The Bus Renovation Journey

Hooray, I am traveling Australia in my newly renovated bus with my beautiful partner Paul and dog Banjo. We will be interviewing people who are interesting, places we go and experiences that we have… #shareourblog #follow 

Instagram – bluebusjourney

Facebook – BlueBusJourney


This is the most epic this I’ve done..

So… This renovation has without a doubt been the most EPIC thing that I have ever done… EVER!!!  I’ll do my best to describe the journey with you…. .

WHEN I WAS 13…. I grew up on a small little coastal island, called Phillip island… I found island life very beautiful and felt very connected to the ocean although it was very surfer skater battles, lots of sexual energy and lots of pretentiousness. The culture was very much like the TV show Puberty Blues… In fact, watch that, and you’ll understand… 



When i was 14 and after a huge court case between my Mum and Dad, we moved to a rural farm in Lake Tyres. This is the Farm below… 🙂

. Mum and Suttos Farm

As you can see, it’s amazing… I loved living there… It took me away from a place of drama and gave me space to focus on myself… I learnt to love myself here, its very special… My brother and I became very close and we did everything together… We honestly, just had the best time… 🙂 Im so grateful that my Mother made the choice to move us there (I hated being away from my dad though) 

Half of the farm is for sale if you’d like to have a look.. Farm for sale, click here
Photos of Farm life.. 






When the dream begun… I used to go to the local travel agent and get those travel books of places you could go around Australia, and used to dream of traveling Australia… Its ALWAYS ALWAYS… always, been my dream to travel Australia… Did  mention that it ALWAYS been my dream?

5 years later…. I met Paul when I was 17… Only a young little lass (lol) … I just got home from school one day (yes, in my school uniform) and there was a roof leak in our farmhouse, so Paul the Plumber (with his sexiness) came over to check out the leak and assess the problem… As soon as I saw him, i had BUTTERFLIES, umm, i think i actually floated up in to the air and i dunno, probably looked like a freak and just STARED at him… haha! Anyways, My mum bought me a bus (well swapped some cows for a bus) … A classic country deal. It was my art studio and basically was just full of canvas and paint… I LOVE ART

So paul asked me whose bus, i said mine… then he said he lived in a bus… and I dunno what happened that day… Although it was magical…. I finally found someone who just, GOT ME!

This is what Paul looked liked when I first met him…


This is my 1st car Jingo and my bus in the background…


3 YEARS LATER…. Paul found me on Facebook…. Some could say he was s stalker! haha (Although, i didn’t mind)… Just to stalk him back, i gave him my number straight away, and we spent every night one the phone, and sometimes I fell asleep talking to him… OH GOSH. Such a classic…

Paul then, asked me the big question… WANNA COME ON A TRIP WITH ME?… I said, “YES” haha… So we travelled together for a while up the east coast…

Some Photos…








After traveling for about a year, I decided that i wanted to move back to Melbourne and study Art Therapy… so We did… And I am now proudly a quailified Art Therapist. 


While I studied Art Therapy, We lived in Mt Martha and made the decision to renovate the bus… And boy, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves in to! Like NONE. 

This is what the bus looked like before we started… 






Why did we want to renovate? 

  • Paul whipped this up, in a need to just hit the road after family conflict, and just wanting to get the hell out of the rat race and taste freedom…
  • The colours were dark, and I wanted more open space
  • The storage wasn’t very good (i have A LOT of clothes)
  • It sounded like a fun project
  • It just needed to be re-done

In short, We made a choice that we wanted to spend a few more years on the road and have children travelling, and for me to commit to that, I wanted to live in a space that was OURS, the way WE wanted and I wanted my dream bus… So after many many chats… we chose YES! LETS DO IT! (yes, i know i have blue blood) I just like quality… ok! LOL!

Our biggest inspiration… 


I basically just wanted the bus to looked EXACTLY like this!… Fresh, Open, coastal, practical, Classy, beautiful and relaxing… I mean, come on, how could you not want to travel Australia in a space like that?

THE START…. Ripping out all the old stuffs… This was really fun…. You know releasing anger etc.. 





Re-do the ceiling… The electrical, the installation  the new roof…


Colour… We chose to use the colour white, to keep the space open… and give the illusion that the space is bigger than what it really is… 🙂 I have done hours and hours of research on colour design and theory…

Here it is, painted white… lol!



I cried,,.. and screamed… and got so mad… WAH. I wanted to give up, then and there… This was going to take such a long time, we didn’t have the skills and i just wanted to get the hell out of Melbourne and back on the beach…. RAHHH! Paul, bless his cotton socks, is calm, grounded and a lot more practical then me, said ” we can DO THIS, we just need to work hard together” … I said “okkkkkkkkkk” and we just got on with it… (this whole process took us a year and sent us broke)

The start of re-building the bus… (F%@$@^!^) 

Taking off every single PANEL… YUP< EVERY single one of them…


Then, cutting out ALL of the rust, and re-welding new steel to the frame….



