Tiny Home Tours

Taking The Leap Into Nomad Life with Parish Skoolie

November 29, 2023 Tiny Home Tours Season 3 Episode 12
Tiny Home Tours
Taking The Leap Into Nomad Life with Parish Skoolie
Show Notes Transcript

In this in-depth conversation, Amber & Eli of Parish Skoolie share their journey from transitioning into a nomadic lifestyle by living and working in a bus yard in Alice, Texas. They discuss overcoming the challenges of the bus conversion process, the importance of just taking the leap into an imperfect situation, and the lessons they've learned from their experiences. Listen as they share their insights on bus mechanics, the value of community, and their potential future plans for a mobile mechanic service. This interview is packed with practical advice and insights for anyone considering a nomadic lifestyle.

Click here for full Show Notes!

Follow Parish Skoolie on Instagram: @ParishSkoolie
Visit their YouTube channel: @ParishSkoolie
Check out Amber & Eli's TikTok: @ParishSkoolie
Visit their Facebook page: @ParishSkoolie

To reach out to Eli for mechanical advice & consulting visit:
@Asked_Eli on Instagram

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Taking The Leap Into Nomad Life with Parish Skoolie


Amber: Hi, I'm Amber.

Eli: I’m Eli.

Amber: We are the Parish Skoolie we are currently residing in Alice, Texas. 

Eli: We are living on a bus yard currently. We live on a bus dealership. So we live with about 115 buses. And we maintenance the property. It's kind of like work camping. Where we cut the grass and weedeat and fix pipes that bust and Answer phone calls.

Answer phone calls in exchange for rent. So it's worked out for us well for a little over two and a half years now. buT we are Actively seeking better opportunities. Yeah. As some say. 

Chris: Yeah. So how, how did that come about? Because it seems as though a lot of people that I know on the road, the in between from doing the traditional life to being on the road and kind of getting into this niche in this realm, there's always that in between where it's not the most perfect optimum situation, but you kind [00:01:00] of got to go through that middle ground.

To be on the other side. So if you can, can you let us know how that first came about? Like, how did this bus yard come about? Was this a situation where, you know, you wanted to get it done? This is an opportunity that you felt like, Hey, we'll just put our time and get it done. Like, how did this start?

Eli: So our bus, the transmission was going out. We had the Allison 545. We have a really high mileage bus with over 300, 000 miles. We 

Amber: were searching for a transmission and we ended up finding this guy who had a bus yard and he ended up having the perfect match for our motor. With a Eaton five speed manual and long story short, we worked for him for the summer and made friends with them and did the 

Eli: swap on his land.

Yeah. And after that found out he had three or four locations and all of them are unmanned. [00:02:00] So we offered our services. 

Chris: I think there's a couple of things there. One if anybody's listening to this podcast, they're looking at buses and it has the five, four, five. From what I understand and people I know in the industry, the 545 is typically the transmission that might not be the best suited for schoolie life.

That's, that's more for stop and go within a city. But if you're trying to go up and down hills, if you're trying to cruise down the highway, it might not be the the best transmission. So even before that, like when, when you were considering schoolie life, like backing up before that what was the process for you going from say a traditional life to getting a schoolie?

Like what, what was happening in your life then? And when, when did you take the leap? 

Eli: So I bought the bus myself before me and Amber were together. She was involved in the process the whole time, my only stipulation was price and I was looking for the cheapest bus.

And in Louisiana, we [00:03:00] still have owner operators, and there are a lot of old cats who prefer to own their own bus and contract out. And so I believe that's why this bus has so many miles, is because the owner of the bus was driving the bus its whole life. And he did all the maintenance. What pushed me to search for the bus is I was doing mission work in Central America, Nicaragua, and seeing these old buses.

Rated for 70 people with 140 people in them just ripping down these nasty roads 

Amber: Driving when they shouldn't be so it was surprising 

Eli: to see beat the hell buses that are just pulling every day with so many miles so many people in them and There was 1 point when a bus broke down and in the middle of a single lane road, and the whole, it seemed like the whole town got behind this [00:04:00] bus and pushed it off the road and helped it out.

