By Jess Grieveson-Smith
An art teacher is taking the idea of ‘living at school’ quite literally – as she now lives permanently in a school bus she renovated for only £3K.
Open with the pupils she teaches about her living arrangement, Lauren Gardenbelle, 25, found the partially gutted bus on Facebook marketplace – and set about making the former school bus her permanent home.
Lauren has now lived in the bus for almost a year, and plans to travel the globe in it – teaching where she can.
Lauren, from Maryland, USA said: “I love being an art teacher and sharing my experiences of the world with the students – and it’s great that I can be a role model for living more environmentally friendly.
“It was an idea I’d had since I was 18, finishing up my bachelor’s degree, so soon as I saw the bus on Facebook, I knew I had to have it.
“I wanted to travel too, and planned on being able to teach all over – and the bus seems like the perfect way to do so.
“The initial purchase of the bus was just over £9K and to renovate, only put about £3K in there.
“I have a generator to run air conditioning, and spent around £2K to get solar panels, and make sure the way I was living was eco-friendly.
“But the majority of the bus was upcycling.
“I saved a ton of money by fitting old furniture into the bus and using lots of free palette wood.
“The only new things were the shower and the bed frame.”
Lauren is open with her students about the living situations and likes that she is able to model an alternative way of living for students, who she believes are at a crucial age, where they are encourages to go to college, get married and buy a house.
Lauren said: “I’m a big advocate for living outside your comfort zone.
“I love sharing with my students the ways in which my living situation creates a smaller impact on our environment on how they can make small, positive changes as well.
“It took me three full months to convert the bus, as I bought the bus home at the end of March, 2019, and I started a six week grad school programme in mid-June.
“But I moved it to a farm close to the school, and I’ve been continuously working on it with help from my partner – but now, close to a year since we began, it’s near completion.
“The idea is soon, we’ll take off travelling and really go on an adventure.
“I’ve found myself forgetting quite often that I’m inside a school bus because it’s really just home.
“Being able to park on a beach and not having to worry about packing or anything of that nature is incredible.
“Not knowing where we’re going to park next is thrilling, and waking up in the same home but with hundreds of different scenes and landscapes is so refreshing.
“It’s an amazing life full of travel and adventure.”
BREAKDOWN OF BUS COST
INITIAL PRICE OF BUS: £9200
SOLAR PANELS AND PACKAGE: £1500
MATERIALS TO BUILD SHOWER AND BED FRAME AND DECORATION: £1K