put into the bus’s interior. You can see that there is almost nothing you wouldn’t be able to find in a home on land. They even have kitchen drawers and a sink with a tap.
They also have a dining area with adequate seats. The living room contains a sofa, and the kitchen has an oven and burners for food preparation. We can’t help but notice that the timber flooring and adequate lighting give this house an impressive glow.
A successful endeavor
This is what the new Davis family home looked like after they moved some stuff in. We can all appreciate the bright lighting provided by the sunlight through the appropriately sized windows. It also looked like the family had settled in perfectly.
There’s a jacket hanging off the shelves and a towel hanging on the oven handle. There’s also a plant in the corner and curtains appropriately fitted on the windows. It looked like their dream has officially turned into a reality.
This is the Davis family sleeping arrangement. The couple has a queen-sized bed situated on the upper bunk while their baby, Charlotte, sleeps just beneath them. It makes sense that way since Charlotte would have a hard time climbing those stairs.
We also noticed that Charlotte’s corner looks cozy and warm. It’s evident that her parents prioritized her comfort and sleep requirements. Remember that this arrangement also affords the family some extra storage space which will come in handy later.
A formidable team
Luke and Rachel were high school lovers before they got married at a young age. They had always dreamed of accomplishing great things together as a couple, and here they are, making it all come true, and we couldn’t be happier for them.
Their love grew stronger over the years, and it is apparent from their new accomplishment that they are a formidable team. Thankfully, Charlotte is an excellent addition to their love-filled unit. Accomplishing their dream of moving into a mobile home is an indication of their cooperation and love.
Starting a new adventure
After completing their new home, the Davis family started their journey to an adventure-filled life. The mobile home was always on the move to new and exciting places. As indicated in the picture, the family was always in a beautiful location.
Being outdoors continually affords the family to partake in several thrilling activities like camping, hiking, swimming, and fishing. They could drive through beautiful landscapes and environments or stay still to appreciate nature as long as they want. They didn’t have a schedule!
The unique joy of a flexible life
Luke and Rachel knew that their new life would be filled with adventures and happiness as they drove through new places and locations all over the country. At this point, the family had spent a year living in their precious mobile home.
The joy of living a mobile and free life radiates from the faces of the Davis family, as you can see in this picture. They had a strong hope for what the future held as they have had an incredible year living and traveling on the genesis.
A new bundle of joy
Luke and Rachel had been married for about ten years, and it was time for another addition to the family. Rachel was pregnant, and this signified that the family would have to make a significant adjustment in preparation for the new baby.
The imminent arrival of a new baby also meant that Charlotte would have a sibling and a playmate. She would be able to enjoy her adventures and new life with another person. The Davis family had to start the work for their new bundle of joy.
Preparing for the arrival of a new baby
The addition of a new family member meant that Luke and Rachel had to create extra space on the genesis. Thankfully, they put a potential addition to their family into consideration when they started renovating the bus in the beginning.
The extra headroom that they created at the beginning started paying a good dividend. It afforded the couple to add extra renovations that would have consumed space on the floor. This is one of the benefits of adequate and thorough planning.
A new life arrives
Rachel gave birth to a beautiful baby on the 28th of October. The family was over the moon and welcomed the baby with beaming hearts to the Davis family. Apparently, they had made adequate preparations for the baby’s arrival long before the birth.
Charlotte was particularly happy to have a sibling as she would now be able to play with and experience this exciting life together. The new baby would also have the unique opportunity to live a flexible and mobile life on the road.
The latest addition to the bus
Charlotte’s younger sibling is the latest addition to the bus, and as you can see, the family seemed to have settled in perfectly. Rachel takes a picture of her babies as cute little Charlotte eats a snack on the couch.
Having a new addition to the family created a stronger loving bond between members of the Davis family. We have reasons to believe that Charlotte would have a fun and relaxing time watching and helping her younger sibling grow up.
Someone’s looking adorable
At this point, we are sure that everyone would like to know the baby’s name and gender. His name is Abraham, and he is definitely having a thrilling time on genesis. The family also met several people during their tour of the United States.
You can see Charlotte looking adorable in her outfit, smiling from ear to ear. It’s apparent that Rachel has been doing a great job raising the kids on the bus. The couple feels proud and accomplished with their progress so far.
A healthy and productive life
The Davis family looked like they were living a healthy and productive life which is evident from their crystal-clean house. It’s apparent that everyone must be doing their jobs religiously. Charlotte and Abraham also look like they were getting along well.
The two siblings sat across each other while they were engrossed in their respective activities. There’s also a delicious meal sitting on the stovetop centimeters away from the kids. We must say, life on the genesis definitely looks appealing and productive.
Choosing a snack spot
Abraham and her sister seem to be getting along well, so it seems from the picture. The siblings are seen enjoying some snacks while sitting on the bus’s dashboard. Apparently, this spot is their favorite place to play when the bus isn’t in motion.
Their parents have discouraged them from staying here, but the warning is no match for their persistence. As long as they are safe, we do not think that there should be a problem with having a snack in their favorite spot.
Luke and Rachel must have raised book lovers, as we can see the siblings engrossed in some pages together. The parents recognized their love for books early and encouraged them by having a constant supply of their favorite books around.
However, the problem with having many books is storing them. Since they have limited storage space on the bus, they got a wire basket to store their books. It also seemed that Charlotte and her brother were into role play judging from the toy sword at her feet.
Painting the bus
The Davis family never put much thought into painting the bus’s exterior because they were used to seeing the white and silver color on it. Besides, people already recognized them with this color as they moved around the country.
It wasn’t until after a year and six months of living on the genesis that the couple thought of giving the bus’s exterior a facelift. They already had some attachment to the bus’s original paint but changing it was only a matter of time.
