When they realised they were spending a ridiculous amount of money on their monthly rent, this family decided to downscale drastically.
Liezel Jooste and her husband, Jacques, swopped their luxurious four-bedroom Durban home, which had a pool and huge grounds, for a 32-seater bus, which they now call home.
The couple has spent the past few months renovating the bus into a cosy home. They’ve kitted it out with bunks beds, a compost toilet, and a section big enough for guests to visit.
“The nice thing about doing it yourself is you can work with what you want, so if you want a bigger kitchen, you can build a bigger kitchen, if you want a bigger bed, you can build a bigger bed,” Liezel tells us.
Trading their comfortable house to live in a bus wasn’t a decision they took lightly. Four years ago, the couple, both tattoo artists, moved from Brits to Durban to open their own tattoo studio but “we were never really at home because we spent most of the time in the studio”, she says.
Liezel (41) says she and Jacques (42) started looking at ways to scale down after realising they spend hardly any time at home. “We’d go home to eat, clean up and sleep. We started wondering why we are spending so much money on rent, it got to a point where it just really didn’t make sense.”
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The couple and their kids, Colby (17) and Calisra (12), first moved into a two-bedroom flat before purchasing a caravan, which they lived in for two years. “We bought a caravan because we knew we couldn’t get a bus immediately as they are quite costly in South Africa,” Liezel says.
Then, at the beginning of this year, the family struck it lucky when they managed to trade in their Jeep Cherokee for a bus at an old-age home.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions the old age home couldn’t use their bus for outings anymore and were looking for something smaller to transport their seniors. They also sold their caravan to buy the bus.
Three weeks ago, the Joostes finally moved into their new home. The bus, which is two metres wide and eight metres long, is parked outside their tattoo studio's parking area in Durban while they get the last renovations done.
Because their parking area is secluded, the Jooste’s have managed to maintain their privacy. They do, however, plan on purchasing curtains for when they hit the road.
“The only thing that’s left to do is the plumbing and gas,” Liezel says, adding that they use their studios facilities to brush their teeth and freshen up.
“We’re saving a huge amount because at the end of the day, we plan to have the bus completely off-grid so we’re going to set it up with solar panels.”
Though most kids their age would cringe at the idea of living with their parents in such a confined space, Colby and Calisra are both onboard with their unconventional home.
“They were involved with the decision-making from day one,” Liezel says. “We’ve raised our children to be open-minded, we’ve also taught them that you try everything once before you say you do or don’t like it. And now can actually give them more of the things they want because our costs are less.”
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But what about privacy? The kids’ bunk beds will be fitted with a door or curtain making each a tiny room, or pod. They also have a room divider that doubles as a door for the bathroom, or to separate the front from the main bedroom area.
The couple also have a scooter that they use to drop the kids off at school. “The amazing thing about this lifestyle is the closeness we have as a family unit.”
The Joostes are now looking forward to monthly savings, stress-free lives, and long road trips. “We learnt the more stuff you have in your life, the more stress you actually have because there’s more you’ve got to maintain,” Liezel says.
“But you actually need very little to survive and be happy.”