‘Our converted bus will be the stuff of dreams’

Converting a bus to be a grey nomad

Every grey nomad Big Lap starts with a dream. Sometimes the dream can be sparked by a TV show highlighting the beauty of the Outback, sometimes it can be sparked by a cold, rainy spell of weather, and sometimes it can be sparked by a particularly bad day at work.

In Brian George’s case, it was sparked by his job. As a professional coach driver, Brian was keenly aware of the various sorts of buses on the road … and then he started to fantasise about what his dream rig would be if he were ever in a position to join the ranks of the lucky long-term travellers he passed on the roads every day.

That germ of an idea has since grown and flourished as Brian and his wife Rhyllis move closer to retirement. Indeed, the Tasmanian couple are now on the verge of buying a used tour coach with the idea of slowly converting it into a recreational vehicle that will enable them to live the dream.

“We are at this point reasonably sure of the vehicle we will purchase,” said Brian. “It will have a car carrier trailer which will become an additional living area.”

The Georges estimate they will spend a minimum of two years converting the coach before spending a year or two taking shorter trips and then heading off on the ‘big one’ after retirement.

Brian is looking for a secondhand tour coach as opposed to a school bus as it has space for underfloor luggage storage that can be converted into black and grey water tanks and hold things like pumps.

“If we can get it right we will have a liveable space of 36’x7.5’, plus an additional 12’x7’ as the trailer will be used for additional space when not travelling,” he said. “We plan to complete most of the work ourselves as a labour of love, but will call in a gas fitter, plumber, electrician and solar fitter when needed.”

Brian says most older used coaches will have done well in excess of 500,000 kilometres and will require some reconditioning work.

“We have not put a limit on a budget as my research tells me that meeting a budget with such a project is nigh on impossible,” he said. “We are aware it’s a massive job but we are confident we will get there … and that it will be worth it!”


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