Living in New York City, 27-year old Jessie Lipskin had been working hard to pay the rent and make a living. After years of living in a tiny space, she decided to make a change and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. "I realized that the time and emotional energy devoted to physical things could be better spent elsewhere." Jessie wrote. How did she do that?
Jessie had developed a true love for nature since her school years at Binghamton College. She wanted a home that had nature right at the doorstep while still equipped with modern appliances. Her wishes may sound unrealistic in the Big Apple, but one day she came up with an idea: Why not have a home on the road? "I could easily explore new places, and I could continue to live a vegan lifestyle." Jessie thought. That was a wild and tempting dream, and a lot of difficulties were lying before her.
When Jessie was thinking about how to build a mobile home, she was inspired by a documentary film called Garbage Warrior. She wanted to be an eco-architect, utilizing recycled materials to make a home. The next step was to find the right vehicle. Was it easy to find?
Jessie's first choice for her mobile home was an RV, but she didn't like the designs. She wanted to create a dream home that would match up to her imagination. All things considered the vintage bus she settled on was the perfect choice. She saw the bus on eBay and shelled out $7,000. Finally, it was time to get to work.
The bus was a 1966 Greyhound, the same bus model that Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock had to save in the film Speed. Inside the bus was 400 square feet of possibilities, quite enough room for Jessie's mobile home dream, but the immediate problem was delivering the bus to her, since it was in California and she lived in New York. To make things worse, Jessie didn't even have a driver's license.
While Jessie was busy learning how to maneuver a vintage bus with a stick shift, her friends helped her drive the bus all the way from Perris, California to the east coast. After a long journey, the bus finally arrived in New York, and the remodeling project began.
To start the renovation project, Jessie and her friends stripped out all the seats inside the bus and sold them to a restaurant. They also used metallic white paint to cover its grime. Removing the furniture and the paintwork was the easy part though. Building an actual home requires a lot of harder work.
There were many problems yet to be solved concerning her mobile home project, and Jessie couldn’t do it alone. At a bare minimum, a livable home would need self-powered air conditioning, plumbing, and an electrical system, all of which required specialist knowledge that Jessie didn't possess. So, she assembled her friends into a work team so they could brainstorm together how to carry out the project.
Converting a vintage bus into an inviting and comfortable home was far more than just deciding what would be where. Jessie needed to make sure whatever was built inside remained sturdy while the bus was in motion. And that required a lot of precise calculations, which were complicated and time-consuming. However, Jessie managed to overcome all the difficulties and started to realize her dream bit by bit.
Luckily for Jessie, the ceiling of the bus was high enough to build a standing shower. Beside it was a slotted floor made of mahogany wood, which served as a part of the water recycling system. Water dripping down through the wooden boards would be channeled into a gray water tank mounted on the vehicle's underside.
One might think the interior space of a bus cannot possibly be enough for all one's belongings. But as it turned out, Jessie could accommodate everything she needed in her tiny home. The converted bus was equipped with a lovely kitchen, a comfortable bedroom, and even housed three closets!
The converted bus had a fully-functional electric system and was able to support all the electronic appliances you could imagine. One by one, Jessie bought a refrigerator, a washing machine, a spin dryer, a water heater, and a propane tank into her tiny home. All these household appliances were carefully chosen to fall in line with her energy- efficient and Earth-conscious philosophy.
One of the best things about living in a bus lined with windows is a close contact with the fantastic scenery. Jessie set up her kitchen by the window, so now she can cook while enjoying the beauty of nature.
Jessie has built a cozy bedroom in her mobile room. While decorating it with velvet curtains, Jessie has set up a miniature library by her bed within arm's reach. Nothing is more wonderful than reading your favorite book in bed while breathing in the fresh morning air from the woods.
Jessie and her friends had been working hard for three years to complete the project, and it was worth it. The chic mobile home was fully functional and had a delicate design. Its electrical and water systems are environmentally sustainable. Jessie had finally escaped her hectic Manhatten life and realized her dream of owning a mobile home.
As well-equipped as it might have been, Jessie's tiny home did not have everything that a typical home might home. For example, the converted bus was not installed with a television. However, Jessie did not see that as a flaw. “I love not having a TV. I had the option to have a TV, but I really like waking up in the morning and hearing the birds outside my window,” she told the Insider.
As well as equipping her tiny home with essential facilities, Jessie also managed to spruce it up with a touch of color. Here is a picture of a painting hung up in the central hallway of the converted bus that Jessie snagged at a Goodwill sale.
Jessie saw the converted bus as her personal sanctuary, and she brought with her what truly mattered: a set of china dishes which had been passed down many generations in her family. It was a way for her to carry her past wherever the road might take her.
Although Jessie was satisfied with the final product, she did have several gnawing regrets. In particular, she had been too busy completing the project without reading as much as she would have liked. She said she would again repurpose the converted bus given a chance.
Despite years of effort, Jessie eventually decided to sell the converted bus. She put the bus up on Craigslist at $149,000, and it is now being rented out as an Airbnb for travelers in Joshua Tree National Park in eastern California. For Jessie, the dream had run its course. She has moved on from her brainchild. Where is she now?
Jessie is now employed in a job that allows her to work remotely, and she plans to travel abroad while working. Maybe she doesn't want to be tied down by the responsibility of tending to the bus. Freedom has always been her life philosophy, from the moment she decided to build a mobile home until now.