A family of five who converted a 58-seat bus into a self-contained home to travel across Australia say ‘no plan is the best plan’ when it comes to living off the grid.
Rob and Peta Basile, their three children Indiana, 15, Santino, 12, and Angelo, 10, and their golden retriever Maple have been on the road for about eight months in their custom-built bus.
The 12.5-metre coach, which consumes 33 liters per 100 km, has a fridge, gas oven, cooktop, sink, washing machine and dryer, shower, bath, king-size bed, lounge area, air-conditioning unit, two flat-screen TVs. and huge storage units.
It also carries a 4.5-tonne trailer that carries several motorbikes and a Ford Everest for when they want to be nimble.
The Basile family (from left: Santino, 12, Rob, 40, Maple the golden retriever, Indiana, 15, Angelo, 10 and Peta) converted the kitchen area of a former 58-seater bus into a self-contained family home.
The coach, which consumes 33 liters per 100 km, has a fridge, gas oven, cooktop, shower, bath, king-size bed, lounge area, air-conditioning unit, two flat-screen TVs and a huge outdoor awning.
The family rented their Gold Coast home in November and traveled more than 10,000 kilometers across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, often with no idea where they would spend the night.
‘No plan is the best plan: every time we plan, something goes wrong,’ Rob, 40, told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We just hold it all the way through. We have nowhere to stay, so if the road is closed we will go the other way. We are completely self-sufficient.’
Basilis bought a second-hand, 58-seat 2001 Mercedes bus during the pandemic from a Sydney tour company that was looking to offload some vehicles.
Peta, a former sales manager, said they always dreamed of traveling the country as a family and wanted to do it when their elder Indiana was still young enough.
The couple has home-schooled their children for the past five years, so they had no worries about missing class time.
‘We got the bus to Brisbane and at first we thought, “What have we bought?” Peta said.
Every member of the family helped tear down the 58 seats of the coach
Lounge area tables drop down to create a cinema room (pictured).
‘ Rob it out. He spent several months getting all the seats and everything out of the luggage compartment and then we professionally built it inside.’
The custom build, which took about a year, was carried out by Gold Coast Campervans, a company specializing in small van and 4WD conversions.
Jack Watt, the firm’s director, said they had never faced such a large task and were initially intimidated by the ‘enormous task’.
‘Many of my staff were a bit overwhelmed by the size of the job but we broke it down into parts of the build and worked with Rob and Pete, who were fantastic, to make their dream a reality,’ he said. .
‘It’s definitely one of a kind.’
The bus is fully self-contained and its massive solar panels containing six 300-volt lithium batteries can keep them powered for two weeks.
The bus tows a 4.5 ton trailer that carries several motorbikes and a Ford Everest when they want to be flexible.
‘All the equipment inside is what you would find in a normal house: it has a fridge, gas oven, cooktop, toilet, bath, shower and king-size bed,’ explained Rob.
They try not to use caravan parks because they don’t need electricity or water: they just need a place to park the bus.
The parents sleep in a king-size bed in the back room, while the three children bunk in the middle of the bus.
However, the Bacillis are the first to admit that their trip across vast Australia didn’t get off to the best start.
‘The first day, we left the Gold Coast and there was a really bad smell so I pulled over on the side of the road and it was dark everywhere,’ Rob said.
The project was a true labor of love and took over a year to complete (pictured: Rob tearing out the old seats).
The bus has a king-size bed in the back of the bus where Rob and Peta sleep (pictured).
It also has a washing machine and dryer (pictured).
The bus’ 550 liter ‘black’ tank, which carries human waste, was split at the seams.
Two other tanks, for gray and clear water, suffered the same fate and they later suffered an ‘extremely expensive’ breakdown outside Melbourne where they were attending a wedding.
‘It hurt but it’s all part of the adventure,’ Peta said. ‘These things have been sent to us to examine.’
The family was blown away by the natural beauty of South Australia, where they traveled with another family for a month.
‘My favorite place is definitely Rapid Bay,’ Peta said.
‘We had planned to stay there for two nights, but there were seven of us. It was absolutely spectacular.’
A 12.5-meter wheelbase bus that guzzles 33 liters of diesel per 100 km
By far the family’s favorite place is Rapid Bay in South Australia
Rob and Peta claim that the best plan in life on the road is when there is no plan
They then traveled to south-west Queensland to attend the world’s most remote music festival, the Big Red Bash, with 30 friends and family to celebrate Rob’s 40th birthday.
Peta admit they ‘may still be in the honeymoon phase’ with life on the road but have no immediate plans to stop.
Maple is looking at the sunrise
Peta said, ‘Being together as a family is the best.
‘Of course we were always together at home but you were so busy. You’re still going to dance class, you’re still going to footy, doing this and that.
‘Our lives have been very fast paced so it’s been nice to relax and spend time together.’
Rob, who works in security, said he sometimes misses the place in a house.
‘But then we’ve got our own room, the kids have their own room, there’s the lounge area, we’ve got a huge canopy that we can sit under,’ she said.
And advice to consider a life on the road for their family?
‘Don’t wait. There are plenty of jobs out there. Just let it happen,’ Peta said.
‘Any small step towards the end goal is a step in the right direction.’
The Basile family bounced back after a bad start – involving a costly breakdown and a burst water tank – and traveled over 10,000km without intending to stop exploring.
Read Full News Here