Saskatoon

They lost their jobs and found Gus the Bus. Then they turned the bus into home

Logan Fedoriuk and Brooke Perry of Saskatoon live in Gus the Bus, a converted wheelchair-accessible van that houses all their belongings.

Logan Fedoriuk and Brooke Perry moved to B.C. for the experiences, but didn't have the time until they got Gus

Gus the Bus is in Saskatoon now, but its origins with Logan Fedoriuk and Brooke Perry are in B.C. (Determined Life Adventures/Facebook)

When Logan Fedoriuk sold his Saskatoon condominium to move to Vancouver Island with his partner Brooke Perry, it wasn't in their plans to buy a minibus and turn it into a home.

Nor was it in their plans to return home to Saskatoon to live the following year.

But here they are, the proud owners of a converted wheelchair-accessible van that houses all their belongings — and boasts a rooftop deck — and that's currently parked on Perry's mother's driveway in Saskatoon.

The 23-year-olds' journey started with a conversation Fedoriuk and Perry had last summer about packing up and moving to a new province, but the bus didn't come about until a few quirks of fate changed everything.

Moving to the coast

"We really loved B.C. and we eventually wanted to move there. So we decided to take the plunge," Perry told CBC.

Fedoriuk, a welder by trade, found a construction job on Vancouver Island and they started looking for a place to live. But with two dogs, they weren't able to find an apartment.

Not deterred, they improvised and bought an RV to get them to B.C.

This RV only survived half of their trip to Vancouver Island. (Determined Life Adventures/Facebook)

Then the RV broke down in Golden. Fedoriuk and Perry were forced back to the drawing board, loading their belongings into a U-Haul and finding a place to live on Vancouver Island.

For months, the two felt like they were sacrificing the time they would have spent exploring B.C. in order to work and afford to pay rent.

Then, in February, the couple was thrown another curveball — they were laid off from their construction jobs.

Feeling cheated by the RV breakdown, the couple decided to start browsing for livable vans in their area.

Their streak of hard luck seemed to flip around just a few days after the layoff when they found and bought a wheelchair bus in Squamish that a man had already started converting.

Perry said they saw the bus as a key to following their passion for a sustainable, low-budget and travel-friendly life.

"We realized that everyone our age is kind of under the same pressures of go to school, get a good job and get a house that you own and that sort of thing but that would kind of hold us down to one permanent location," she said.

Their choice fits into a growing trend of minimalist living, where people choose experiences over things. It comes with a purge of non-essentials and keeping only what you need.

Turning a bus into a home

After five weeks of working full-time on the bus, which they've since affectionately named Gus Bus, they were ready to move in.

While showing CBC around the bus, Perry said they built everything from the ground up — a stove that Fedoriuk welded himself; a bed with a pull-out table; plumbing for a sink they built — so they know how to fix and update their home as needed.

They have solar panels for power needs.

The couple took out the back panel of the bus and turned the rear into a bed/storage space. (Determined Life Adventures/Facebook)

Despite the small space, they've allocated traditional titles to different areas.

  • The bedroom - a bed at the back that has storage and doggie beds underneath.
  • The kitchen - burners, a sink and stove in the space between the driver's seat and the bed.
  • The living/dining room - a couch with a picture wall beside it and a pull-out table for meals.
  • The garage - the propane tank, jerry cans full of water for the sink and shower and other storage items at the back.
  • The deck - a wooden platform on top where the couple likes to drink coffee in the morning.

In their months in B.C., the couple fielded lots of questions from back home. Among them, where do they go to the bathroom? Answer: public facilities.

The low-budget life means they spend about $1,000 between them per month on things like food, phones, plates for the bus and health insurance.

Looking ahead

In the long run, they'd like to turn their passion for photography and creating longboards into an income source. They've launched social media profiles called "Determined Life Living" to inspire others.

The bedroom on the bus sits above plenty of storage space. (Emma Kramer-Rodger/CBC News)

"Lots of people are like 'I wish I could do that,' or 'I wish I could.' But really, this is our way to, like, follow our passions," Perry said.

Being responsible for everything they own in such a small space — and for refilling propane and water as they run out — has made both Perry and Fedoriuk more grateful for the things they own.

Perry said it's changed her mindset.

"We don't have all the distractions of an everyday house now, like a TV in every room or gaming systems or whatever. We just have what we need," she said.

Fedoriuk laughed as he looked around at the small space.

"We can't really buy anything else," he said.

Fedoriuk and Brooke Perry have named their bus-home Gus the Bus. (Emma Kramer-Rodger/CBC News)

They've since driven Gus the Bus back to Saskatoon to spend time with family. Fedoriuk has welding work.

While they use the facilities at other people's homes, they've been sleeping on the bus.

They're awaiting the inevitable cool weather before they pull Gus out and head back to B.C., just in time to get in some snowboarding.

with files from Emma Kramer-Rodger

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