BONUS, My dearest and best friend Luke, is a welder and helped us a lot in teaching us how and coming down to give us a hand… I will be forever grateful for his support! One day I will do something super special for him… Luke if you’re reading this, I LOVE YOU! Thank you so much! x



After we welded the new frame, we painted it with NO RUST Paint… (piss off rust and NEVER COME BACK) Here are the before and after shots… No more rust… THANK GOD FOR THAT! THAT WAS SO EPIC! BLAHHHHH!


NOW… To Re-Do the Panels… We decided that instead of using steel again, the aluminium was a much better material to work with, as… IT DOESN’T RUST! haha. Hurray. Plus it’s lighter… (certainly NOT cheaper)

The process of re-panneling … 

Step 1… Get a piece of aluminium and cut it to the right size to fit on to the bus… Yup, you read correctly… CUT EVERY SINGLE PIECE OUT… like the biggest jigsaw puzzle you have ever done… (i wanted to give up again) Paul just kept on going and going and going… WHAT A MAN!


Step 2. Once the aluminium was cut, we have to scratch it so the paint would stick to it… We have spend HOURS scratching aluminium… HOURS! Buy the end, My muscles were pretty big, I don’t want to brag, although… they were massive! lol!

Step 3. Undercoat paint…



Step 4. Write quotes in the frame for what we wanted for our journey… This is crucial! lol


Step 5. Put the installation in the cavity the put some sikaflex (a really super strong glue) then rivet the panels on… I LOVED THE RIVET GUN>>> L.O.V.E.D ITTTTTT!







Step 6. Once the panels were all up, we did another undercoat of paint…  Paul’s father Ron (i like to call him Ronny) Is a spraypainter… I KNOW, best mate a welder, Father in law a spraypainter… HOW LUCKY ARE WE!!! With his amazing skills, he helped us through the whole job of spraying it! We LOVED having him around and really enjoyed him being apart of it! Ron has been the most supportive person with us doing the bus reno’s, coming on epic adventures, finding supplies, designing it, listening to all our frustrations… Safe to say, if it wasn’t for Ron, I don’t think we would of done it! We love him incredibly!


Step 7. The fun bit… The colour. When choosing what design to do for the bus, we decided we wanted something really simple and nice… Sure i’d love to have a crazy artwork on there, although, Paul looking the way he does, living in a motorhome just attracts the cops… and we want to be their friends, lol, so we opt out on something crazy and expressive to a simple design… A design that reminded us both of home… THE BEACH… We chose these 3 colours…


Step 8… spraying it… Father and son bonding!




Step 9… CELEBRATE< IT’S DONE>>>>>> We got drunk and refused to look in the bank account!


GETTING A ROAD WORTHY… In short it took over a month to get that done and cost $7,700 just for the RWC! WAHHHHHHHH! BREATHE! Anyway we did so much to get to that point, we just paid it and got on with it!

NOW, for the inside… 

We got a kitchen from Ikea, I know,right… IKEA. An IKEA KITCHEN IN A BUS (who would of thought)…  I LOVE IKEA. Ikea was affordable, had all draws, was easy to build! We triple enforced everything so it wouldn’t break… and we are so happy with it!




THE COUCH… the couch was drama town, we wanted something the would fit, and also that was long enough for someone to sleep on… We finally found one and we love it. Perfect fit, Perfect everything!



The Shower… I went to local tile shops and brought old tiles, I think i probably only spent $30 on the shower base, and I made my very 1st mosaic (with some tips from my Mum)… a Mandala… I really enjoyed the process… I didn’t really plan any of it, it just kinda happened, and i am really happy with it…





Then we finished the rest with just stuffs… (I’m sick of explaining it now.. haha, so use your imagination) 

The finished product photos…. OUR BEAUTIFUL HOME!









We have just put in a coffee machine to sell coffees and art at markets and festivals…. Whoo hooo. If you see us come say hi… 



 Pretty close to having it the same as our goal image right? 


Thank you for being a part of the journey with us by reading this… I could go in to so much more detail, although, I just wanted to show you how hard we have worked to make this happen… There have been plenty of times when we have had NO money and have had to eat at paul’s parents house… And we have also had the most amazing times, with laughs, dancing, learning and the most positive experience for our relationship to grow strong and know that together WE can achieve anything! ITS TIME TO GO… and thank god we have a bus and can! The hard work has certainly paid off… x we are FREEEEEEEE to do whatever the hell we want! SHIT YES! (Luckily we want to travel Australia haha) 

Stay tuned for more travelling adventures..

