Stefanie Wenceslao cover

Although we’ve had skoolie owners and builders on the show before, this week’s guest is our first short skoolie dweller. Stefanie Wenceslao talks to me about what it’s like to be new to the tiny lifestyle, how to get to know other tiny house nomads, and what she’s learned so far through trial and error. Short school buses are in the same class as vans, U-Hauls, and ambulances, which means that this wonderful option for full-time tiny living is sometimes overlooked, but Stefanie explains why they make great rolling homes.

In This Episode:

  • One system for security and climate control
  • The perks of traveling with your home
  • Skoolie safety for solo travelers
  • How to get to know other nomads
  • Why a short school bus makes a great home on wheels

Links and Resources:


Guest Bio:

Stefanie Wenceslao

Stefanie Wenceslao

Stefanie Wenceslao recently had a short school bus converted into a little home on wheels … aka, a skoolie! She has always said that when she retires, she’s going to buy an RV and travel around this beautiful country of ours. But with all of the remote jobs these days, she figured, why wait for retirement? Why not do it now?

So here she is, dipping her toe in the “nomadic pond”. Day trips here, weekend trips there, and a few long trips for good measure. Let’s just say she’s getting herself prepared to one day go full-time!





This Week's Sponsor:

Precision Temp Logo


PrecisionTemp is making one product to solve two issues that I know everyone deals with in a tiny house: running out of hot water and heating your tiny house. PrecisionTemp has made the amazing TwinTemp Junior propane tankless water heater, which provides unlimited hot water for your tiny house and hydronic heating. This means you get warm heated floors, so there are no cold spots. It's designed specifically for tiny houses and features whisper-quiet operation as well as high efficiency. If you want more information on how PrecisionTemp can help make living tiny easier and more comfortable visit While you're there, use the coupon code THLP for $100 off any PrecisionTemp unit plus free shipping.


More Photos:

Before and after

Stefanie designed her bus to look masculine on the outside

The inside is very homey

Everything except the stove and water heater run on solar

She is fully off-grid

Her bathroom is tiny and fully functional


Stefanie Wenceslao 0:00

I wanted the exterior of my bus to feel like a guy lives in the bus. To me, it was just a layer of security. So I made it look like maybe a military guy lives there.

Ethan Waldman 0:16

Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 229 with Stefanie from Skoolie Vibes. Stefanie recently had a short school bus converted into a tiny home on wheels. And I wanted to have her on the show today because we haven't specifically talked about short school buses. They are sometimes overlooked. You know, in the same size class, you have vans, you have ambulances, you have U-Hauls, all of which I've had on the show. And then you've got the longer school buses. And I had Stefanie on the show because I wanted to learn about the lifestyle that she is living with her skoolie named Sarge, but I also wanted to understand why she chose a short school bus over the other options. Stefanie is pretty new to the skoolie lifestyle but this offers a really great intro on what it's like when you're first starting out in the tiny house lifestyle, how to get plugged in with a community, and just the things that you learn along the way through trial and error. It was really fun conversation, and I hope you stick around for Stefanie from Skoolie Vibes.

I'd like to tell you about the sponsor of today's episode, PrecisionTemp. PrecisionTemp is making one product to solve two issues that I know everyone deals with in a tiny house, running out of hot water and heating your tiny house. PrecisionTemp has made the amazing TwinTemp Junior propane tankless water heater, which provides unlimited hot water for your tiny house and hydronic heating. This means you get warm heated floors, so there are no cold spots. It's designed specifically for tiny houses and features whisper quiet operation as well as high efficiency. If you want more information on how PrecisionTemp can help make living tiny easier, and more comfortable, visit While you're there, use the coupon code THLP for $100 off the TwinTemp Junior plus free shipping. That website again is, coupon code THLP for $100 off the TwinTemp Junior plus free shipping. Thank you so much to PrecisionTemp for sponsoring our show.

Alright, I am here with Stefanie from Skoolie Vibes. Stefanie recently had a short school bus converted into a little home on wheels, AKA a skoolie. She has always said when she retires she's going to buy an RV and travel around this beautiful country of ours. But with all the remote jobs these days, she figured why wait for retirement? Why not do it now? So here she is dipping her toe into the nomadic pond. Day trips here, weekend trips there and a few long trips for good measure. Let's just say she's getting yourself prepared to one day go full-time. Stefanie, welcome to the show.

