Air Force Veteran Builds His Own Bohemian Bus Conversion

Van living has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with more and more Americans considering the switch for a myriad of reasons. Some may live in a converted van or bus in order to travel more, while others do so because it means being able to combine travel and full-time work. Many people would also live in a converted vehicle if it meant getting rid of debt, avoiding expensive rents and mortgages, or retiring more comfortably.

On a more personal level, some consider striking a house on wheels a form of self-care. This was the case with the former Air Force veteran Brittany, who recently started living in a small, self-renovated bus she named “Domino” after an 11-year career in the military. We get a detailed tour of Brittany’s bohemian abode via Tiny House Giant Journey:

Tiny House Giant Journey


As Brittany explains, living on a bus she built herself has allowed her to take a more introspective view of her own life – where she’s been, where she’s going, what her abilities are, and who she is. really :

“I felt like I lost my first name when I was in the army. And Domino really helped me rediscover who ‘Brittany’ really is. When I separated from the army of air, it was a huge change I was already resilient, but life on the bus is really testing [you]. You’re put in all these different situations and it really forces you to think outside the box and see how you can solve your problem with what few resources you have.”

Domino is built from a 1998 19-foot-long Chevy 3500 short bus, which Brittany bought at an online auction for $3,200. Brittany estimates the renovation cost around $15,000 (including the solar power system and refrigerator), which means the entire project cost her around $18,200.

Brittany says she chose a bus with a shorter length because it can fit in a regular parking spot, but is wide enough to provide a bit more comfort inside. Although the old signage has been removed (as generally required by regulation), Brittany chose to keep the exterior in its original bright yellow color as it adds a nostalgic charm to the bus, as well as enticing others to drive more carefully when around.

Tiny House Giant Journey


The roof of the bus is where Brittany installed a flexible 320 watt solar panel.

Tiny House Giant Journey


Domino’s 95 square foot (8.8 square meter) interior is compact, but Brittany has managed to make it more spacious by using furniture and accessories in a multifunctional way. As Brittany explains, this iteration of Domino is in its second iteration that was refined when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit; the first simpler version was built in 2019, and it has since made some improvements, in addition to reusing some of the elements of the first version.

For example, in the kitchen, Brittany reused an iridescent sink from the original build. The butcher block counter has glitter sealed into its glossy surface, while the tiled backsplash is actually a cost-effective solution that reuses white tiles purchased from Habitat for Humanity and combines them with colorful and geometric stickers purchased online.

Tiny House Giant Journey


Next to the counter, the 12-volt, 50-liter RV fridge sits in its own corner, while a garland of LED lights and artificial ivy plants hang from an open wall shelf. The cabinet handles below are gold-edged geode slices. The overall look here is vibrant and unique, reflecting Brittany’s bubbly personality.

Tiny House Giant Journey


In front of the kitchen we have the dual purpose sofa. Below, Brittany stores her tools, while above, it can function as a sofa or as an extra bed for a smaller person. Brittany admits she can’t sew, so for her curtains she used reflective material covered with stapled fabric. To dress up the unsightly solar cable conduits, she spray-painted them gold and covered them with artificial plants.

Tiny House Giant Journey


In the back, Brittany’s queen-size bed sits above a platform that still allows her to sit up in bed. To bring color and life to this cozy space, she uses textured fabrics, in addition to hanging beautiful artwork, a mirror and faux plants.

Tiny House Giant Journey


Under the bed, we have Brittany’s “crawling closet,” which came about because she doesn’t like to fold clothes on a regular basis, especially in a small space. Instead, this alternative allows him to easily crawl under the bed and hang his clothes, shoes, and store his solar-powered gear there. On top of that, she also has her shower tent and propane shower hidden here, ready to go. For toiletries, Brittany uses a Luggable Loo, a simple bucket-style portable toilet that she wraps in a crocheted blanket.

Tiny House Giant Journey


Ultimately, Brittany’s unique bus not only rediscovered herself, it also gave her a chance to connect with other buslifers and vanlifers, as well as represent and advocate for more diversity in the broader alternative lifestyle movement:

“One thing that attracted me to van life was the community. I have to say [though], whenever I watched YouTube or #vanlife, I always wondered, where do I fit in? People of color – we do the van life. We are there. We just don’t have a lot of visibility. It’s great that this community [#DiversifyVanLife and #BlackVanLife] helped amplify our voices and let people know that we belong in these outdoor spaces.”

To follow Brittany on its travels, visit it instagram.

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