A Minnesota couple converted a 1992 school bus into an RV to travel around the country with their son and dog - see inside 'Fern'

  • Minnesota-based Mande and Ben Tucker have converted a 1992 school bus into a tiny home on wheels to travel around the country with their one-year-old son Sawyer and eight-year-old dog Penny Lane.
  • The bus is a 1992 International 3800 School Bus outfitted with a Ward Body, and the couple converted the bus themselves over the span of almost seven months.
  • The family travels part-time - from weekends to month-long trips - while still maintaining their full-time jobs.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Minnesota-based Mande and Ben Tucker converted a 1992 school bus into a tiny home on wheels to travel around the country with their one-year-old son Sawyer and eight-year-old dog Penny Lane.

Mande, a second-grade school teacher, and Ben, who works on boats, decided to embark on their bus conversion and travel journey in order to leave their daily routine while still being able to work full-time in Minnesota. And so far, it's paid off: the family has traveled thousands of miles since the start of their bus conversion journey, from Canada to South Dakota to Wyoming.
Advertisement
"We knew there was so much unbelievable beauty and solitude to be found out there…so many fascinating people to meet and stories to exchange, and we wanted more of it," the couple said in a statement.

The couple also said that their bus - named "Fern" - is the "perfect balance of being a large and spacious home, while also being maneuverable and compact enough to take us almost anywhere." They used YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram to source inspiration for their build and completed the Fern conversion in about seven months, even through a Michigan winter, while still maintaining full-time jobs.

The family is now building another bus with the hopes of selling its first one. Keep scrolling to see Fern, which keeps the family of four traveling on the road while gaining them over 117,000 Instagram followers:
Advertisement

{{}}

The 24-foot long bus is a 1992 International 3800 School Bus outfitted with a Ward Body that was purchased with the iconic bright yellow school bus paint still on it.

The 24-foot long bus is a 1992 International 3800 School Bus outfitted with a Ward Body that was purchased with the iconic bright yellow school bus paint still on it.

The bus was initially in use for 25 years, but only during the summer. Therefore, Fern didn't suffer any wear and tear or rust damage from wintertime use during its previous life.

Fern's name was inspired by "Charlotte's Web", a book that Mande was reading to her second grade students at the time.

Fern's name was inspired by "Charlotte's Web", a book that Mande was reading to her second grade students at the time.
Advertisement

Ben —who had converted and lived on a bus prior to Fern — focused primarily on the electrical, plumbing, and carpentry of the bus while Mande worked on the interior design, upholstery, and decor. The couple claims said in a statement that doing their own conversion helped them save money.

Ben —who had converted and lived on a bus prior to Fern — focused primarily on the electrical, plumbing, and carpentry of the bus while Mande worked on the interior design, upholstery, and decor. The couple claims said in a statement that doing their own conversion helped them save money.

The couple tore down and rebuilt parts of the interior multiple times as their plans for the inside of their tiny home on wheels progressed throughout the building process.

The couple tore down and rebuilt parts of the interior multiple times as their plans for the inside of their tiny home on wheels progressed throughout the building process.
Advertisement

The RV has a five-speed manual transmission and is powered by a 7.3-liter indirect injection diesel engine.

The RV has a five-speed manual transmission and is powered by a 7.3-liter indirect injection diesel engine.

“[We] were both super impressed by each other’s hustle to get everything done no matter what it took,” the couple said in a statement. “We certainly didn’t go into this project having every skill mastered, but we were open and willing to learn and try constantly to overcome obstacles along the way.”

“[We] were both super impressed by each other’s hustle to get everything done no matter what it took,” the couple said in a statement. “We certainly didn’t go into this project having every skill mastered, but we were open and willing to learn and try constantly to overcome obstacles along the way.”
Advertisement

The Tucker family's bus trips last anywhere between a weekend to a few weeks, but the family can live in Fern for several months at a time.

The Tucker family's bus trips last anywhere between a weekend to a few weeks, but the family can live in Fern for several months at a time.

The couple said in a statement that they appreciate how bus life has forced them to downsize and minimize their belongings.

The couple said in a statement that they appreciate how bus life has forced them to downsize and minimize their belongings.
Advertisement

They describe Fern as feeling like an "open, airy, calming, [and] natural" cottage.

They describe Fern as feeling like an "open, airy, calming, [and] natural" cottage.

The couple wanted to keep the interior uncluttered and clean, and the walls were purposefully painted white to make the space seem more open.

The couple wanted to keep the interior uncluttered and clean, and the walls were purposefully painted white to make the space seem more open.
Advertisement

The interior height is six feet tall, and the couple retained all of the windows in the bus to allow any natural sunlight to flood in when possible.

The interior height is six feet tall, and the couple retained all of the windows in the bus to allow any natural sunlight to flood in when possible.

The countertops are butcher block and the cabinets are made of poplar wood. The floors are also real Acacia wood.

The countertops are butcher block and the cabinets are made of poplar wood. The floors are also real Acacia wood.
Advertisement

There is a 25-gallon freshwater and grey water tank system. A liquid petroleum gas tank is used for the oven, stove, and hot water heater.

There is a 25-gallon freshwater and grey water tank system. A liquid petroleum gas tank is used for the oven, stove, and hot water heater.

The rooftop deck allows for a lounging and hammock space, as well as an extra storage room for their paddleboards and bikes. Fern also has an outdoor shower that can supply hot water.

The rooftop deck allows for a lounging and hammock space, as well as an extra storage room for their paddleboards and bikes. Fern also has an outdoor shower that can supply hot water.
Advertisement

The 12 and 120-volt electricity systems and inverters power the family's onboard entertainment systems and vent fan.

The 12 and 120-volt electricity systems and inverters power the family's onboard entertainment systems and vent fan.