And they spent a little while. Got it going again. And the whole bus of people got back on and took off. So that for me was. That was a retired bus from the States. So seeing it still being abused and still working, still chugging along on roads, it shouldn't be. I get mad at Louisiana roads are very bad.

And so whenever I hit a bad road, I get just so annoyed. And these roads in central America are, there's something else, man. And I couldn't imagine driving. A bus out there, but that's what seeing those buses out. There's what kind of triggered the The idea a lot of people's problems is Space to do the build experience to do the build And time to do the build.

I still lived with my parents until I was 25 So the bus stayed at my [00:05:00] parents. My dad did Construction and carpentry work. So we had all the tools, we had the land and I had the time. So it felt like all the boxes were checked. And so I pulled the trigger. I found this bus for 2, 300 bucks. Knew nothing about it.

Barely made it home, been through the whole engine in the last four years, injectors and injection pump. And I mean, everything you can name, we've touched it, 

Chris: trying to get it. I'm, I'm really curious if you did, cause I have a similar situation to where I bought a bus, I bought my bus for 3, 000 and then by the time I went through it and got everything road ready, I had spent a lot and I'd love your thoughts on the pros and cons of the knowledge that you've learned just in terms of the, I don't know if you fixed it yourself or if it was a situation going in and out of shops, but yeah, In [00:06:00] hindsight, do you wish you would have got, like, say you spent 8, 000 on a bus that went through, that's been through by a mechanic, and you just paid that money up front, or are you glad that you went through the process of learning the systems of getting the bus fixed and knowing now that you have new parts and new gear?

What are your thoughts on that? 

Eli: I am very happy. I did it myself. I am mechanically inclined. All of my dad's eight brothers are mechanics. My dad's the only one who chose not to be. And I've never personally been a mechanic for hire. But I've had about 35 vehicles over my life and we fixed them all. If we couldn't figure something out, we pick one of the eight brothers and get them over there.

Somebody knows. Somebody will fix it. Somebody will help us. But I'm very happy. I learned a lot about that motor even before this, the bus yard. Obviously I've learned a lot in two years at the bus yard, but [00:07:00] in the 2. 5 years it was sitting at my parents. Going through it my first diesel as well. So I learned a lot.

I learned a lot about diesels learned a lot about my setup. I know every bit of space under that hood the whole driveline from From the inner inner cool air intake to exhaust I know the whole bus because I worked on it 

Amber: yeah, definitely money wise too. Like I wouldn't I wouldn't have who's going to spend more money.

And even me not mechanically inclined. I, I enjoy learning all about it. I feel a lot more confident in my own vehicles. As a woman just watching Eli 

Eli: work. And so I think you're right as well. I think we're probably 2, 300 in the bus, maybe 5, 000 in mechanics. I think we're about the same 8, 000, 9, 000 just in a mechanically sound 

Chris: bus.

Yeah. And that's, that's something that [00:08:00] I think is a very important point because. You know, I, I just saw it the other day where somebody bought a bus at auction and they were driving it home and it broke down. Then you have the tow bill of a bus and you, cause I mean, again, like this, this lifestyle traveling around doing the nomadic lifestyle or living tiny, I, I absolutely love it.

It's not for everybody, but for those wanting to do it, it's like, yes, that's awesome that you're getting after it. Like you're getting it done. But when it comes to these buses, a lot of people don't realize how much an injection pump costs. They don't realize that diesel mechanics start out typically at 150 an hour.

Like, everything costs more. It's still a commercial vehicle. But I always mention that to people. We're like, well, I found this bus at auction for 2, 000. And I'm like, well, you do realize, like, if it's coming from a school district, it sounds like it's different there in Louisiana, but, you know, where I bought my bus from in Florida, for example um, the school district will get rid of a bus either because of the 15 year limit or it's a problem bus.

And sometimes if it's a [00:09:00] problem bus, they'll let it sit in the yard for three years before they auction it off just to get that 15 years in so they can trade that in for it or get credit for a new bus. They're like, yeah, come, come buy this bus. It's up for auction. And, you know, somebody comes to pick it up, they drive it home, they get two miles down the road and.

