An adventurous couple quits their jobs to risk everything and live off a $12,000 bus.
The couple now shares their travels online, contributing to the trendy tiny home movement.
Mike Cassata and Sarah Cokeley, who go by “Unboxing Life” on YouTube, said they’ve thought a lot about whether to take the plunge and start what they call “bus life.”
But after giving themselves just 90 days to turn an old shuttle bus into a home, they travel the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
In the end, it cost her a total of around $27,000 to build her 200 square foot home.
The quick turnaround and small budget didn’t stop the duo from adding unique features to their new home on wheels.
Behind the driver’s seat, Cassata and Cokeley’s bus houses a kitchen and sleeping area.
To save space, the kitchen features a two-burner stove, with the couple building “as much countertop space as possible.” [they] could potentially be in this build,” Cassata said.
Your storage space will be even larger by covering the sink with a hard surface.
There is a special glass cleaner attached to your sink that saves time and space.
But the trash drawer is the kitchen feature that’s sure to get people talking.
“We call this our ‘junk drawer,’ but it’s actually pretty well organized,” Cassata said. “Some people are jealous.”
Inside, the spices are carefully labeled and organized.
The kitchen is accented with faux hedges and flowers – a trick to cover up unfinished walls.
While the hedge started as a trick, Cassata says it became an element meant to “bring nature indoors” to create a “warm feeling.”
In the back of the bus, a horizontally oriented bed provides space for a dresser and a workstation for Cokeley’s business — she said she makes jewelry out of wildflowers and resin while Cassata drives.
LIVING BUS LIFE
Mike, originally from Boston, said he was driving from Maine to California when he started living in vehicles during Covid-19.
“I actually fell in love with van life,” he said.
Now he has convinced his fiancée to go on the trip with him.
“I say, ‘Just go out there,’ I’ve thought about it way too much,” Cokeley said.
Now the couple only has five rules for bus life.
- No shoes
- Clean up
- No screaming
- Love nature
“We had really good paying jobs and we gave them up,” said Cassata, now a DJ. “Once you’re out here, you’re living life.”
Ultimately, the couple said they hoped to work remotely for more stable income.
Starting the tiny home lifestyle often begins with purchasing a property or moving into a tiny home village.
But for nomads like Cassata and Cokeley, a vehicle is the first step.
After purchasing their 2006 shuttle bus with around 80,000 miles on it, they spent another $15,000 converting it into their ideal home, complete with shower, solar panels and a rooftop deck.
“The result was a great deal,” Cassata said.
For others seeking the tiny home lifestyle, living on a bus isn’t the first choice.
A couple built a more permanent tiny house on their property for just $18,000.
They said their neighbors initially laughed at them but are now jealous because they haven’t made mortgage payments.
However, not everyone is willing or able to build their own home.
Some retailers offer tiny homes that can be delivered to customers, like this $5,000 building from Home Depot.
Etsy recently listed a modest tiny house for $6,000.
Another couple living in a bus recently shared their home, which only cost $9,000 to build.