Bartender Quits Job to Live in a School Bus


Hey guys I’m Jax Austin and this is
Dan the Adventure Bus. I used to bartend. I had this boss that was just always on
people’s ass and very negative and so I just kind of got sick of him after a
while and so I was in this meeting in Chicago and right then and there I just
had a realization…why do I want to put effort into something that I don’t like?
When I could be putting some effort into something that I would love to do. I
never went back to work. I had some savings. Me and a friend of mine were on
a road trip in Big Sur. I don’t know why but I was like, “hey, what if I got a
school bus and traveled around?” Sure enough right when we turned around this
hairpin curve what was in front of us? A school bus! He pulls over.
Of course I pull over right next to him. I ran up to the bus, asked him all these
questions and one of the most important things he told me was like, “you can
stay on public land for like two weeks for free”, and I’ve been using that so much on my trip. I love public lands. I’d prefer
everything to be a public land as opposed to somebody with a fence around
it because I would like everybody to share it. I flew all the way to
Philadelphia to get Dan. The bus is named after my uncle Dan. Unfortunately, a
couple years ago, he passed away. In his honor I named the bus after him. This is Dan the Adventure Bus.
It is a 2003 E450 Super Duty with a 7.3 litre power stroke which by the way
is the best engine to get for a diesel and it’s a dually so it’s about as wide
and as long as these little short buses get. Some people think that this is a
paint job not to disappoint anyone is a graphic sticker wrap. It’s just a huge
sticker. It’s like vinyl or something. Above that
is my number one favorite upgrade to the bus. I installed
AstroTurf. If anybody has a school bus and you want your rooftop deck and you
don’t know how to build one all you need is caulking and AstroTurf, that’s it. Up
top I have three hundred and twenty watts of AM solar. These are reclaimed hardwoods from the
Northeast. I believe it’s mixed species couldn’t
tell you what species but I know I like them. Underneath this is half inch foam
insulation and some MDO for the subfloor. I also have up here a lot of
sound insulation. Diesels are super super noisy. One other of my favorite upgrades
is the lights. I installed LED lights so it’s just a pretty basic setup here with
some cedar. I torched it a bit. I hid some wires under here and then the LEDs go on
top. Under the bench is where all of the energy is. I have two hundred and fifty
five amp hour AGM battery. 2000 watt inverter. I have a little charger that
charges off the alternator as well because I’m always on the go. All the wood in here is all reclaimed and even the drawer pulls are from the same store
and who knows how old they are. I know these drawer fronts here have square
nails in them and I was told that they’re from the 1890s. Locks on the side
just a simple dowel. What I have for my opinion of myself is a pretty organized
little system. Back here is where all the action happens and also where I’m
keeping my broken door. Life on the road is that sometimes things break so I’m in
a process of redoing this door. The door goes over here. This is my one cooking
utensil or vessel here. It’s a pressure cooker. It comes in handy for all kinds
of stuff. Down here everything’s pretty organized
for the most part. I have a bunch of plastic bins. I got my Carver skateboard
which I really love. I grew up surfing. A lot of people ask
me, “Oh that’s a great open layout but where’s the shower? Where’s the toilet?”
Well you’re about to see. This is called the dump trunk. This is where the nasty
magic happens. It was about 130 bucks. Originally I really wanted a composting
toilet, but a thousand bucks, dude. There’s no way I’m gonna pay a thousand bucks to
poop in your plastic box, you know what I mean? This is a sink but honestly I never
really use it so I’m thinking about replacing it with a sink stove burner
combo because right now I’m just using camping stove kind of thing but under
here we got storage for two seven gallon tanks and a few jackets. Down here is
just kind of like my food pantry for now. You know if you do the van life or
thinking about it just know that you’ll be constantly upgrading and making
changes to your house. It’s just the way it is. There’s no one right way and
there’s no one wrong way just whatever suits your needs. Over here we have a
little fridge for some reason it stopped working the other day. It’s still not
working so a couple of things I need to fix. Like I said I’m a surfer. Grew up
surfing at the beach. I used to work at a surf camp. Here’s my surfboard bag which
I never use. I got my surfboard snowboard wetsuit’s inside the backpack. I also have
a little heater in this corner you can’t really tell but I am installing a shower
next week so there’s gonna be a water tank over here. The heater is gonna be
didn’t really think this out but probably like right here and then I’m
gonna have an outside shower head so I can take a nice hot shower anywhere I want. So the bus I paid 5,500 bucks. All the materials and things like that as well as engine problems I would say about ten and then I probably spent
about four grand on labor so more or less about 20 but if I did it over I
would be cutting cost left and right. You learn so much when you do this. I mean
I could do one half the amount of money you know? To those people who are new to
the van life or who are interested in the van life it’s amazing. I mean clearly
you have some obstacles: space being one of them, how you gonna take a poop, how
are you gonna shower, but I promise you once you start doing it all those things
become so trivial. What you give up is small compared to what you are given. I
mean worst case scenario you try it out for a little while and
then maybe it’s not for you, you go back to an apartment, but you still have a
vehicle to drive around town. Maybe it’s your weekend adventure mobile, but I would
say to commit to it full-time as far as traveling full-time you need to figure
out how to make some money, if not save money, but if you are a student and
you’re going to school, one of the best books I read ever, and I’m not a reader,
was Walden on Wheels. Guy put himself through grad school and owed nothing by
the time he graduated. Worked in the summers, lived in the van on the Penn
State parking lot. I would say to those people who are going to school
don’t have a lot of money thinking about loans, don’t do it. Go to school but live
in a van or you’re out of school you got a bunch of racked up money,
great, live in a van. People work so hard and I just don’t think it’s fair the
cost of having an apartment is so expensive compared to what people make.

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