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People have epiphanies all the time. They suddenly question the way they’re living and where they’re living, for instance. They feel restless, confused, and stagnant. And though it’s natural and healthy to live with a bit of doubt in your life to keep you from ever feeling simply complacent, one would hope, when it comes to your living situation, you feel safe.

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For New Zealanders Andrew and Amber of Bus Life NZ, the epiphany about their living situation happened after a life-changing event. While the below images and video of their fabulous bus abode seem idyllic, the couple was 25 floors above ground in a building when, only a few miles away, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch in February 2011. The event severely damaged the building they were in, forcing Andrew and Amber to spend several hours trying to escape. The situation was so “nerve-wracking” that they were unsure if they would survive. Eventually, they were rescued off the roof of the adjacent building.

Their being trapped proved to be such a traumatizing experience that Andrew ultimately developed post-traumatic stress disorder, which then spiralled into severe depression and anxiety. But the couple have since recovered, had two kids, Jake and Daisy, and one incredible epiphany:

We were wasting our lives going to work everyday, putting our kids in daycare all just to have a nicer car, comfier couch, bigger TV and flashier house. So, we have decided we want out. We want out of the prescribed life, we want to be free. Free to spend as many of the hours we have left together. Watching our kids grow up, having amazing experiences and truly living.

This realization led the couple to renovate an old city transit and school bus, a 1987 Volvo B6FA 6-Litre Turbo Diesel bus, into a motorhome to both live in and use to travel around the country. The renovations took them about a year to complete.

Storage is hidden in the seating benches, underneath the bunk beds, and in various other places, to ensure the home on wheels provides ample space for plenty of comfort. The bus runs solely on solar power, with 750W of solar panels and a 630Ah 12V battery bank. It has a 250-liter (66-gallon) fresh water capacity, as well as a toilet flushing tank of 80 liters for additional needs. With the bus engine able to run on recycled vegetable oil and the option to harvest rainwater from the roof available as well, this bus-turned-home is truly an eco bus. Bought for a mere $7,000 USD, the couple then put in about $15,000 for the interior renovations. They report that their family has adjusted to their new and undoubtedly unique living quarters wonderfully.

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The family only moved into the bus about a month ago, and reports that they are still working full-time for a couple more months. However, they have begun to create alternative income streams to ensure the transition goes smoothly. One of the best parts is, because their expenses will go down, they won’t need to work as much to keep up with their lifestyle. “The beauty of reducing your outgoings so much is you can reduce your income a lot,” explained Andrew.

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Photos: © Bus Life NZ

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