The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & Round Across The U.S.


Angelina Offin, Staff Writer

Jamie Stout and her boyfriend, Keagan Gay, bought a school bus and are currently working on renovating it so they can travel across the United States. Their goal is to leave in late August or early September to travel the country and try and hit every state before she goes to college the year after. There are a lot of details that are considered when it comes to making a decision like this. Stout was interviewed with some questions to get a look into what the process looks like.


What made you decide to do this and was it a hard decision to make? Also, what inspired you to travel the U.S. in a bus?

“We had been talking about the whole van life craze just in passing and how fun it would be over quarantine. Then it became a Pinterest board. Then some research was done about vans versus busses and how much work the whole process was. There wasn’t really a definitive point where a decision was made. Keagan and I would just keep talking about it and I would bring it up to my parents to see how they felt, and eventually eased them into the idea over time. Once they were completely on board, we went full force and before we knew it, we had a bus!”


Once you knew you wanted to, where did you look for a bus and why did you pick a bus over a van?

“Believe it or not, buses tend to be way cheaper than vans so for two kids like us who are doing our best to save money, it was a no brainer. They also have way more space! We reached out to a few of the school districts nearby to see if they were selling any, we randomly met a diesel mechanic who sells busses and we almost bought one from him, but we ended up, after tons of research, using It’s a website where any corporation or larger entity can auction off their old products. School districts sell buses and gyms sell old equipment, etc. It is random for what gets put up for auction, so we kept an eye out for a few months until our bus was put up for auction. It was in Arizona but it was exactly what we were looking for with size, engine, and mileage so we put a bid on it and got it!”


What does the renovation process look like and how did you go about it? How did you plan it all out and what exactly are you putting into the bus and where are you at in the process?

“A lot of the inspiration came from Instagram and Pinterest, of course. The actual layout, design, and construction of everything is the less glamorous, more difficult side of things, especially the electrical system. But how we started going about it was first with demolition of everything inside. All the seats and walls and insulation had to be ripped out and disposed of. Then we started peeling off all the stickers and reflective tape to paint it, which we just finished this weekend with a few more details tomorrow. The next step is salvaging a passenger seat from either somewhere online or an RV wrecking yard. From there we’re going to put in flooring, new insulation, and new walls and ceiling. After that starts the construction of things like a bed, countertop and cabinets, a couch that is storage and a bed, etc. then the tougher stuff like water and electric, then the fun stuff like decorating! One of the most helpful things we’ve seen is taping out where everything will be on the floor plan to really see how it goes. One of the things we’re most excited about is the toilet. My parents got it for us for Christmas and we can’t wait to put it in! But to clarify all of that, inside we’re putting a bed, a kitchen, a bar instead of a table, a storage couch that turns into a bed for more people, a small restroom of some kind, a solar electrical system, a water system, and a pull-out pantry.”


Do you have your route mapped out yet of where you are going to stop? And are there any places you definitely want to visit? Also, what are you planning on doing most days, like hiking, just exploring, or other activities?

“Keagan’s family planned a Disney World vacation so we’re going to drive down to Florida first to meet them there. Then from there to get home for the holidays we’re going to travel along the south and western states. Then heading out after the holidays we’re going through the northern states and down the east coast, so we’re trying to hit every state! We’re definitely going to spend a lot of time in national parks, so yes lots of adventuring and hiking. We’re also really excited to explore big cities and small towns to really experience what life is like in every state and how it compares to life in Washington. There will also be lots of driving!”


Lastly, what are you most nervous about when it comes to doing this and what are you most excited about?

“I’m the most nervous about the budgeting and saving enough money for gas, but I am so excited about the adventure and possibility that this opportunity holds!”

If you want to see updates of Jamie and Keagan’s bus adventures, follow Jamie on Instagram @jamie.nicole.s