Whitby couple quit jobs to turn bust-up bus into beach hut
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One travel-hungry couple have revealed how they went about converting a bust-up bus into their dream home on wheels.
Amy Butler, 27, and David Laws, 33, quit their jobs in the Caribbean, moved back to Whitby in north England and spent £16,000 both purchasing and renovating a 2005 Fiat Ducato mini bus into a beach hut-inspired abode.
Over the course of four months they stripped out the bus seats and installed a bedroom, kitchen, shower and lounge area. They also decked out the van with a range of homely features including contemporary art and plush furnishings.
Amy Butler, 27, and David Laws, 33, quit their jobs in the Caribbean, moved back to Whitby in north England and spent £16,000 both purchasing and renovating a 2005 Fiat Ducato mini bus into a beach hut-inspired abode
Over the course of four months, they stripped out the bus seats and installed a bedroom, kitchen, shower and lounge area
David shows off his impressive tan by a pool in the sun (left), while Amy is caught on camera as she stops to brush her teeth in the small kitchen sink (right)
Since setting off in August with £5,000 to splash, Amy and David have made stops in France, Spain and Portugal. They told MailOnline Travel that they haven’t had an argument yet, despite living in such close quarters, and that they are loving life on the open road.
‘We met in Dubai and both had full-time jobs but we realised we had to start searching for something more rewarding,’ they said. ‘We decided to sell everything we had and looked to travel around Europe. Our dream is to build an amazing treehouse hotel!
‘We try and stick to a budget of £15 a day and we love making our own food. We have made lots of dim sum and ramen. We currently have a friend from Ireland staying with us as our sofa pulls into a double bed and the bathroom door closes to make two separate rooms.’
During their epic road trip, the couple have been posting photos via their Instagram account @ourbeachbus and writing about their experiences via a blog. Along with recommending places to camp, they also detail places of interest from beaches to restaurants and bars.
Touching on their most recent escapades they write: ‘We drove for hours and hours through the mountains in Spain to end up in Portugal. The landscape was amazing, on the northern Spanish side we were surrounded by green forested mountains.
Before they set out on an adventure of a lifetime with £5,000 to splash, they also decked out the bus with a range of homely features including contemporary art and plush furnishings
Amy and David said their mini bus was in bad shape when they originally purchased it. On their blog they reveal how they went about giving the blue and white four-wheeler an overhaul and it took hours to make sure it was waterproof
Luckily David is a skilled craftsman and he went about building the interiors of the bus from scratch
During their epic road trip, the couple have been writing about their experiences via a blog. Along with recommending places to camp, they also detail places of interest including restaurants and bars
‘Once we passed through to the Southern side we were suddenly in a much hotter dryer climate, with landscape similar to the Grand Canyon.
‘We stopped at a free campsite on the outskirts of a town in Portugal called Chaves, we found this stop on Camper Contact and it’s a great place to rest for the night to break up the journey to Porto. This was on the river behind a small family restaurant; they let you stay for free, if you are a customer at the restaurant.
‘We just had a couple of beers under their grape vines and headed back to the bus for a peaceful early night. They had a well for you to dump the toilets and a hose you could use to fill up, all for free!’
The lovebirds told MailOnline Travel that San Sebastian in Spain has been a favourite spot, especially with lots of tasty tapas on offer.
Other destinations on the couple’s wishlist include Italy, Slovenia and Crotaia. Depending on how far their money stretches, they also hope to hit Romania before heading back to the UK.
Amy and David said their mini bus was in bad shape when they originally purchased it. On their blog they reveal how they went about giving the blue and white four-wheeler an overhaul and it took hours to make sure it was waterproof.
Recounting the process, they wrote: ‘If like us you brought an old bus, it will probably be full of leaks. We sprayed our bus all over with a pressure washer, and to our horror pretty much every part of the bus that could leak, did leak!
‘This was not just the windows, the wheel bases, and the blue fibreglass trim, but every single roof seal as well. This was a very time-consuming and particularly unenjoyable job to do; we spent about 5 days covered in sticky sealant cursing buying such an old bus!
Destinations on the couple’s wishlist include Italy, Slovenia and Crotaia. Depending on how far their money stretches they also hope to hit Romania before heading back to the UK
The couple spend their days driving, exploring and packing in rest in between stops. Many of the places they camp at are free
The mini bus has a fully-functioning kitchen (left) and there is plenty of storage space (right)
‘In the end we opted for removing every roof and wall panel joint a
nd seal and resealed them. Get the best sealants possible before you do this. We went through about 20 bottles of clear, white and black Sikaflex for this.’
The couple say they’re not too worried about living in such a confined space together as they make for perfect travel partners.
They originally met in 2014 in Dubai where David was employed as a design technology teacher and Amy was working in recruitment for an oil and gas company.
Since meeting and falling in love, they have lived in various spots around the world including Antigua, Sri Lanka, Whistler, Vancouver, Hong Kong and New York.
Touching on how their busing adventure came about they explain: ‘We had a lot of great adventures along the way including getting engaged and Tuk Tuking across Sri Lanka.
‘However we decided that it was time to try and find somewhere to settle down and start a business together but not before one last big adventure! We have our heart set on finding somewhere in Europe to start a guesthouse eco business, we are ideally looking for somewhere with lots of land that we can use to grow vegetables and keep live stock.
‘We also would like some forestry on the property that David can build treehouses, yurts, and huts and of course bus conversions on.
‘We decided the best way to find our ideal spot would be to buy a bus and convert it into our home on wheels.’
AMY AND DAVID’S QUICK GUIDE TO CREATING A HOME ON WHEELS
- Choose the right bus
- Strip the bus to an empty shell
- Reseal the vehicle to prevent leaks
- Once you have pulled everything out of the bus and made it water tight, design the type of layout you want
- Frame and paint all of the windows
- Add additional insulation to the ceiling and wall panels
- Fit flooring by removing the original covering or fixing panels over it
- Install wiring in the bus. Start by making a diagram of everything you want to power, then install the relevant components
- Panel the walls with your cladding of choice
- Build a bed frame and install in a suitable position
- Install water tanks, water inlets and start the shower room
- Build and fix rear cupboards, doors, insulated window shutters and a closet
- Purchase an extendable sofa bed or lounge area for friends staying over
- Build a wine rack to stop bottles from rattling around
- Make front seats for the bus and sew your own covers
- Build the kitchen cupboards, counter top and cupboards doors. Install a gas heater, gas bottles and sink plumbing
- Finish with accessories and homely touches including cushions, art, throws, baskets and a bookcase