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With a bus transformed into a tiny house, a London couple envision life on the road

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Have a nice trip, London.

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That’s what a young couple will say in about a month after they finish turning an old shuttle bus into a tiny house and setting off on an adventure across the country.

Bobbi Jo Brown, 23, and Riley Zimmer, 26, bought the bus from an auto repair and sales company in May and have been working on the project since.

“I work in construction, so I know a lot about construction, and I also have the resources to build,” Zimmer said. “I also managed to take a bunch of waste recycled materials and put them on our bus.”

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This “front” photo shows the interior of a shuttle that a London couple transformed into a small house on wheels. (Submitted)

Zimmer, from London, and Brown, born and raised in Germany, met on a trip to New Zealand about three years ago. A year later, in Australia, they learned to live in a van.

“We lived in a van for a year and traveled across the country. We loved it, ”said Brown, who is awaiting approval for a Canadian work visa. “It was quite small. . . so this time we wanted to take the size up a bit.

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The bus, a 2005 Ford Econoline E-350 van, is 20 feet (six meters) long with 13 feet, six inches (four meters) of living space.

The pickup cost about $ 7,000. Zimmer said the solar power system, plumbing, lumber and other materials totaled around $ 5,000.

“We might be spending a lot of money, but not half of what you would pay for a down payment on a house,” he said. “There is no mortgage or rent. In the long term, it is quite doable.

The duo installed new flooring, bathroom walls and framing, and are now adding a plumbing system. A water tank and a 400 watt renewable energy source are also under construction.

The hope, Brown added, is to design a bus that can allow them to travel for two weeks “off-grid” with fresh food.

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The duo plan to make their first stop in British Columbia, where they have jobs slated for the winter as snowmakers and ski lift attendant.

After that? En route to the Pacific coast in the United States, Zimmer said, noting that they will have to wait for the land border to reopen.

Zimmer, who is also a singer-songwriter, plans to use the time on the road to focus on his music – to “tour and live at the same time,” he said.

“That’s why we’re really happy to do this – not necessarily to be stuck in a job or a situation that we’re not really happy with. It’s a bit of a cliché to say, but if things don’t work out somewhere, we can always come somewhere else and start over there, ”Zimmer said.

Since the project began in May, Brown and Zimmer have documented every step of the way on their YouTube channel, called VagaBonVoyage, which has 413 subscribers.

The process has been difficult but rewarding, thanks to their supporters, Brown said.

“There is a great online community. . . people really respond, and it’s so helpful, ”Brown said. “It’s incredible.”

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The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada

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