It breaks down, right? And then that's a whole other thing, but just, just the, the dichotomy of having the options or the skill base or family members with the skill base to possibly fix this. Buying it for 3, 000, yeah, you might get a deal on it, but if you paid the 8, 000 that had already been looked through depending on the mechanic that looked at it, you know, they can stand behind their product, and if something happens, you can take it back.

That is something that people really need to consider, because yeah, you can get it cheap, but really, you might be paying a lot more. Like with my bus, for example, I got it for 3, 000, and something I didn't realize at the time is the fact that school districts will Start harvesting parts off that bus, if it's sitting there.[00:10:00] 

And also they'll like say a tire's going bad on one of their buses that they're using right now, they'll just run out to the bus. That's it in the yard, grab the good tires off that and throw the junk tires on that. And then that goes off to auction, right? Like they don't care once, once it's auction, that's, that's buyer beware.

Yeah, just backing up a little bit more in context of the nomad lifestyle. So you mentioned that you saw the robustness of these buses and how they can be used for multiple purposes. But what was the catalyst for the nomad lifestyle living tiny converting a bus? Where, where did that come from?

How'd that come about? Not paying rent. 

Eli: I lived with my parents until I was married. Didn't pay any rent to them. And then, from getting married, we moved into the bus. So I'm still going 27 years with no rent. And Personally 

Amber: for me I was interested in, I was interested in the schoolie life and the nomad life and I was okay with my partner building a schoolie [00:11:00] because personally for me, I wanted to just see the world before I was not able to walk anymore.

Eli: And so I went bald at 19, and I had a back surgery at 19. And at 19, I was chasing money. I was doing, you know, everything I could to make as much money. I wanted a big house. I wanted all the things that is the stereotypical American dream, American You know, after seeing the world, not the whole world, but after seeing different parts of the world, countries, seeing how they live, seeing how happy they are I just gave it up, sold all my assets, bought the bus, dumped all my asset money into the bus, so essentially I do have all my eggs in one basket now, which It's a 

Amber: little scary, but technically you have two 

Eli: baskets now.

We do have a, we have a second bus now, which, as you mentioned. It's a short bus and they actually did rob the transmission out of it as it sat on the school [00:12:00] district's yard. So the bus only has 30, 000 miles, but has a rebuilt transmission in it because they robbed it. Um, 

Chris: It sounds sounds like the catalyst was. You know, you started the, the rat race, you started on the hamster wheel, and it's like, Ah, actually, this isn't quite, quite exactly worth it. Cause, you know, you mentioned going bald, back surgery, like wanting to get out and travel, like, like you said. What, what really strikes me a lot of times , you can put your eggs in one basket, you know, doing the typical thing and chasing, chasing the money, chasing the house, whatever it is.

But the way that I kind of looked at it is all my eggs were in the basket of, like, freedom and doing exactly what I wanted. And if that's where I put all my eggs in that basket, then I'm more than happy to take that risk. Because no matter what, no matter what risk you take, no matter what happens, we all end up in the same place, right?

Like, you end up not being able to walk, like you [00:13:00] mentioned, like, trying to save up for the golden years. And, you know, on the personal side for, for me, I mentioned in a, in an email, I have a family member going through some medical issues. You know, you can save your entire life and then something happens and then all of a sudden that savings means absolutely nothing where my eggs are in the basket of actually being able to take my tiny home somewhere and take a.

Six hour hike back to a beautiful fishing spot and set up a tent and be able to do that while I'm able to do it, right? Because I won't always be able to do it. I've had an injection in my back too because sciatica. Like I, I know how debilitating that can be, right? And there is no way that if I had to chronically go through that, there is no way I'm taking six hours back to a fishing spot.

It's just not happening. So it's being able to do it while you're aiming and enjoying it. And yeah, I will throw my eggs in that basket every single day to make that, make that a reality. So in, in terms of where you're at right now, you had [00:14:00] mentioned that you're currently at a bus yard. And I kind of want to dive a little bit deeper into that because.

