27-year-old Amy Butler and 33-year-old David Laws are living out their dream travelling around Europe in a converted luxury “beach bus” – and it’s only costing them £15 a day.
The pair met in 2014 while living in Dubai, where Butler was working in oil and gas recruitment and Laws was a design technology teacher.
Three years later – having got engaged while taking a Tuk Tuk ride in Sri Lanka – the couple are on their final adventure before they plan to settle down and open their own eco-friendly guesthouse somewhere in Europe.
Butler and Laws started their trip in August driving from the UK to France, from where they headed to northern Spain before driving through Portugal.
And they’re doing it with a 2005 Fiat Ducato mini bus they paid £5,500 ($7,365) for in April, which they have since renovated in order to use it for their travels across Europe.
The couple have documented their experience from start to finish via their blog, including the build which they said took four months of long 12+ hour days, and two months longer than expected.
They initially had a budget of £12,000 for the bus conversion and £5,000 for the travelling, but said that they ended up going about £6,000 over budget on the renovation.
Here’s a video of the restoration process.
“Our ambition had always been to make something that resembled the quality, finish and function of a small studio apartment, and we think that is what we achieved; with the slight ramshackle look of an old seaside beach hut,” the couple said.
“We stripped it back to its very aluminium shell core state, insulated it, installed electrics, plumbing and gas – with no idea of how any of these systems worked.
“(It) completely drained our bodies and soul to get it here – but we were finished – and what we saw we were in love with.”
The results are pretty impressive. The bus now resembles something closer to a plush – albeit cosy – holiday cottage rather than a mobile home, thanks to the attention to detail and luxurious soft furnishings.
There’s a kitchenette, which is decorated with handmade turquoise tiles, and comes complete with a hob, ceramic sink, mixer tap, cupboards, and shelves for cookery books.
The couple wrote it was “(the) hardest part of the build, took us days to work out how to get the cupboard doors on, and we had to router out the solid wood counter top for the sink and stove. We also made all the tiles and the spice rack.”
The couple have made the most of the tight space. There’s also a stylish (mini) lounge area with a large window, presumably a good place to admire the surrounding landscape.
We have a pull out chair at the end of the sofa that doubles up as a laundry box inside, and then under the sofa is all baskets for storage and the sofa pulls out to become a spare double bed ???? #Bushome #busliving #busconversion #vanliving #vanlife #vanconversion #vancrush #skoolieconversion #skoolie #campervan #campervanlicious #eurotrip #eurovan #tinyhome #tinyhouse #homeiswhereyouparkit
At the end of the sofa, which pulls out to make a double bed for guests, there’s a pull-out chair that doubles up as a laundry box, as well as baskets for storage underneath.
Some of the luxury finishing touches include the copper light fixture and handmade art and cushions pictured below.
The kitchen and lounge area leads on to the bedroom, where the beach hut style is carried through. They added that they used a moodboard of “loads of images stuck to a corkboard” to create the interior design of the bus.
The bedroom is fitted with a “comfy” double bed, as well as a projector, which the couple use to transform their room into a private cinema.
The bus also has its own shower and toilet, which look pretty luxurious by mobile home standards.
And, of course, its very own homemade wine rack, which they call “the the most important part of the bus.”
The Wine rack, obviously the most important part of the bus! To see how we built it check out our website www.ourbeachbus.com #busconversion #busliving #buslife #vanliving #vanlife #vanconversion #skoolieconversion #skoolie #campervan #campervanlicious #homeiswhereyouparkit #tinyhouse #eurovan #eurotrip #tinyhome #selfbuildcamper
The couple told MailOnline Travel that they manage to get by on a budget of just £15 a day.
“We love making our own food,” they said. “We have made lots of dim sum and ramen.”
They added that they still haven’t had a single argument on their trip, despite living in such close proximity. They said “that they are loving life on the open road.”
San Sebastian in Spain is their favourite place so far – thanks to the tapas – and they’d also like to visit Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania – if their shoestring budget allows.
Their trip is also serving as research for their next venture. Eventually, they want to build their own eco-friendly guesthouse somewhere in Europe, where they can grow their own vegetables, keep livestock, and build treehouses, yurts, and yet more bus conversions.