Rita's story is similar to many of those adopting van life. After working a corporate job, she wanted to switch to a less hectic lifestyle that offered more freedom. She lived out of her two-door Jeep Wrangler with her two dogs for six months and eventually decided to move into a larger mobile home capable of towing her Jeep.
Rita painted the bus pink and made several other modifications to its exterior. After the original front door flung open while driving on the highway, she fitted a conventional door. There's also a tiny fold-up table she used to have in her Jeep.
In case you haven't noticed by now, this bus is full of personal touches that give it personality. For instance, Rita added many stickers from her travel on the vehicle's rear. Moreover, instead of fitting a metal ladder like most other campers, she opted for a more budget-friendly solution that still does its job. She drilled two bolts into the van's roof and fitted a rope ladder to get on top of the vehicle whenever she needed to work on the 400 W solar panels. Other notable exterior features include an improvised bike rack and a surfboard holder on the van's side.
Once you step inside the bus, you'll be taken aback by the amount of stuff inside. Before jumping to any conclusions, remember that Rita is an artist, and this is not only her home but also her workshop. And you know artists can be; they find their own order in chaos. The pink theme continues inside as Rita spray-painted the dashboard, steering wheel, and door. Just above the windshield, she devised an extra storage space that serves as a library and pantry.
The kitchen isn't that big, but Rita managed to fit all the essentials. Instead of installing a standard sink, Rita added a metal bucket with a two-gallon glass water dispenser. Furthermore, you'll notice racks with spices, a fruit hammock, and an overhead cabinet. For cooking, she uses a gas stovetop with a single burner.
Undoubtedly, the heart of this van is the art studio – it's the most important part of the bus for Rita, which motivated her to build this skoolie instead of continuing to live inside the Jeep. Given that what she paints varies, from small paintings to full-on murals, she requires lots of storage for her brushes, paint, and more. Rita added hooks around the studio, where she hangs color palettes, mugs, and other stuff.
You're probably expecting the bathroom to be located right across from the couch. And you'd be right, in a sense. Rita initially fitted a functioning shower and a toilet in there, but she eventually converted the area into a closet.
I bet some of you have already thought about how you could never live like this. But just as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, we all require different amounts of comfort. It's obvious that this pink bus and the lifestyle it offers are making Rita happy. Of course, the rig could use some upgrades here and there, but it's still impressive what Rita managed to create all by herself, spending a mere $9,000.