In 2015, I wanted to change up my life, stop living a cookie cutter life, and head out on the road. The solution was to buy a school bus and convert it into my full-time home. Believe it or not, the bus I bought was the first bus I saw online.
Navi and me have now had the opportunity to have 4.5 years living full-time on the road hitting every state in the contiguous US and most of Canada. I hope to have many more years on the road.
Check Out Written or Video Tour.
Interior Sq. Ft.
Type of Home:
212 sq. ft.
Check out the Video Tour
Navigation Nowhere Specs:
2004 Thomas Freightliner FS2
Allison 2000 Transmission
37 ft. long bumper-to-bumper
11’5” Exterior Height
28ft Inside length (Rear of Driver Seat to Rear Wall)
6’4” inside height
3/4 bathroom w/ Natures Head composting toilet
Sleeps 6 in beds
6 ft. custom dining room table
2 Full couches with flip out twin bed
2 foldable dedicated work spaces
130 gallon fresh water tank
100 gallon grey water tank
29 gallon propane tank
Residential 120v 10.4 cubic ft. Refrigerator
Dometic a/c 15,000 BTU w/Easy Start
Full Size residential oven
Excel instant hot water heater
480 watts of solar
480 amp/hr AGM batteries
3000 watt pure sine wave inverter
8 ft. of exterior storage boxes
8 ft. x 10 ft. rooftop deck
2000 Watt on board back up generator
The Navigation Nowhere bus was built in 2015 by Michael Fuehrer, family, and friends. The bus is a 35-foot, 2004 Thomas Freightliner converted school bus. After completion, the bus was named ‘Navi’, which is short for Navigation. Navi was home to Michael for over 4.5 years till he recently moved out to begin a new adventure in a mini school bus that will begin being built in May 2020.
Over the past few years, Navi and Michael have traveled over 150,000 miles; hitting every corner of North America, but Hawaii. Michael said, the only reason Hawaii wasn’t checked off the list was because he heard, “buses don’t float well.”
Navi was designed by Michael Fuehrer, the founder of Navigation Nowhere, after a road trip he took back in college. During this trip, while he was exploring the Pacific North West, he was inspired by Craftsman Style houses. What really caught his eye was the mix between clean lines, historical character, wood, and a natural color pallet. It was very important to Michael to try to find the right balance between a woodsy craftsman cabin and modern design.
Inside the bus, the majority of the wood is white cedar, left naturally stained, matched against the darker olive-ish green kitchen cabinets. The juxtopistion between the wood, green and white accent plays nicely against the clean lines of the galley style designed bus.
This bus offers 212-square-feet of living space in total. The interior spacing is 26' long by 7'6" wide and has an interior head room of 6' 4" at the center. (The interior length is measuerd from the back of the driver seat to the back wall). The exterior, including the bus nose, measures 37' x 7' 6" wide. Navi is a unique bus because although, Michael is the only full-time resident, it is equipped with sleeping space for 6, a full tiled shower [with a composting toilet], ample storage space for guests, 120 gallons of fresh water, a fully off grid solar system, full size kitchen and two foldable home office desks.
As you first walk into the bus, you enter the living, dining, and guest room. The two couches, which are built against the exterior walls on both sides, open to have full size storage inside. Also, the couches fold open toward the center of the bus to create a full width spare bed. The bed can be either folded out half way for one guest or completely open to accomidate more guests. Under the driver side couch there is a 6 ft. dining room table that pulls out, which makes it possible to have 8 people sitting around the table for a dinner party or game night. The living area also has a built in surround sound system for hanging out with friends or background music while cooking. The living area is desinged to be as mulitfunctional as possible for whoever comes over to visit.
Moving past the living room toward the back of the bus, you enter into the full size kitchen. Yes, that is right a full size kitchen inside a school bus! This kitchen is defintly the focus of the bus and is equipped with all residential sized appliances. The kitchen has a full size deep Elkay sink, a full size 4 burner oven, floor to ceiling pantry, and 10.4 cubic foot fridge. The kitchen was designed with the function and space to create and produce community. Over the past few years, Michael has had multiple potlucks dinners and even hosted thanksgiving the Florida Keys with friends from all over the country.
The hallway of the bus past the kitchen has two doors on the left and right side. The one side opens into a full size closet for the main occupant of the bus. While the other side has a full size bathroom with a 32 x 32 inch shower and Natures Head toilet. The bathroom is a wet bath style, which makes for easy cleaning and space saving. One question that Michael says he always gets about the bathroom, “Is that tile real in your bathroom?!” Michael always jokes, “Yes it’s real tile. 150,000 miles later and I have not lost one yet.”
The backroom of the bus is the main bedroom, but also acts as an office and tv room. The bedroom can be set up where the bed takes up the whole rear room by folding out; in a similar fashion of the front couhces. However, when the couches are setup, two desks can be folded out of the wall and the ‘bedroom’ can quickly turn into a fully functional office. The moviable monitor that is mounted to the wall can either but used as a double monitor when working or as a tv when laying in bed or sitting on the couch. Deep storage lies behind the rear wall which is only accesable from the exterior rear door of the bus.
The inside of the bus is defiently where most of the function is located in the bus, but the exterior has its own hidden secrets which really adds to Navi’s charm. Next to the front door there is a fold down table which can be used for outdoor cooking or a work station for jobs around the bus. The passanger side of the bus also has underbody storage boxes that total over 7’ long x 2.5’ tall and 2.5’ deep. This space is ideal for storing tools and outdoor gear that you would normally not want inside your home. As you move around the rear of the bus, the old bus emergency door as been converted into a garage door which, when opened, reveals a floor to ceiling “closet”. Michael calls this space his garage. Inside the garage, Michael stores his main tools, solar compnetants and batteries as well as extra engine and mechanical parts.
Probably the coolest part of the bus is the 8’ x 10’ roof top deck. This deck is made using cedar deck boards for the deck and side boards. The deck is attached to the roof of the bus by bolting through the roof into plates which were welded into place early on in the conversion process. One unique feature of the deck is the removable piece which reveals a skyligjht located in the interior hallway. The reason why the deck needed to be removalbe is becaue the skylight needed to be centered in the hallway but the deck was designed to be 8’ x 10’, which would cover the skylights location. To solve this issue, Michael simply made the deck full size and created a hidden hatch in the floor boards which, when parked, can be removed to allow full natural light into the hallway and rear of the bus.
Underneath the bus Navi holds a 130 gallon fresh water tank, 100 gallon gray water tank, 100 gallon diesel tank, 29.3 gallon propane tank, and 8 feet of storage boxes underneath. This bus was made to sustain off-grid indefinitely!
The best part of the living the buslife and designing your own home is that through the months of building, countless floorplan designs, and moments of existential crisis its all worth it when you get the chance to sit in the stillness of the wild or with the road community at large.
Thanks for checking out my tour!