It's that old thought process that everything has to be perfect before you take the leap. And this kind of goes into the eggs in one basket. Like, yeah, if you're going to throw your eggs in one basket, you want it to be perfect. For me personally, and a lot of people, everybody I know in the nomadic lifestyle, things were not perfect when they took the chance, when they started making it happen.

And right now you're in a situation where you, you mentioned before that, yeah, you, it's, you're, you're ready to do something else, but you're still climbing up that hill to make it work. So, in, in terms of that, what advice would you give for people when it comes to them going through the thought process where they have to make things perfect?

Like, it has to be perfect before they do it, but right now you're living through a situation from the sound of it to where things aren't exactly perfect, but they're probably [00:15:00] better than you anticipated. And maybe you have to get past that certain point, like just take action and figure it out as you go.

But have you had any lessons learned from that situation of not being in the perfect situation, but it's still working out? Has there been any insights or anything you've learned from that? 

Amber: I think, I think so. I mean, you learn a lot of lessons living in a bus. And if your, your main stipulation is it, it has to be perfect.

It has to be perfect. You'll, you'll never get there. You, you will always be waiting, waiting and waiting when I get this, when I get that. Oh, I can't wait for this to happen. I can't wait for that to happen. You'll, you'll always be waiting for that perfect moment. And then you'll, you'll turn around and Oh, And your whole life will be gone.

Eli: For me, I guess an example would be recently we did a 3, 000 mile trip. And so we're staying here at the bus yard. We had a date picked out to leave. And we're [00:16:00] struggling day by day to make it perfect. Make it finished. Make it perfect. Perfect's the right word. So, we spend all these days counting down our days, working every day to get it perfect.

And then we hit the road. On our 3, 000 mile journey and we figure out what we really needed versus what we did, you know, we didn't need that bookshelf. We needed the sink plumbed. We needed um, we didn't need those wires hidden. We needed, we needed them wired. Stuff like that. So waiting, it's never going to be perfect.

It's it's always going to be a 

Amber: work in progress and waiting, waiting for it to be perfect. We'll always. Put 

Eli: you behind. So I think the advice is to. To get out there and do it because during this day by day counting down working on this bus. We had a friend tell us the fire is not going to be lit underneath you until you're on the road.

You know, being here at the bus yard being [00:17:00] comfortable having. Eight toilets to choose from. It's comfortable, and so it's not gonna things aren't gonna happen until you do them until you get out the comfort zone. You got the fires got to be lit and you got to feel the heat to get the hell out of there.

Chris: Absolutely agree. My friend and business partner, Wes, he has a social transcend existence and he spent. A lot of time getting his bus perfect before he hit the road. And one of the poignant things that he said was like the people that just went out there and started traveling and things weren't perfect and they were just out there getting out there, having a great time meeting people, making connections.

And all the while he was back in Kansas trying to get his bus perfect, the paint had to be perfect, like you mentioned, the wiring had to be perfect, and he, he said he really regrets not, not doing that. Like he spent so much time trying to get it perfect [00:18:00] before he started traveling. One, one thing with that, like you mentioned the, the comfort of feeling like everything's perfect.

I'm really curious, when it came down to both of you, having the conversation of doing this, it sounds like you were both in line with... Potentially doing this type of lifestyle. Were there any conversations that, that you two had in the early stages? Because a lot of the inbound questions and a lot of the people that I talked to, they're, they're running into an issue where one partner is into the lifestyle or they're curious about it.

But the other is like, I'm not, I'm not using a composting toilet. Like that's, that's not part of my reality. You know, did you have any conversations like that? Or were you two so in line that this is something you wanted to do? That it was just smooth sailing.

Amber: I think we were pretty in line. He did start his bus journey before me. After I graduated college, I took off by myself and started [00:19:00] traveling in my truck and seeing family. And so I was kind of already traveling. And he came in his bus to New Mexico to pick me up and basically said, I actually want you to travel with me now.

And help me finish this bus. So that was basically our conversation into 

Eli: it. There are differences of opinion with you know, like the composting toilets are the, the layout, you know, the things, but the actual lifestyle, the nomadic lifestyle, the moving, living on the road, sleeping in Walmarts. We are pretty aligned with loving that, not loving Walmart parking lot, 

Chris: but loving it.

