I haven’t been on a school bus since my last high-school track meet many, many springs ago, but it’s hard to forget the way they make even just-paved streets feel like riding horseback down a cobblestone alleyway.
But if anyone can bring redemption to the lowly neighborhood school bus, it’s Kai and Julie, a filmmaker and tattoo artist from Berlin who are now living their best life in a painstakingly revamped GMC Short Bus they picked up in Florida.
They're wave-chasing throughout Europe in the restoration as we speak, and cataloguing the adventure on Instagram all the while.
bus (5 images)
Theirs is a familiar story: disillusioned thirty-somethings escape the drudgery of city life in a handsomely appointed camper, document it on Instagram and live happily ever after. The difference with Kai and Julie's project is that the pair are bona fide DIY wizards.
So instead of ordering a custom van or pooling savings on an Airstream, their “Amerikanischer Schulbus” is pure homegrown ingenuity, with the kind of unique furnishings that can only be had in a custom job.
There’s a bench from the original bus that’s been shifted 90 degrees to sit at an ideal height for a dining table that appears from a pull-out drawer. There’s a big kitchen with distressed cabinetry. There’s a blinding system (used to cover the many windows, which were part of the reason the couple wanted a school bus in the first place) made from fabric and knobs usually found on boats. And there's even a wood-burning stove, composting toilet and roof rack.
Kai and Julie’s latest search for swells recently took them to Cornwall, along the southwest coast of England — a near-2,000-mile journey over three weeks from their native Berlin. They head to Italy and Corsica next.
All images from @wetravelbybus