Stefanie Wenceslao 3:25

Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

Ethan Waldman 3:27

Yeah, you're welcome. Thanks for being here. So, um, can you give us kind of the expanded version of that bio? What made you kind of pull the trigger on this? And how has it been so far?

Stefanie Wenceslao 3:42

Well, okay, so working a regular nine to five. And then, you know, I've always been interested in traveling with RVs. And again, like I said, I wanted to do this when I retire. And once the pandemic hit. Yeah, you know, it kind of put everybody in that lockdown. And we were all kind of forced to work from home. And it's like, okay, you know what? We can actually do this. We can really function, I can still have that paycheck, and I can still go out there and I can explore. So then I thought, you know, why, wait, why wait? And so I decided, you know what, I've been wanting to do this. I've been researching it. I've been studying it. I've been following a lot of people on YouTube. And you know, what they display in their daily life of how they have so much fun, so much adventure and everything is really positive because they're just, they're following their heart and doing what they want. And it's it's a sense of freedom. And they're just so happy. Now, I'm not saying that, you know, they romanticize the idea of living in a van or school bus, but because they would show the bad just as well as the good. And you know, it's just reality. Even if you have a sticks and bricks home, there's going to be bad with that. Things happen. So, it was just something I was really drawn to. And because we were in this lockdown situation, I decided, You know what, I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna, I'm not gonna wait. You know, I can, I can start doing this now. And the fact that I did it, and I only had the vehicle like maybe about a month, and I jumped into an event at Del Mar fairgrounds here in San Diego, and I was in the Tiny Fest event, and I met a ton of people. And it's just everyone just, like, exudes this happiness, and there's joy and adventure, and it's like, that's gonna be me here. I'm just starting out, I'm in this event, I've got my rig. That's gonna be me. And it certainly has been me. Since I got the bus. It really truly has.

Ethan Waldman 5:53

And so how long have you owned the bus now at this point?

Stefanie Wenceslao 5:57

Since the beginning of February, so about six months.

Ethan Waldman 5:59

Okay, so not all that long, but you've managed to

Stefanie Wenceslao 6:02

I'm still very new.

Ethan Waldman 6:04

Okay. And are you live it you're not living on the bus full time yet?

Stefanie Wenceslao 6:11


Ethan Waldman 6:11

Do you plan to ever live on it full time?

Stefanie Wenceslao 6:13

Yes, that is the plan. For sure. I designed it to be like a home. I wanted it to look and feel like a home. And on a lot of buses you'll see that all of the windows are exposed. But with my rig, I have a lot of walls, a lot of those windows are walled up. And they're insulated. And I just have like maybe a window over my kitchen sink, and then a window over my sofa. So it feels very much like a home. It doesn't feel like a fishbowl with all the windows, and I feel very safe in it. I feel very secure. It just feels like maybe like a little studio apartment. So yeah, the idea is to eventually live in it.

Ethan Waldman 6:59

Nice, nice. What are some of the special features that designed in order to help support that full time life?

Stefanie Wenceslao 7:08

Okay, so we definitely have SimpliSafe. That's going to keep me safe. The wall has between the house and the cab...

Ethan Waldman 7:16

For those who don't know, what SimpliSafe is, can you just explain that a little bit?

Stefanie Wenceslao 7:20

Oh, it's an online security system. Okay, I have cameras strategically placed around the bus and little sensors on the windows. So if someone were to open, actually the door as well. So the door and the windows all have sensors on them. So an alarm will go off and then you know, SimpliSafe as alerted. So yeah, that's definitely, definitely a huge for me.

Ethan Waldman 7:46


Stefanie Wenceslao 7:46

Again, the wall that I have this between the cabin in the house, not only is it security, but it's also like a temperature control because the back of the house is insulated so well, that it keeps about there's about a 10 to 15 degree difference between the front of the cab, because it's all windows, so it can get really hot. And the back is not as hot. It's going to be like a 10 to 15 degree cooler.