Yeah, I don't know anybody that necessarily loves the Walmart parking lot. That's like okay, I guess we got to get, we got to stay in a Walmart tonight. Just get it done. So in New Mexico, was the bus already built? No, okay, gotcha. So that's that leads into my next question. As a, as a [00:20:00] couple, figuring out the bus design and layout.

Was that something to where Eli you took that over? Or was it like you guys were so you did the design. So what was that process as a couple? Because for example, with with my design, It was all my layout. I built it myself. I was able to adjust things without having any other input. So it was just one person, one track mind.

Okay, this is, this is what we're doing. What was that process like for the both of you in terms of designing the bus and figuring out, you know, what's going to go where, how the design's going to work out?

Amber: It, it wasn't too bad. With the, the differing of opinions, I, Drew a lot of options on grid paper, gave him like a blueprint. To to look at and basically approve. I had a lot of ideas and we just kind of discussed like, what would work for us and what didn't. The biggest issue [00:21:00] in our bus is that we were not doing a roof raise and Eli is 6 foot.

So we could not put the shower, like, in the corner. I wanted him comfortable when he showered. So that eventually led to us doing a walk through shower, but I had, like, 20 options before we finally settled on, on one. 

Eli: This is where I was hung up. This is one of my hurdles, was designing it. I can build things, but I can't.

Think and design it in my head, right? So I, we did a lot of mechanic work. We take trips. We use the bus like a tent basically, you know, drive us. And then we slept on air mattress or we even had the mini split installed, but just ran on an extension cord. And so we did a lot of trips, just driving the bus, which I encourage.

Definitely. It helps to lay out. 

Amber: Yeah, it does. People say don't live in, in your bus unfinished, [00:22:00] but in, in certain aspects, it's, it's helpful. You can. Living in unfinished and see what you would 

Eli: rather and see if you like it before you don't twenty more thousand dollars into it Yeah, you can see if you'd like being on the road.

You like driving a bus. It's stressful driving a bus My first three years driving that bus my knuckles were white on the steering wheel Gripping it. I did not enjoy driving the bus for quite some time quite a few thousand miles Yeah, 

Chris: I definitely agree with that. So a couple points number one People will always say, they'll always have opinions, they'll always tell you how you're doing it wrong and how you should do X, Y, and Z.

What really matters is what works for you. But I, I absolutely agree. I was blessed to have a couple camper vans at Class A before the bus design. So I had a little bit of an idea, but yeah, like just getting out there and seeing if you enjoy the road. I always suggest people like go on Outdoorsy, like you don't have to drive [00:23:00] a bus.

Like just find something on Outdoorsy, a stationary school bus, and just... Live in it for a couple days and see if it's something that you want to do because it seems to me, and I don't know how true this is, but it seems like people feel as though if they get on the road, their problems are going to disappear.

You know, it's like the, the, the road is, is going to solve all their problems. All it is. At least from what I've seen is your problems follow you just living in a smaller space and they might be presented to you in a different way. Right? And secondary. Yes, I'm the exact same when it comes to driving the bus.

I remember I flew out to Florida to pick it up. And white knuckle, like hitting curbs. Like it was, it was a mess trying to drive the bus for the first time. And then when I got a tow car, it was the same thing. Super nervous, always wondering what's going on with the tow car is going to catch on fire. But eventually you get to the point to where it's just like, it's not like driving every other car.

It's not that, but you feel as comfortable as if you're just jumping in, you know, little Honda element and just bouncing around [00:24:00] town. You learn the turns, you learn everything. It is a process. And I think it is something people shouldn't take lightly, especially if they're going to get a 30, 35, 40 foot bus, like it's going to be different.

There's going to be a learning curve. You're going to be nervous when you start, start driving this thing. When it comes down to the actual build process any insights, gleaned, anything that you learned from the build process, just in terms of doing it yourself. Any positives, any negatives, anything that you learned throughout that process that would be pertinent for people that are considering a school bus.

Amber: think the negative, per se, is you will never do something just once. We were always doing it twice. Even when you think you had it, you would, you would try and stick it in your bus and they would need some sort of adjustment. 

