~ Yoga instructor, his wife, daughter and two dogs all make this 210 sqft bus conversion home. ~


Interview By: Brock Butterfield ~

School Bus Conversion By: David and Melanie Babin ~

Bus Specs:

-Make: Thomas

-Model:Flat nose

-Motor:5.9 Cummins

-Year: 2000

-Interior Square Footage: approx 210 sq ft

-Current Location: Edmonton, Alberta

-Purchased From/Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta

-Cost in materials for the conversion: $10,000 (including the bus $4000), but we still need solar and water tanks/pump

What made you want to complete a bus conversion? It appears you guys started in a VW Westfalia?

We got tired of paying crazy amounts in rent. We moved a lot in the past couple of years so having a home on wheels seemed like the perfect solution for our family. We started out hitchhiking from Ottawa to Alaska in 2008, and got hooked on traveling. Then we had a VW vanagon for a while, travelled all over Canada and did a few National Parks in the USA. We wanted to do it all again with our daughter Alice. We loved vanlife so we knew we could definitely make it work in a bus as a family of 3 + 2 dogs.  Living in the bus allows us to save up money but also allows us to spend more time together as a family doing the things we love most.

What type of skills for the bus conversion did you have prior and what did you learn or teach yourself along the way?

David has worked in the welding industry for 12+ years. He’s a fast learner and is incredibly curious. So off course he read everything on bus conversion before starting the project. I knew we would be able to pull it off but I am still amazed that he did everything himself.

What we have learned : Patience! And that not everything has to be perfect! :)

What was the hardest part of the bus conversion and what guidance would you give others for that part?

We did everything ourselves and we had to have the bus ready to live in in 2 months. It was extremely stressful and exhausting. Our circumstances were out of the ordinary (david lost his job a month in the conversion), but I would say this… if you can take your time and have friends to help out, ACCEPT!

What is the plan now that your bus conversion is road ready?

We will be moving around Edmonton and Jasper National Park for this summer and who knows after that… We are hoping to make it to the vanlife gathering in Canmore in July :)

How were you able to get your bus registered as a motorhome or RV?

We are still registered as passenger… will let you know how it goes.

Who did you get insurance for your bus conversion from?



How has it been raising a little one in the bus?

It’s great! She is one happy little girl so we must be doing something right! She has everything she needs in the bus, her toys, a bathtub, we have a full kitchen so we can even bake cookies together! Mostly she just loves playing outside so buslife is perfect for all of us. Each time we move the bus, she gets to explore new things!

What make and model did you end using for the following:

  • Kitchen stove it’s an old trailer stove we found on kijiji
  • Kitchen sink, faucet and pump : Sink from kijiji, DIY faucet, no pump yet (we were hooked up to water here on the acreage)
  • Toilet : DIY composting toilet
  • Shower or hot water source : Eccotemp hot water on demand, stock tank tub + diy plumbing/faucet
  • Any other unique and helpful items you’d recommend : full size woodstove for winter in Alberta!

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?

I’m not sure? The full kitchen/bathroom? Full size wood stove?

What do you do for income?

I am a stay at home mom looking to start a business from home… David is a yoga teacher (in training) and works in an outdoor shop in Edmonton

Where can people follow or find out more about your bus?

Facebook : Our Dharma Tribe

and Instagram @our.dharma.tribe