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  • Writer's pictureTina Lambert

No Prior Building Experience Bus Conversion

Mark is a self-proclaimed "not super handyman," yet he built himself an absolutely beautiful home in his short bus. He is a gentle man who has loved stepping out of his comfort zone while enjoying his travels. Mark Dudley is lucky enough to live and travel with his dog, Maggie. The inspiration for his bus renovations came from a table he crafted from an ash slab, epoxied, and then incorporated rainforest-themed items into. There’s even a little frog peeking out of a crack in the table! Mark shares that he originally wanted to build a traditional tiny house on wheels, but after researching, fell in love with the mobility of a skoolie and the ease of travel.

Themes Can Bring You Joy

Mark loves the calm, peaceful vibe of bamboo and knew he wanted to incorporate real bamboo in his build. He was able to do this by using it as a divider between the living space and other areas. He also incorporated bamboo into the ceiling as well as the cabinet doors, making the whole inside of the build warm and inviting. His rustic, rainforest theme is carried throughout the build in the colorful wildlife paintings both inside and outside the bus.

Mark saved space in his skoolie by opting out of putting in a traditional bedroom. He simply lowers the table between the bench seating (with the help of hydraulics), then pulls the connecting frame out from under the couch and, voilá, a bed suitable for a king or Tarzan!!

Mark’s kitchen is epoxied butcher block countertops with an exquisite Mexican hammered copper sink that really sets off the kitchen space. He DIY’d special pull-out doors on the lower cabinets to allow him to have 50 gallons of fresh water under the sink. He cooks with a two-burner propane stove and has a backup electric hotplate.

Road Travel and Tiny Living Are Food for the Soul

“I’m horrible at building, I suck at it . . . If I can do this bus, you can, too!”

It took Mark two years to complete his build, but he learned along the way and, through trial and error, got it done.

The back of his bus has a divider that allows him some privacy for using the composting toilet or even just hiding from Maggie to have a secret snack. Atop Mark’s build, he has 800w of solar power that folds away when he’s traveling on the freeway.

Mark didn’t know from one minute to the next how his project would look. He just trusted the process. He loves his skoolie and wishes he had begun this lifestyle 40 years ago because “There’s a whole world of possibilities, and I’m looking forward to that!” This experience has given him such a sense of satisfaction and pride in his own work, as well as the knowledge that he really CAN do anything he sets his mind to.

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