Eli: I tell people a lot, I estimate I've made about 3, 000 in mistakes. Yeah, 

Amber: just, what is expensive?

Eli: [00:25:00] am a tradesman. I'm a handyman. I'm a problem solver. And that's what I pitch. You have to be a problem solver to live this lifestyle because problems are always arising. So if you're the kind of person that, you know, has a problem in your face and you shut down, it's not the lifestyle for you. I've worked with a lot of tools and the bus build has challenged a lot of my skills with these tools.

So even with hours of experience behind a skill saw and a welding machine. It's still not easy. It's still challenging. It's still, there's still a learning curve. Getting plywood to go through the metal rib is not easy. Self tappers, you know, how many self tappers we broke, how many drill bits we've been through.

Even, you know, spending two days trying to get that skin off the ceiling before you realize the right tool to use, it's it's the [00:26:00] challenges. Yeah, 

Amber: There's a learning curve and

gotta be persistent, I 

Chris: think. Yeah, having, having the little, little insights. I don't know if you all used an air hammer to get that skin off the roof, but that. Yeah, 

Eli: it was an electric one. Yeah, that was 

Amber: the final tool. We spent two days with, with drill bits. Drill bits, 

Eli: grinders, chisels. That was awful.

And then dad walks out with a, it wasn't an air hammer, it was an electric one. But he walks out with this thing. He's like, Hey, try this. And it's in two hours, two hours. We had the rest of the panels off and that we spent a whole day doing two panels. 

Chris: So I got incredibly lucky with, with mine. I just happened to go to one of the Facebook groups, Schoolie Planet or something.

And somebody had literally posted a video [00:27:00] three or four days before I was getting ready to start demoing my bus. And they had an air hammer. And just, they would, and what, what we're talking about here, contextual for people, buses are essentially held by rivets. Thomas has a little bit more of a Phillips heads, but a lot of the buses are just straight rivets.

You get a punch hole or a a spike air hammer. You widen out the rivets, then you come in with a flat bar and then just comes right off to where it is. Like, it's just like one after another to where Jim, the guy that was helping me do my roof raise. He used a hand chisel for every single rivet and he had a blue bird and he was like, he's like, I don't think that's going to work.

I was like, I think it will, Jim. And literally it was just like one after another. He's like, well, I definitely did my bus wrong. And it is the learning curves. It's the small little tips and tricks that will save you countless hours with these builds. And in terms of, [00:28:00] you know, taking the rivets off, I'm curious, you had mentioned that you didn't want to do a roof raised.

That's that's a lot of the questions that come. I feel like that's 1 of the forks in a road for a lot of people when they're considering a school. Do we want to do a roof raise if or do we not want to do a roof raise? What was your thought process on not doing a roof raise? And how is that in reality with your walkthrough shower and how the bus layout is now, especially now that you're six foot, how, how has that played out?

Eli: I did not have resources 2018. I was not searching Facebook for schooly groups. I wasn't, I was searching YouTube for tours to see the finished product. So I never. You know, got the little critiques, the little advices. I didn't have the community that is very helpful now. And so the roof raise was never even an option.

I actually used the inside of the skin from the ceiling [00:29:00] to cover half my windows. So, the Bluebird is the tallest, one of the taller buses, it's six foot, I think, two with the skin off, and so I fit, and my solution was to rob insulation from the floor, so our floor is not insulated well, but that gave me the height that I needed, and we are not a four season bus, we're a southern bus, so that's what plays into it I definitely see the value of a roof raise now, and we have this 2nd bus.

So if we do decide to convert this 1, instead of selling it, I will definitely be doing a roof raise just for the, I guess, the experience, the thrill of it, the, you know, we've been in roof raise buses and they are nice, you know, being able to, to read, to read, not hit your head. I don't hit my head much, you know, but um, It wasn't a consideration also [00:30:00] because we were trying to do it on a budget, a 15, 000 budget, which obviously we didn't hit.

We're at 30. But um, you know, with the roof raised, it's the additional skin, additional insulation, additional wood.