Ethan Waldman 8:12


Stefanie Wenceslao 8:12


Ethan Waldman 8:13

Yeah. And what you were mentioning just the way that you've blocked off a lot of the windows from the inside. It really it doesn't look like a bus on the inside as much as some other skoolie build outs do, where you see that row of those windows, which are kind of unmistakeably school bus windows.

Stefanie Wenceslao 8:34

Correct. Correct. Yeah, I just, I liked that look. But for me as a single person, I definitely wanted that additional security. And it just it does it like when I'm in the bed. The whole bed area is like closed off, like as far as like, walled up, and you feel kind of like you're like little bit cocooned or like in the back of a little cave. I feel very, very, very safe in there.

Ethan Waldman 8:57


Stefanie Wenceslao 8:58

And it does and that's the thing that everybody says when they first take a look at my bus is that it feels really homey. So, you know, we hit the nail on the head when when designing you know, make it feel like a home.

Ethan Waldman 9:12

Nice. And so can you talk about some of the the trips that you've done and some highlights of you know how having, you know, because anybody can take a trip and just go somewhere and stay in a hotel but what has it been like kind of driving your home to these various places?

Stefanie Wenceslao 9:27

Well, you definitely have to take turns slower. You're not a regular vehicle. You got to think about, "If I take this turn quickly, everything out of my refrigerator is gonna fly out!" So you take turns a little bit slower. I've been on several trips. But one event called Buena Ventura, but it was just a camping in Ventura on the ocean, right there along the ocean. I've gone to Joshua Tree I've gone to Anza Borrego Springs I've gone to several campsites with with people that I met from Tiny Fest. You know that everything just kind of catapulted from Tiny Fest. All the people I met those the ones that I'm traveling with, and then they bring friends and we have like these meetups and, and I get to know even more people and it's just expanding my, my nomadic tribe is expanding. So you know, it's funny because you know, I can just pull off on the side of the road and grab a quick snack. Or if I have to go to the bathroom, you know, it's just so easy when traveling with your home. And then once you get there, you know, everybody just kind of settles in and you bring your awning out, you get your chairs out, and it's just it's truly amazing. Like, I wouldn't want to stay in a hotel anymore, because I have all the comforts of home with me. And it's like, why would you travel any other way? It's just, it's amazing. It's so great.

Ethan Waldman 10:53

Nice. Now, you mentioned remote, remote jobs and things. Have you transitioned to remote work yourself yet?

Stefanie Wenceslao 11:02

I have not yet. Yes, I left my position. Well, in February as well, when I got the bus, I also left my position. And it was going to be where I couldn't be remote anymore. And I definitely wanted this. This is my focus was getting remote. You know, I have my bus now this is what's going to happen. So I've kind of allowed myself some time to figure out what I want to do. What is it that I want to do? Like, what kind of remote job do I want to do, I want to maybe do some interior design work remotely. I'm working on that I'm like ways to make that happen. If it's like what I used to do, as far as my old job, you know, if I could do that, which is like an executive assistant, I could do that remotely or virtually. I'm still just trying to figure it out. So that I'm allowing myself the time to do that. Because I did plan for this. I planned and prepared for this. It was my focus for at least a year. So I was getting ready for this. So I'm taking a break. I know I'm not at retirement age, although I keep saying I'm semi retired, I'm not retirement age, yet. I still have a lot of life in me, a lot of work that I can do. So I know that I am still going to do something. I'm just allowing myself time to figure out what it is I'm going to do.

Ethan Waldman 12:17

That's awesome. How often are you traveling?

Stefanie Wenceslao 12:21

You know what? I was traveling about every two weeks. And that seemed to be real comfortable. I wouldn't be gone anywhere from say three day weekends for like, four or five days. And I'm just you know, again, all those different trips that I've been taking. That's what I'm doing. Sometimes it's just weekends, sometimes it's during the week. It's whatever the group wants to do and what they can do so. And lately I've been helping a friend build out her van that she's, she's building on her second van. Her first van is she built out and now she's selling it. And now she's building a second van. So I'm like, "Hey, I've got time on my hands. Let me help you." So here I am drilling, sawing, doing electrical work. I'm doing so much stuff, and I'm learning so much and it's it's pretty amazing. So I've kind of been a little bit low key, but I have a couple of big trips coming up.

