I’m Nicole and ‘Stella’ is my 1973 VW Bus. I named my bus Stella after an adventurous friend of mine, who has the very same nickname.

It took three years of restoration to get my VW Bus to this point. Persistence and patience is definitely key! The owner before me used it for drag racing; so, after a ton of mechanical issues, an engine replacement was eventually needed. I saved up for the bus working a corporate sales job of two years. Since then, I  have lived minimally and done everything from surf instruction to waiting tables to keep Stella going. It hasn’t been easy; but, I’ve learned a lot and I am thankful for the experiences.

I now live out of my bus and travel to surf spots and national parks. I figure that when I’m older, I’d love to recount these moments; so, I started a YouTube channel to document the experience. I certainly still have a ton to learn, but thankfully I’ve got the green manual and dummy’s guide to help!



I told myself that it will be easier to travel when I’m young, while I have less obligations and better health. I’ve been wanting to explore the national parks for many years now and this year is the first time I’ve been able to do that.

Traveling in a bus allows me to have everything I need within an arms reach. I set my sights on a bus after going on a long weekend bus trip with two friends to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was encouraging to see another girl who proved to me that this is actually possible. I was hooked on the idea and set Craigslist alerts for the surrounding areas. About 6 months after, I found a bus. It was scary handing over most of my savings, but I knew that this was my chance to get a bus. I continued to save up, did the needed repairs and rebuilt the bus back up from bare metal. It’s not perfect but I love it. It reminds me that challenges are a part of life and that how you react to them is a huge part of the outcome. The BusLife has its challenges but I can’t help but to smile when driving the bus. Being in a bus cheers me up even on the hard days.


What does the BusLife mean to you?

BusLife means embracing the challenges of life. It means being okay and problem solving from right where I am. It means having courage over fear. It means embracing community and learning to discern and trust genuine kindness.

What are the biggest advantages and challenges of living the BusLife?

Peace signs, smiles, and an abundant array of adventure stories are the great advantages. I’ve been helped by strangers so many times; it reminds me of how we can all help each other out and make this world a better place. There’s something about being in a VW Bus that makes you so approachable — this can be both good and bad. You kind of stand out from other folks, which makes overnight parking a bit more of a challenge. You do get so many cool conversations out of having a bus and make friends most places you go. The first two weeks are the hardest, after you become used to life in a bus, things become familiar and better.

Tell us your favourite destination, that you have traveled to so far?

I love Big Bend National Park in Texas. I got to go downhill in neutral so many times going through that park that it felt like a roller coaster. The views are incredible and being in wide open spaces is so refreshing. People there are super friendly and I managed to find first come, first serve camping. National park camping without cell reception is the best way to recharge.

What’s your favorite thing about your VW Bus?

My favorite thing about my VW Bus is the little front corner windows. I angle them far out and live for that cool breeze. The funneled air is like having the AC blasting at you — so refreshing!

What advice would you give to anyone starting an adventure in a VW Bus?

Everything will work out somehow and someway. Don’t sweat the details of getting somewhere at a certain time or place — it takes the fun out of it and leaves you frustrated and stressed. Embrace life in the slow lane and live simply. You will need a lot less than you think. You will not want to carry excess stuff; by the end of the first month, you’ll have a pile of stuff, that you don’t use, to get rid of. Try to minimize and innovate to save space. Two in a bus is very tight; communication is key. Life on the road is not for everyone; it’s honestly really hard. It takes a stubborn willingness to deal with whatever comes your way to make it as a VW Bus traveler. Oh, and always carry a container of oil and some tools. You will definitely need them!

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