Time money just audit the roof raise automatically is a additional 5 10, 000, not just on the roof raise but the stuff 

Chris: in it. Yeah. And just like you said, with the wood was expensive, but if you do a roof raise that all of a sudden those cabinets. Get taller those uppers. There's more uppers. There's there's just more material in in general.

But it is a tricky Situation it was easier for me to do a roof raise because I was honestly even with you know wanting to build this bus for long term and have it for many years and you know this building it to be my Vehicle for a very long time. I was still on the fence But the, the one thing that really pushed me over was seeing a roof raised bus in person before the conversion, [00:31:00] that, that was a big thing.

And then also just, just kind of in, in my mind pulling the trigger and just being like, well. If this is going to be my long term vehicle, I'm just going to go ahead and get it done now. But thankfully I did have, like I was on the Facebook groups and talking to people with roof raises and asking them like, Hey, is it really that much of a difference?

And every single person is like, yeah, it's a pretty big difference. But in terms of the budget that you mentioned I always tell people it's going to cost twice as much as you think and take three times as long. Like that's, that's just the rule for, for schoolies. You think you're going to get done in six months?

Yeah, it's, it's going to be a year build. Good, good luck, bud. In terms of other aspects of the build, now that you have the bus living in it, feeling comfortable in it, what other aspects do you wish you would have changed with the build? Like what are the lessons learned that have come from your build?

If, if any. I 

Amber: would put the mini split in the back, but I think our. Our decision for [00:32:00] putting in the front was we didn't want to run so much copper piping. So again, it's. It was about budget, but I think that's my, my biggest thing. I want an AC in the back. 

Eli: We made a lot of amateur mistakes, you know, as I've mentioned first bus.

And in the years since I have done a RVTI technical training, which is very helpful. It shows you all your systems. It shows you safety. All the, all the things that an RV is built out of. And as well as that, tearing an RV down for a lot of our spare parts showed me how the systems work. So that was really beneficial.

Amber: I personally 

love our layout. Not everybody loves a galley layout. But I, I personally love it. It feels really open. I, I worked hard on our layout. I mean, we, we adjusted it like 20 times. So I'm happy with it. Windows is a thing. If you have the time and the money to close all your windows and put RV [00:33:00] windows, do it.

Eli's biggest mistake was closing all of the windows in the back and eventually 3 years later, we put 2 tiny RV windows in the bedroom and they are amazing to create a 

Eli: breeze. Yeah, I guess that was. Not a mistake, but something I would have changed. I kept the front five windows closed back six in and the A.

C. S. In the front. So it doesn't make it all the way to the back without a fan. And those windows, man, those they're not insulated, even taking half of them out. It still gets hot in the summer. We actually have mirror tint that reflects a lot of sun. That is helpful, yeah. And it, it reduced, I would say, maybe 20 percent arbitrarily.

But it's still not efficient. So I would close every single window in and just pop RV windows in where you see fit. 

Chris: Yeah, I mean, there's always [00:34:00] lessons learned. I mean, there's plenty of things that... I'm looking back at my design. Like, for example, just had to rip up my entire bed platform because I completely encapsulated 200 gallons of freshwater.

And one of the tanks, like the, the nub busted. So had to rip everything out, rip the floor out that was, you know, nailed in with liquid nails. Like it was not meant to come out. Like in my mind, it's like, yeah, water tanks are water tanks. Then it's going to happen to them. And then the bung actually ripped off on both of them, by the way.

So it's, it's just like. There, there are things that you just like think about like, Oh, no, that that'll be fine. There's, there's always going to be something like that. And I don't think anybody's immune to that. In terms of you know, you mentioned that the bus yard right now, what are your future plans like?

The bus yard, another six months, another year, then hit the road. Is it converting to mobile mechanic work? Is [00:35:00] it working online? Like what, what, what are your plans for the future?

Eli: So now we have a second bus and we have filled it up with, it's basically our shed. We have our extra tools. I have to motor, we have an extra motor for the bus and that's sitting in the second bus and.