Ethan Waldman 13:12

That's awesome. So the name of your bus is Sarge. Correct?

Stefanie Wenceslao 13:19

Yes, it is.

Ethan Waldman 13:20

Where did the name come from?

Stefanie Wenceslao 13:22

You know, that was about that was another design element. I wanted the exterior of my bus to feel like a guy lives in the bus. So the exterior is a desert tan and black trim. And then I put Sarge on the name on the top of the buses on the back and then the front. And to me it was just a layer of security. So I made it look like maybe a military guy lives there.

Ethan Waldman 13:53


Stefanie Wenceslao 13:53

That's a military guy's bus. And it's worked. I, I've gone to a few places. My son will sometimes go with me. He's 19 He'll go with me sometimes. And we wanted to go see Slab City. And we decided it was just Salvation Mountain. And we decided, "Oh, let's just go to the Salton Sea. We're pretty close. Let's just go there." So we went over there. And this area we pulled out in there was a guy there camping. And he was ex military. And and we didn't want to get too close to him. You know, you don't want you want to keep that late, you know, comfortable distance. And when we finally did talk to him, he said, "I was quite surprised to see you come out of that bus because I was expecting a military guy to get out." I'm like, "Thank you. That is exactly the way I designed it. That's exactly - it was intentional." I've had so many people say that. So to me that is like the greatest compliment because that was intentional.

Ethan Waldman 13:54

"Don't mess with me."

Stefanie Wenceslao 13:55

Right! And it's like, but they don't need to know that a female is in there and the inside, the interior of the bus looks very feminine. It's all designed and is, you know, definitely the not masculine looking at all, but that was intentional. So yeah, that's why. And then when I kept thinking like, I want him a strong name like Sarge or Colonel or, you know, just kept, and I just kept coming back to stars kept coming back to start. And it's like, you know what it's thinking it's definitely the name and people call me Sarge. They like, "Oh, hey, Sarge!"

Ethan Waldman 15:26

That's awesome. Awesome.

Stefanie Wenceslao 15:29


Ethan Waldman 15:30

So it sounds like going to a van life or tiny event has helped to really plug you in with the community, which I know is, is a big part of a van life and skoolie life is kind of being able to meet others living that way. And then you can travel together and do kinds of things together.

Stefanie Wenceslao 15:50

Absolutely. I, I got plugged in 100% fFrom the moment, I got there. I had a lady come up to me and I was just, you know, I was never been. And I pulled up in that park where they told me to park and then I was just going around and I was like, kind of saying hi to people. And she thought that I was some kind of coordinator. She's like, "Oh, okay," she started talking to me. I said, "No, it's my first time." And she's like, "Well, we're gonna be we're gonna be besties this weekend." And she took me around and showed me you know, a lot of things and introduced me to people. And I seriously got plugged in the moment I got there.

And I'm telling you, I haven't had a negative experience at all, you know, with with this group with this community, not one that's everybody's so kind and so helpful. And they all have the same mindset. And they all want the same thing. And they want that, that freedom to come and go and to travel and live experienced life to the fullest. And when you have when you're filled with that, how can you not just exude it, how can you not just, you know, share it and and take someone under your wing and say, "Come along, you got to show we got to show you what this is all about." And it's been amazing. It truly has.

Ethan Waldman 17:07

Why did you choose a skoolie or a short bus versus like something like a sprinter van or a U-Haul? Or there are so many different or ambulance there are so many different vehicles like in that size range? Why did you decide on a bus? Okay. 100% Honestly,


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Why did you choose a skoolie or a short bus vs something like a Sprinter van or a U-Haul or an ambulance? Like there are so many different vehicles in that size range. Why did you decide on a bus?

Stefanie Wenceslao 18:59

OK, 100% honestly? The cost.

