‘Bills exhausted us so we sold everything to travel the world in a school bus’

A couple have explained how they sold everything they owned and moved into a school bus with their dog and two cats. They say they're saving £2,400 a month and get to travel the world.

Emilie Herbert, 31, and her partner Matt Rogne, 32, both from Canada, grew exhausted of their life at home, with bills piling up and working "tirelessly" throughout the week to stay afloat. One day, they decided enough was enough – and made a change.

After watching some YouTube videos about a couple who renovated a school bus and travelled the world, the pair decided to trade their old life in for one driving from place to place. Now, living in their bus with their pets, the duo say they're happier than ever and share their journey with their 143,000 followers on Instagram @claysanabus.

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Emilie, a content manager, explained why they were so keen to give up their home and move into a bus for a new life. She said: "We were experiencing a challenging period and felt trapped in the monotonous routine.

"On a rainy day, Matt returned from a long and gruelling shift, drenched and covered in dirt. I greeted him with immense excitement, having spent all day off watching a YouTube couple who had travelled from Germany to North America.

"In our despair, their story seemed like a magnificent dream, and we started envisioning the type of bus we would acquire and the destinations we would explore that day. Next thing we knew, we were planning out our timeline on how long we would be in our new house and building bus floor plans, envisioning what our life would look like living wherever we parked."

In August 2019, the Emilie and Matt bought their schoolbus for $5,500 (£4,400) and got to work turning it into their dream home on wheels. The coronavirus pandemic put a spanner in the works and they couldn't travel until restrictions lifted but this gave them more time to focus on getting their new home fit to live in.

Spending a total of $65,000 (£51,600), the duo then moved into the bus with their beloved pets. They couldn't wait to get moving.

Emilie said: "We have been living in our bus for three years. It is only about 300 square feet inside so it's similar to a small apartment or one big room! It is amazing to be able to bring our home whenever we travel but at times it can be difficult to get personal space.

"The most surprising things we have experienced are the different views that we have been able to wake up to looking out our bedroom window! Even though it is a small space, we still make it work and live comfortably."

From when they first put their foot on the gas, Emilie and Matt have travelled across British Columbia and even ventured into Alberta and the Yukon which are all enormous parts of Canada. It takes over 32 hours to drive from British Columbia to the Yukon!

Since moving into the bus, the couple have also slashed their bills by half, saving around $3000 (£2,400) per month. That's pretty impressive during the current cost-of-living crisis.

Matt said: "During the period when we owned our own house, our monthly bills were more than $6000. Now, depending on where we're staying and how often we move the bus, our monthly bills come to around $3000. This includes the investments that we contribute to, our life insurance policy, weekly grocery bills, pet food, and occasionally eating out."

Despite the benefits of living life on the road, Matt and Emilie have admitted there are some downsides, with both struggling to adapt to the small space.

Emilie said: "Finding personal space to relax and gather one's thoughts can be challenging. However, living together in a small bus for such a long time has taught us to adapt and communicate better when we need some alone time.

"The best part is that we can just step outside our door and usually find ourselves in a beautiful area to do just that! It has been getting warmer in the summertime and keeping the bus at a comfortable temperature with ample air flow can be difficult.

"Another issue is that it can be difficult to find a place to park. We were grateful to have been camp hosts for the last couple of summers but we did not enjoy losing our privacy with having so many campers around."

Despite the hard work and unusual lifestyle, both of their families support them. Matt, an online market trader, explained their initial reaction.

He said: "Initially, the majority of our family thought we were insane for selling our house and living in a bus that we renovated ourselves. However, as the years went by and they witnessed the completed bus and the incredible adventures we embarked on, the idea gradually started to appeal to them!"

Currently, they don't plan to give up their van lifestyle. But, the pair hope in the future they can find their perfect home and rent out the bus for other people to enjoy.

Sharing their vision on Instagram, one video garnered over 40,700 view and over 1,000 likes as they gave tips to help aspiring campers.

Emilie added: "While the path to our dream property might be more intricate than anticipated, we are genuinely excited to continue residing in our current bus for the foreseeable future.

"Our vision of owning a property with ample land, a spawning river to fish from, an abundance of berries and veggies to forage for, surrounded by mountains, trees and wildlife remains a cherished aspiration.

"Envisioning a scenario where we park a bus on our land, using it as our cosy abode while we gradually construct our dream home, fills us with enthusiasm. Embracing this journey has allowed us to find happiness and satisfaction in the present moment."

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