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  • Writer's pictureTina Lambert

Skoolie Life at Its Best: Mobility, Adventure, AND Early Retirement

Mark and Billie are a young couple who travel and work from their self-renovated skoolie they have dubbed ‘Topo the Adventure Bus,’ a 28-foot International they’ve been living in for about a year. They chose this lifestyle to work towards paying down their debt and to push towards early retirement.

“The whole purpose behind doing everything we’re doing was just to get rid of all our debt, save up tons of money, and become financially independent. Maybe one day in the next couple years, we won’t be working anymore!”

Tiny Living Supports Financial Freedom

The couple crafted a custom dash area for holding their iPad for use for navigation, listening to music, or watching movies. Above the dash is an entertainment area with a large, securely mounted TV and speaker system so that they can enjoy movies on a bigger screen. At the time of filming, they utilized a weBoost, a WiFiRanger, and an AT&T MoFi card for internet, enabling them to work from anywhere.

In the living area, their couch transforms into a full-size bed with extra storage underneath, and they installed a huge window to let in light and enjoy the beautiful vistas. They also DIY’d a beautiful Cherry live edge desktop using Tennessee wood from his father. This exquisite his/her desk space is amazing! A tiny wood stove with a granite hearth and a cubby for wood is their primary heat source. They have good insulation, so it works well.

Family and Friends are an Integral Part of Any Build

The kitchen is large and beautiful, with plenty of storage space. White accents and tile and gray cabinet fronts give it a very airy, clean feeling. In addition, they have a 12-volt fridge, a three-burner propane stove, a full-size kitchen sink, and a water filtration system. They drove all the way from Colorado to Florida so that dad, a cabinet maker, could help with the build! They couldn’t be happier with his amazing craftsmanship.

Their 80-gallon water tank is built right into a section under the step up to their bedroom and bathroom. The roof raise gave them the luxury of just building it in. The beautiful Cherry live edge countertop is carried into the bathroom and holds a nice-sized sink.

In their bedroom, they have a queen-size memory foam mattress, a mini-split for heat and air, a pull-out tv, and even more storage. Billie’s favorite part, though, is a skylight that allows them to climb out onto the roof for amazing sunsets!

Enjoying Life on the Road is What it’s all About

Mark designed the bus’ garage space for his bikes; a pull-out drawer under the bed works well for this. They shored up the frame to install a back deck to carry their adventure bikes.

Their adventures have given them a sense of freedom that can only come from seeing what they’ve worked so hard for come to fruition. They have saved tons of money while still being able to travel, and retirement is on the horizon!

Watch their full Tiny Home Tour here:

Follow their adventure on Instagram: @topobus

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