Ethan Waldman 19:00


Stefanie Wenceslao 19:01

The cost of a cargo van is probably like $25,000 - $30,000 more than what I got the bus for. And, and so it's like and it's a little bit wider. So like two people can pass by each other comfortably, you know, in the hallway, like it's a really small hallway. But you know, two people can pass by comfortably. And I didn't want the bus to be too long that I couldn't like easily park in the grocery store. You know, I didn't want to I wanted to fit as best as I could in a parking spot, a normal parking spot. And if I'm the length of like, maybe like a sprinter van like about 20 feet. I'm pretty close. I'm still a little bit larger than the regular van. But honestly it came down to cost. And that's pretty much you know, it was like if I'm taking out you know, alone to get this done. Yeah, you know it costs was huge. So, I may one day switch to a van. I don't know. But I'm having a lot of fun in Sarge and this 4-window, short school bus. And it's, it's, it's a lot of fun it truly is. And it's easy to drive. It truly is easy drive, because I have a backup camera. I've got all these mirrors around me so I can see what's going on me around me 100% of time I'm driving down the freeway. I see everything that's going on behind me. I see everything on the sides because of those great mirrors. Yeah, it truly the size and the type of vehicle were cost. And then I just wanted to be I wanted to be as maneuverable and mobile as possible. So that's why I chose a select a short school bus. Yeah, versus a really long one.

Ethan Waldman 20:46

And what is the like length of the, I guess of the living space?

Stefanie Wenceslao 20:51

I think it's about 13 - 13.5 feet.

Ethan Waldman 20:55

Okay, so pretty small.

Stefanie Wenceslao 20:56

And about eight feet wide. Yeah.

It's a tiny, tiny house.

It truly, truly is. But you know what, you can just stand in one spot and just kind of turn around a circle and everything's right there. Right there. fingertip.

Ethan Waldman 21:10

And and is that is Sarge. Is it diesel or gas?

Stefanie Wenceslao 21:14

It is diesel. He is a 2007. Chevy Duramax 6.6 liter. turbo engine.

Ethan Waldman 21:24

Okay, diesel.

Nice. And did you? Did you shop for the bus first and then have it converted?

Stefanie Wenceslao 21:31

I did not. The whole the bus, the build, everything was all part of the whole package.

Ethan Waldman 21:37


Stefanie Wenceslao 21:38

I did not pick the bus. But I do know that. There are opinions out there that there are two buses that are sought after. And the one I have is one of them.

Ethan Waldman 21:49

And what are those two buses?

Stefanie Wenceslao 21:51

The one that I have? Yeah, I can't think of the other. The other one is a Ford. So there's one that's thought sought after that's a Ford. And the other one that's thought after is the Chevy Duramax that I have. So I can't tell you right now off the top my head what the other one is.

Ethan Waldman 22:04

And why is it that that that yours is sought after?

Stefanie Wenceslao 22:08

The engine and then also as the that they can go like and they honestly say this they can go a million miles. You know, they're made, you know, they're made to carry precious cargo.

Ethan Waldman 22:22

Yeah, yeah.

Stefanie Wenceslao 22:23

And so they were maintenanced and they were built to to carry the that precious cargo backing to and from, and they said that these engines, these, these buses can go a million miles. So I'm only at about 166,000.

Ethan Waldman 22:40

So you have a lot of trips.

Stefanie Wenceslao 22:41

I'm told that it will last me.

Ethan Waldman 22:42

You have a lot more trips to take.

Stefanie Wenceslao 22:44

I do. I do have a lot more trips. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 22:48

So in terms of of actually like sleeping in the bus and living in it. Have you been? What kinds of locations have you been have you been doing kind of under the radar using iOverlander or you've been going like... Where have you been going?

Stefanie Wenceslao 23:02

Okay, a lot of times my friends, like the ones that I've met, they elicit they say, "Hey, we want to go to Joshua Tree want to go?" like, hey, we might go to so they've been selecting where we go. Yeah. And I'm just like, Absolutely. I'm all in and everyone has pretty much said, Hey, we're gonna go here want to go want to go. So I haven't actually used iOverlander. But I will say that I wanted to try out to see how stealthy I could be here, just here in San Diego. So I have gone and just like kind of like, just pulled in quietly, you know, maybe around 10 o'clock at night, just pulled into a parking spot on the street. And, you know, I know my neighborhood. I know, I know this area. I've been here a long time. So I'm like, their areas. I know that I could probably do it. So I have I go there and I just like just go in and just leave early in the morning and just just be real stealth about it. And I did get a knock one time because someone told me and it was on iOverlander as well. You can stay at this 24-Hour Fitness in their parking lot. So I decided, "Okay, I'm gonna try it." But I had this gut feeling like, I'm gonna get it knock.

