In 2015, we bought a beat-up 1976 Late Bay named Ruby and spent the next couple of years bringing her back to life. In the summer of 2019, we quit our jobs as teachers, rented out our home, and shipped Ruby to the US in search of adventure. Along the way, we rescued a kitten in DC, who we named Aimee. She was been traveling with us ever since.
Hey we are Lee & Willow
Our life mission is...
We originally planned on traveling for twelve months, seeing new landscapes and cultures. We had so much fun in the first couple of months, that we knew that we needed longer (There was just too much to see!) We hope to see much more of North America, before bringing Ruby back to the UK to continue exploring Europe.
Our best Buslife advice
1) Our Wallas diesel heater and cooker top. This thing is a lifesaver. It functions as both a heater and a cooker top. It takes up very little space and we don't have to carry gas onboard.
2) Our pop-top roof.
This provides us room to stand and also a larger sleeping area.
3) Our Dometic fridge. It has a fantastic capacity and is incredibly energy efficient. The temperatures in North America can be almost unbearable at times, so it is useful to have a fridge that also has a freezer compartment that can still function in high temperatures.
We didn't realise it before buying Ruby, but after buying a VW Bus, you instantly become apart of the global VW family. We have met so many wonderful Buslifers on our travel who have become lifelong friends and experienced things other travelers have not, purely for owning Ruby. Our favourite memory was when our windscreen exploded on the i10 in the US and the online Buslife community rallied together to get us back on the road. Our windscreen was fixed the same night, for free... and we were invited to a Volksgiving campout in a state park.
From our experience, it has to be rust. Especially if you are thinking about buying a VW Bus in a country like England. Ruby was pretty badly affected by rust and even after a lot of maintenance and repair work, we are still suffering on the road as a result. Definitely check all of the important areas for signs of rust. Don't make our mistake of viewing it in the dark. Go in the day, when you have good visibility to inspect all of the bodywork.
We tend to use phone apps to help us identify a suitable campspot. In North America, iOverlander has been a life saver! It has many recommended camp spots, shared by other travelers. Many spots have reviews and photos and it also works offline, which is great when you are somewhere a little more remote and in need of a spot. When we first started, we did use Google Maps satellite images, but we found these are often out of date and you can't see the 'Private Property' signs forbidding access to the incredible spot that you found. Wherever you are, if it doesn't feel right or safe, move on. Sleep is important and you don't want to spend the entire night worrying about your safety!
Be proactive with your vehicle maintenance. Some of our biggest problems have come from neglecting small issues, often because we've been caught up in a moment and having fun. These problems have escalated and become bigger problems. Costing us unnecessary time and money that we could have avoided if we had just dealt with it properly when we first noticed problems.