Everyone must have wondered how the Davis family did their laundry on the genesis. At first, the couple thought about the most efficient option between getting a washing machine installed on the bus and taking their clothes to a laundromat.
The couple eventually decided to take their clothes to a laundromat. Thankfully, they encountered many laundromats on the road while moving from state to state. It goes without saying that this option saved them invaluable space, energy, and money!
The pursuit of freedom and happiness
This picture marked three years of living on the AmTran genesis that became the Davis family’s new home. In this photo, the family had already gone through years of traveling around the country and coping with a mobile and flexible life.
We can see that Charlotte is now grown and should be able to take better care of her brother. The family looks happy and strong as they pose for a picture on their sofa. This picture shows how much they’ve grown as a family since they started this journey.
Becoming professional renovators
When Luke and Rachel started their journey on transforming the genesis into a fully functional home, they weren’t experts. However, with time and continual practice, they knew exactly what they do. This is evident from the current look of the genesis.
However, this is not a picture of the genesis, rather a project that Luke and Rachel completed for another family. They are now experts that help people renovate their buses and transform them into mobile homes. This picture is just one of their projects.
Winter is here
When it comes to the wintery seasons, the couple knew what to expect and were prepared adequately for the cold weather. You can see the stove beside Abraham that they placed in the living room area, which they use to warm the whole place up.
Apart from the stove that warms the bus, the couple also made extra space available in the living room area to allow for more physical activity. Doing more physical activity helps keep the body warm and distracted during winter.
We never thought that the Davis family would be interested in building a permanent home so soon, owing to the tremendous experience they’ve had on the genesis so far. However, here’s the family as they approach their newly-purchased piece of land.
The family intends to build a yurt on the land, but work is yet to begin, as you can see. We know that the process of building a home is nothing new to the Davis family, but their joy of acquiring a new piece of land seemed palpable.
Bye to the genesis?
The Davis family acquired a piece of land and planned to build a yurt on it. The construction isn’t underway yet, but it seems all plans for their prospective home have been completed. From the picture, we can see the yurt’s blueprint in Rachel’s hands.
The couple also announced that they would be leaving the genesis very soon, a piece of news we never thought we would hear. In preparation for their new home, they intend to sell the bus and start constructing the yurt. The new home would definitely afford them more space.
This is the beginning of another adventurous life for the Davis family. The family took this picture just two days after commencing the construction of the yurt. This is the base, and things already look exciting. We already can’t wait to see what the results are!
The family hasn’t sold the genesis at this point as they still live and coordinate things from there. This picture reassures us that Luke and Rachel do not compromise on the quality of a structure and a serene environment.
Another bundle of joy on the way
Rachel takes a picture with her baby bump as she expects another baby. Things are moving pretty fast for the family, and moving out of the bus is a timely decision. Living on the bus with three kids would be stressful and inconvenient.
The baby also meant that Abraham and Charlotte would soon have a younger sibling. They would have another playmate while Rachel would have her hands full taking care of her little ones. It’s a good time to move into a new home.
Time to move on
The family sits comfortably on the bus in this picture, but they are about to move on. We’re sure that living on the genesis created a lifetime’s worth of memories for the Davis family. However, moving to a bigger home is inevitable at this point.
The family is growing bigger, and the space on the bus would be too small to accommodate them all. As expected, the couple acquired a piece of land that would provide them three times the space they had on the bus.
Nothing is perfect
Living in a mobile home seemed like a perfect adventure for the Davis family, but that was far from the reality. The family had to make certain sacrifices to make living on the bus work. For instance, you can see some clothes that were hung on the door to dry.
Typically, those clothes shouldn’t be there, but there was no space to put a drying rack. They would be sacrificing more essential things if they added a drying rack to the living room. As such, they improvised and managed with what they had.
Versatility at its peak
Earlier, we talked about the imperfect nature of the Davis family life on the genesis. Here, you can see some evidence for our assertions. Rachel bathes her kids in the kitchen sink since they had no space for a plastic tub.
Her actions taught us the versatile nature of a kitchen sink. She bathes her kids in it, and it affords her the time to do other things as the sink can keep her kids safe from falling over. This is one of the numerous improvisations they had to make on the bus.
It gets messy sometimes
As a continuation of the discussion concerning the imperfect nature of the Davis family mobile home, you can see how messy the place can get sometimes. One of the major contributory factors is the lengthy nature of the room.
The lengthy nature of the room makes it easier for things to fly across different sections of the house. Luke and Rachel recognized this and made it a routine to clean the bus frequently since they had kids that made it messy all the time.
It wasn’t always beautiful
During the construction and renovation process of the mobile home, the Davis family would frequently have a messy home since the space within the bus was limited. However, they took solace in the fact that things wouldn’t always have to be like this.
You can see the broom and ladder in the middle of their living space. Undoubtedly, this would’ve caused them a great deal of inconvenience when trying to live on the bus, but the long-standing dream to make the mobile home a reality kept them going.
Getting some privacy
Many people would think that privacy would be compromised while living on a bus, but that wasn’t the case through their adventures. The couple understood the importance of privacy, and therefore, the appropriately sized windows with curtains on the bus served them well.
Following in her parent’s footsteps, little Charlotte seemed to have created a make-shift wall in her bed space that would also allow her some privacy. Whoever wants to see her would have to seek her permission before gaining entry. We love that they gave her this autonomy!
Joining the festival
The Davis family definitely enjoyed many fun events during their adventures in their mobile home. One of their trips was to the North Carolina tiny home festival, where people came to see what they had done with the bus.
The bus’s interior seemed to accommodate the visitors effortlessly as they observed the tiny details in the Davis family home. This picture was taken during the family’s final days on the bus as they prepare to move to a larger home.