Ethan Waldman 24:16


Stefanie Wenceslao 24:17

So I did it.

Ethan Waldman 24:18

You got the dreaded knock.

Stefanie Wenceslao 24:19

I got the knock. Yeah. And I was like, I told the officer, I said, "Listen, I just got my bus. And you know what, I live here. I'm localized. And I'm just trying it out and trying to see what I can't and can't do." They're like, "We don't care. But someone complained so we have to say something, but we don't care. You know what you can go over there and you can park."

Ethan Waldman 24:38

Yeah, yeah. Well, that's good to know that that yeah, iOverlander which, for those who who don't know is like a kind of community-generated mapping resource where people can submit places where you can can camp in your vehicle and of course, it's it's all you know, your mileage may vary. If someone else might have gotten away with sleeping in the 24 Hour Fitness parking lot, but someone else might not have.

Stefanie Wenceslao 25:06

Exactly so take it with a grain of salt. You know, even like, over here, yes, the island, you know, it has signs up that say, you know, they're closed at 10. And they open back up at four in the morning. Well, when I drove my bus back after picking it up, I'm like, "I don't know, I just want to try it. I want to stay I want to try." And we were able to stay and no issue but then someone asked me Oh, you say if yes. And they said, Yes, I go. But you know, there are signs up. They got a ticket. So Oh, yeah. Like I think it was like, either it was like 42 or $52. Like a fine. So yeah, it's it's not like exact. It's not like a like, Absolutely. Everybody can stay here at every you know, right location within I letters like it might not always work.

Ethan Waldman 25:58

Yeah. Doesn't always work out.

Stefanie Wenceslao 26:00


Ethan Waldman 26:01

Now, I saw on your Instagram recently, a photo of delivery driver dropping off a Starlink box. Do you have Starlink in your bus? And how does it work?

Stefanie Wenceslao 26:15

Okay, I hate to disappoint you.

Ethan Waldman 26:17


Stefanie Wenceslao 26:19

Okay, so I decided to get it. And I thought, You know what, I'm going to need this, you know, because when I get that remote job, I'm going to need this. I need to

Ethan Waldman 26:27


Stefanie Wenceslao 26:27

to be able to have the internet, you know, remotely. So I ordered it. But after I ordered it. I noticed a lot of the the group, the groups on Facebook, a lot of people are saying that it's they're still working out the kinks, and especially the customer service. There is no ... No one cares, no one to call, you send an email, and you might get a response maybe a week or week and a half later. So they're they're kind of like the the gurus of what's going on because they all have the Starlink. And so I heard a lot of I want to say negative things, but like things that just didn't sit right with me. So I actually just sent it back. I sent it back. Yeah, I sent it back. I don't, yeah, I don't have the remote job that I needed just yet. And then also too, I just went and bumped up my hotspot, now I have 100 gigabytes in it for hotspot. So I'm gonna give that a try before I go back to Starlink, and also to the Starlink RV. I'm I'm not sure if I'm understanding this correctly, but there's a priority or a hierarchy. And like businesses get, you know, the service first. And then it's homeowners, or residential. And then I think it's residential with RV, and then RV. So, you know, if, if the signal is a lot of people are using the internet, you know, it kind of like you're kind of like the bottom of the totem pole. And I don't want to risk that I don't want to chance that so like if I'm, you know, my job is remote. So I decided to send it back. I know and I just I thought about maybe I should take that. That reel down. Because people ask me like, "Oh, yeah, let me know." I'm like, "Well, I decided to send it back is just because of the reviews." And maybe it needs to be out a little bit longer maybe you know until it gets some customer service that can actually handle the calls.

Ethan Waldman 28:28

Yeah, yeah. Well, that's you know, the hotspot is a very viable option, especially if you're, you know, going places not like off the grid.

Stefanie Wenceslao 28:40

Right. Right.

Ethan Waldman 28:41

Speaking of Off The Grid is your van like fully discharged fully equipped for off grid living?