Sending you all Love and remember you have the power within you to achieve your dreams. X 

57 thoughts on “The Bus Renovation Journey

  1. Jed Mahoney says:

    Great story, April! And well done.
    I lived in Nowa Nowa between ’83 and ’89 and have fond memories of the Lake Tyers area.
    My son’s mother and I used to dream of owning real estate down that (long, l-o-n-g) road.
    Happy adventuring.


  2. dawest58 says:

    What a great love story- both the bus and your man. Love the idea of traveling in a bus but it certainly helps having people to help with the expertise of the different skills needed with every step of the renovation. The idea of just traveling the country (I live in the US so I would love to see the whole North America) is very intriguing. Definitely on my bucket list! Good luck!


  3. heidihymer says:

    Epic rebuild! Great job! Would love to live in something like that, but it wouldn’t fit down all the tiny roads in Europe. .and we couldn’t afford the fuel either! Looking forward to following your journey

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kay McGregor says:

    thanks for sharing your story, congratulations on the bus renovation I absolutely love it, well done. Wishing you safe and happy travelling.


  5. gleesonbusline says:

    Awesome story and great pics. We know exactly what you’ve achieved – we gutted a school bus and turned it into a mobile home for a family of five last year! We’ve just had an incredible year on the road on our blue-and-yellow bus … and wish you all the best for your travels. Bus life ROCKS!


  6. Rob N Suzanne says:

    We are so pleased that you choose to tell us your full story about this conversion of your future Mobile Home and all your journeys ,We look forward to seeing many pictures of places you go and what people are saying to you about your home.Thank you from all the members of this group… Good Luck and safe traveling. Rob N Suzanne….


  7. Leigh says:

    Congrats on the build, it looks amazing. Simple, airy and ….. Just great.

    This is something I’d love to do… My father is on his eight year building his but he is at the wrong age I feel, nearly 70.

    I admire you guys for breaking away from the “traditional lifestyle” .. Something I don’t think I could do.. We have a mortgage, 2 young kids.. But what a life it could be if I werent a scaredy cat.

    All the best, Leigh


  8. Nita says:

    You said you triple re- enforced the cabinets …with what and what do you guys cook on ??? I dont see a range or oven..BTW you guys did a great job.


  9. Debbie says:

    Absolutely love it! We are in the US and finished our first tiny house project last year: That’s our semi-permanent home. Then we got antsy to build again and just started a school bus project on March 6th! This will be our traveler and party lounge. We got it for a steal at $2000USD. It is a 2002 Bluebird. Please check out that project at Keep living the dream and the journey. We are both recently 50 and trying to instill this different way of living to our young adult children…. Safe Travels!


  10. Darren Rodda says:

    You guys rock, your new home looks awesome enjoy your travels & stay safe. Great to see 2 young people chasing there dreams. Oh by the way how long did it take you from start to finish.


  11. Sandy Smith says:

    loved your story, we brought a camper to travel around in also, hope to see you on your travels… Bus looks awesome .:)


  12. Kerry says:

    Great story. We hope to travel the country in the future too. Will you be putting up a FB page for people to follow your journey? Best wishes.


  13. Juli says:

    Bus envy. You’re incredible; as a couple, designers, renovators, and creators. And Alyce, wow, I love your writing. Thanks for letting us take a peek into your amazing, epic journey. Safe, happy travels; can’t wait to read more!


  14. Kim says:

    What an awesome transformation of your bus! Happy travels to you! Love the shower floor mosaic. BTW…you are a writer…great job telling your story!


  15. Judy McCloskey says:

    Found this via your mom posting on VSM site! How exciting! We live in Chesapeake, Virginia now but traveled all over the world . Really miss that and now want to RV all around the states. Husband went to Australia and New Zealand before I met him so you gave me idea that we could do that too! Thank you for sharing story-you are an inspiration…far reaching at that!


  16. Julieanne says:

    Wow congratulations that is fantastic, you have worked really hard and it looks beautiful. My hubby and I lived in a bus very similar to yours (about 35 years ago) and we loved it. So enjoy and be happy and look forward to your updates.


  17. Brendan Tapscott says:

    Well done Alyce &Paul, what a mammoth task you took on….you have built your dream, now go and live it!!!!..many klms of adventure ahead…BTW Alyce you tell a great story


  18. Belinda mawson says:

    good job. We are in the midst of selling up and buying our new home on wheels not long till we are on the road living our dream, hope to see you there woohoo . Enjoy every minute. Cheers


  19. Bob MacPherson says:

    It was a lot of work but job well done both of you . You will have many years of enjoyment with the finished product.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s