Amber: plans are to work for this summer, and I have online work so I can, I can move anywhere, but after Eli makes some money this summer, we're We hope to to move on from the bus yard 

Eli: into the summer. We hopefully will be done with the bus yard. WE've learned a lot. We've driven every style type of bus, every motor type. I mean, the guy owns over 300 buses, and I mean, me and Amber alone have picked up maybe 12 to 20 buses from auction that he has purchased. So we have a ton [00:36:00] of bus experience.

I would like to utilize it. I have found a passion for the diesels. In 2021, I actually helped this guy cut up and dismantle 60 buses. So we took engines out, took drive the whole drive train, we took out and then scrapped the bus, and then we hopped online. I hopped online and, you know, sold these motors.

And so I've, I've really found a, a passion for the diesels. I've found a passion for being able to just peek under the hood or peek under the body and know what the whole drive line is on the bus. You know, I can spot the MD 30 60, the Allison 2000. I can tell if, if it has a Cummins, or if it's got a Caterpillar, I can tell if someone painted their Cummins yellow to fool you It's, it's been a great experience.

It is time to move on, and I hope to utilize that experience in the future, whether it's [00:37:00] turning this little bus into a mobile mechanic station, or To find a stationary work. My options, the options 

Amber: are open when you live in a 

Eli: bus. And we're actually actively searching for opportunity and we're able to search anywhere in the country.

Yeah. So we can drive to the best opportunity. 

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, just even the option of going to bus life event to bus life event and showing up and actually having the knowledge and skills. And it sounds like you have a secondary bus, the parts. To them hopping, because as you all know, I'm sure with that bus yard, there's always something like with, with, with my bus right now, like the, I mean, you might not be able to do it out in the middle of the desert, but just a thought experiment, my rear main seals going out and if I'm somewhere and somebody that has the knowledge and experience to replace that, or if it's injectors or if it's whatever it is, and you're at an event and somebody shows up [00:38:00] that that has that skill base.

There are tons of people, like for example, out in Quartzsite, just all of the different LTVA, long term visitor places, people need work done, all the schooly events, the options really are limitless, especially if, you know, the lack of mechanics out there right now, like Tony AAA Bus, he's doing pretty well, but he's always looking for, for good mechanics.

Like, there's just always a need for good mechanics. In terms of, you know, kind of wrapping up here, want to be conscious of your guys's time. We kind of alluded to it earlier, but being that You know, you're, you're getting it done. You're out on the road. You're figuring it out. Somebody that's 47 minutes into a podcast is obviously invested in their serious about considering this lifestyle.

What advice would you give them from your lessons learned, and this isn't people that you don't want to do the lifestyle, but they [00:39:00] have a family member they're taking care of, or they need to work a job to take care of their family. This is somebody that has the options and the availability to do it, but they just can't get over that hump of taking action.

What advice would you give them?

Amber: Pull the, pull the trigger. I mean, just, just do it. If you're waiting for something, something to tell you, we're telling you. Just, just go out and do it. There's, there's nothing that'll, I don't know, there's no sign from the universe that'll finally tell you, okay, you're ready. You, you gotta light your own fire.

And, I mean. You gotta be the person who, who works hard for what , you want in the world. 

Eli: And I tell people that it's a matter of when not if there you go, the bus is gonna break and problems are gonna arise. You have to, like I said, you have to be a problem solver.

And if that is, you pull the trigger. 'cause there's a lot of problems to be solved. 

Chris: Yep. [00:40:00] Nobody's gonna come save you. Don't, nobody's gonna be. That person that just gives you the green light and everything's good. I'm going to solve all your problems for you. It's like, no, it's absolutely on you.

Nobody's going to be there to save you. You just got to get it done. Well, I appreciate your all this time. If somebody wanted to keep up with you, touch base with you, if they have questions or if they need mechanic work, how would they reach out to you? 

Eli: So I have a Asked Eli page where I encourage you to fix it yourself.

I can talk to you on the phone, troubleshoot a problem, electrical, engine, bus life, but also our main page, the Parish Skoolie page, we also post there.

Amber: You can find us anywhere on Parish Skoolie, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Eli has his own personal page where he helps you do it yourself mechanics called Asked Eli. 

Chris: Thanks guys. 

Amber: Thank you, Chris.