Stefanie Wenceslao 28:47

Absolutely. Absolutely. Yep. I have two solar panels at top up top and they power everything except for my cooktop, which is gas and then my hot water heater so so on demand hot water. That's propane. So I have a 12 and a half gallon tank of propane. That powers that and then everything else is the off of electric solar and I have 800 watts of solar and I have two batteries that are 400 amps. So I am I am completely off grid as long as I have the internet there's nothing holding me back and my freshwater tank is a 75 gallon tank and then my gray water is 55 gallons. So I am good to go.

Ethan Waldman 29:34

You know you can carry it at all. You don't even have to hook up to to anything for 55 gallons.

Stefanie Wenceslao 29:40

No, I do not.

Ethan Waldman 29:43

And so how long did it take when you were like, "I want to do this," and then you decided you've you ordered the bus. How long did it take from like when you kind of jumped on it to when it was done being built?

Stefanie Wenceslao 29:59

I think about six months.

Ethan Waldman 30:00


Stefanie Wenceslao 30:01

I've always been wanting to do this, you know, look at like for years. And then when I decided, You know what, I really want to do this. So then I took six months to really, really, really focused on planning and preparing for the bus to get the bus. And then once the bus was here, I'm leaving my job. So I, I've been I had like, planned for like six months. And I have myself till the end of next year, I can live comfortably and allow myself to find the next chapter of the net, the next thing that I'm going to do in the next chapter of my life, and so I've been planning and preparing so I would say a good six months.

Ethan Waldman 30:44

Nice. Alright, so not not so not so bad. And what was the total cost of your of your bus like the with bus and conversion?

Stefanie Wenceslao 30:52

Okay, so the bus was $10,000. Labor was $30k. And then all the materials and every single thing in it, paint, wood, everything, every piece about another $30k. So it cost me about $70k.

Ethan Waldman 31:10

Nice and you but I mean that's like fully equipped for off grid. So that's quite a bit of equipment.

Stefanie Wenceslao 31:15

Well equipped, just needing the... You know with Starlink, if I had added that, you know, that would have cost me about $700. And then like, you know, monthly, like $135, the RV version of it. But now that I just have hotspots, you know, I don't have that xpense.

Ethan Waldman 31:31

Yeah, yeah. Well, one thing that I like to ask all of my guests is what are what are two or three resources that have helped you along on your, on your tiny or skoolie journey that you that you'd like to share and recommend to our listeners?

Stefanie Wenceslao 31:45

Boy, definitely, the resources are definitely YouTube. Clearly, there isn't anything that you can't find on YouTube. Everyone is out there sharing how they built their vans and built their ambulances and their buses and their RVs. Everyone is sharing everything, how to install a gray water tank, how to do your solar panels, how to do your electrical, installing everything, it's all out there. And Instagram. Definitely a huge resource. I, again, anything that you want to find you're going to find it. And if you're focused and you're determined to find it, you will find it. And the community out there again, I I'm not kidding. They're so helpful. Anything that I've ever asked, you know, hey, what about this? And like, oh, yeah, did you check into this? Do you look into that. And then Facebook, there's so many groups, like I've got, I've got, I'm in several groups, there's one like there are singles. There's whether just females that are skoolies. And there are skoolie nation there's there's so many there are so many out there. And they're all willing to help they want to hear your stories they want to, they want to share like, Hey, who's all going you know, to? I can think of like, like, say who's going to Skooliepalooza who is going to this event and then you know, then you meet up and then you like, and you get to know these people that you know, you're just friends with in these groups. But yet, there's a meet up, let's go. And then you meet them. And then now you have these new friends and then you can go traveling with him and just you're just expanding that whole huge community or tribe of yours of like minded people. And it's those are amazing resources. Amazing.

Ethan Waldman 33:40

Fantastic. Well, Stefanie with Skoolie Vibes, thank you so much for being a guest on the show today. This was really fun.

Stefanie Wenceslao 33:46

Yeah, thank you, Ethan. I'm really really glad that you reached out to me. I've never done a podcast before.

Ethan Waldman 33:50

Well, now you've done one.

Stefanie Wenceslao 33:52

Yes, I have.

Ethan Waldman 33:55

Thank you so much to Stefanie from Skoolie Vibes for being a guest on the show today. You can find links to Stefanie's YouTube channel, a complete transcript and some photos of Sarge over at the show notes page for this episode. That would be Again, that's Well, that is all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.

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