Not only was it a cool venture, but Majilé’s circumstances was such that it made sense, too!

Majilé, the face behind @gypsybuslady, is newish to the Skoolie
life, but with her kitty-cat, Sir Raisin (@sir_raisin), they are
building a beautiful home on the road!

Why did you choose this lifestyle?

Once I stumbled upon the #buslife, it seemed too cool not to give it a try. I love to travel, I’m single, my job is remote, my children are my plants and my cat and my life will never be this simple (for lack of a better word) and readily available for the nomadic lifestyle so I had to go for it.

What do you love about it?

I love the freedom! I love the ability to wake up anywhere and see some of the most beautiful places real time. I love the ability to always be meeting new people. I love the minimalism because it forces you to be creative.

What do you hate about it?

Right now, I’m in the process of building my Skoolie and this has been challenging! Not because the work is hard but because I’m so eager to get it done and move in but finding the time to do the work while working a 9 to 5 and maintaining a social life is a struggle!

I follow a ton of bus pages on Instagram and I watch their builds with a good jealously. I hate that I don’t have as much time as I’d like to commit to my build and I hate spending my own money. I’ve been saving for this but a $700 bill hurts every time when it’s your hard earned money.

How did you start this journey?

I was inspired by some posts on IG. It wasn’t long before I became obsessed with watching build videos on YouTube and started doing research on buses. For about a month, all that I did in my free time was watch build video and read Skoolie blogs. It was to the point that I was falling asleep on my couch every night because I don’t have a TV in my bedroom.

I realized that I had the physical and mental ability to do all of the work so I just went for it. I found a mid-sized bus in an online auction and after a week or so of bidding, I won! It started as a dream and then it became real once I purchased my bus.

What were the challenges you faced to get where you are today? Do you still face these challenges or are there new ones?

Initially finances were a bit of a challenge so I moved 70 miles south into a smaller apartment which saved me $700 per month on rent. The next challenge was finding a place to work on my bus. I live in an apartment and no one in my family wanted a big bus chilling in front of their house for a year and the townships don’t allow vehicles in the backyards. My parents ended up allowing me to park her at their house because they love me and
didn’t need all of the space in the driveway.

Getting a Skoolie registered as anyone can tell you is a challenge, especially in Jersey. I had to do a little work but she’s registered and insured. Working on this project alone has it’s challenging times but I’ve managed thus far. Sometimes it would be nice to have someone to even bounce ideas off of. The Skoolie community is great but every bus is so different that you can’t assume that what works for some will work for all.

Do you feel being female RV’ers/travelers poses a different scenario than being a male RV’er/traveler

I think that being a woman and literally doing anything poses a different scenario than being a man and doing the exact same thing. Just about every time I go to the hardware store, there’s someone mansplaining something to me, telling me that there’s no way that I’m converting a bus into a mobile home by myself or flat out hitting on me. Even on my Instagram page, there’s constantly some guy telling me to visit him when I get on the road. It’s weird and creepy! Men don’t deal with this; EVER! I understand that it may come as a surprise but the better response is “wow, that dope. Good
luck on your project.”

Who are your biggest supporters for this lifestyle?

My mom! She’s my biggest supporter in everything that I do. When Solstice (my Skoolie) was just an idea, my mom was the first person encouraging me to do it.

Even now, she’s parked at my parents house because I live in an apartment and needed somewhere to work on her. In those times where motivation is low and I can’t see an end in sight, my mom is there pushing me which has it pros and cons but overall she just wants to see me finish this thing.

If you could do it all again, would you?

I’ve barely even got started on this journey but thus far there are quite a few things that I would do differently if I could go back in time.

I spoke with one of my Skoolie friends and I joked about how I wish I had gone for a van instead and she told me that she had the same feeling during her build. I wouldn’t go for the van life just yet though because of Raisin. He’s small but cats need space to play,

Is there anything you would change?

  1. I would’ve used spray foam instead of polystyrene insulation. The poly took FOREVER to cut and install.
  2. I would’ve done my sub flooring in bigger pieces instead of a bunch of smaller pieces. I think this is one of the reasons why my final flooring is separating in some areas.
  3. I would’ve done a better job at planning my layout. I’ve been constantly changing my layout throughout this process and am still making changes currently.
  4. I would’ve physically toured a few Skoolie before starting my own just to get some more ideas.

Do you need to have a lot of money to do this?

The term “a lot” is relative. I plan to put about $20k into my bus. Overall, I think it’s more than worth it because that’s rent for 1 year! I’ve seen people do it for less but I didn’t want to compromise on too much just because I’m going tiny. If we’re being honest, most people are living paycheck to paycheck so something like this would not be possible without coming into
some money or making some MAJOR life changes.

How do you support yourself while on the road?

My current job is remote so as long as I have my laptop and internet, I can work from anywhere. I plan to continue with my current company as long as I can, until they fire me or until a better opportunity comes along. I would like to start some sort of business to have additional income without
having to sit at a computer for 8 hours a day while on the road but I haven’t quite figured that part out yet.

What would be your advice to those women who are looking to begin their journey as a solo female RV’er?

I can’t speak to life on the road just yet but I can speak to life in general. Be smart and listen to your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, you’re better off being safe now than sorry later. Don’t go into this thinking the worst because the law of attraction is real and the mind is a powerful thing BUT still be smart. I plan to have several layers of protection with me and
on my bus because there are some crazy folks out there.

How did you learn to drive an RV?

I work in construction. I’ve operated all types of equipment and driven all types of vehicles. I am confident in my ability to drive anything. The first time I drove a bus was when I picked up Solstice and I haven’t had an issue driving her since.

Any tips, tricks or hacks that you may be able to offer those who are just starting out?

As for your build, you’d be surprised by the things people are willing to give you if you ask. Not just help but tools, furniture, material, etc. Also, reach out to companies for sponsorship. Coming from a place where I saw how these companies work, they have budgets for sponsorship. Don’t be afraid to ask! The Skoolie community is great as well. People love sharing their
build and what they’ve done so tap into that.

Can someone message you if they have any questions about starting the RV/Van life?

Of course! I am an open book. One of my sponsorship cause an uprising in IG followers which meant a lot more comments and messages. I do my absolute best to respond to everyone!*

*If you have any questions for Maj or to follow her adventures, please visit her via Instagram @gypsybuslady and be sure to follow her cute kitty, Sir Raisin, @sir_raisin.