San Miguel has created its own unique Rich List, unearthing a group of 20 ‘life-rich’ individuals from across the globe who have unique, compelling and aspirational stories to tell. Valerie along with her partner Tim, transformed a Guatemalan school bus into an eco friendly hostel on wheels that brings together like minded people on unique trips that they’ll remember forever. After a successful crowd funding campaign, they began to transform the bus into an incredible space with beds, a kitchen, a living room and event a compost toilet. The Nomads Bus took its first bookings in July and has been pretty much full ever since travelling through some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes.
What made you decide to embark on this project? It sounds like something you’d see on Grand Designs!
It just kind of happened. We already wanted to convert the school bus into a house and we were travelling in Guatemala and at the same time we were thinking about starting at Hostel in Canada. Then I saw a video from ‘Tiny House quest from Powder’ which is from two pro skiers, Monique Baker and Zach Griffen and they turned a tiny house behind a trailer, they were travelling from one ski resort to another with their house. When I saw it, it was like an epiphany, having a house with wheels and travelling going to the mountains and doing what we love to do which is mainly skiing. We decided to go for it, it never felt like a risk, we just went for it.
What was your overall aim for The Nomads Bus?
I guess in general for us, that we love meeting people and helping people and guiding them with skiing and snowboarding and taking them on adventures. Sharing our life, I think whatever you do in life if you can share it with other people who are similar minded it makes everything so much more fun so we love that. Every part of this project, from crowd funding to building it has all been amazing.
Travelling is now such a big part of people’s lives but it also can cost a lot for people on a budget, does The Nomads Bus kill two birds with one stone in the sense that you’re able to travel in your own accommodation?
In one way yes, if we can keep travelling in our own accommodation which is what we would like to do. But I travelled straight out after high school, its not just seeing things. Me and Tim are the happiest when we are in the mountains or near the ocean, it’s a different state of mind. If I go back to the city I immediately feel that feeling of having to go places or make a schedule, we don’t like that. For us is mainly being about in regions where people are stoked and it’s a bonus that we can travel to places.
We are still not rich people and its never going to make us rich this project, every penny we earn goes back into the mechanic of the bus but in the mean time we get by and it’s a break even story.
Was the Nomads Bus born out of your own experiences of travel?
Definitely, I travelled a lot by myself and then I met Tim on the alps in France where he had been living for 10 years doing seasons as an area manager. When we met, we did a season together as ski instructors and then after that we travelled around the world for the next 2 years on a budget of 9 euros per day per person and our dog joined us. We really got to know ourselves during that trip with not a lot of money; we were hitch hiking every day or couch surfing. Its quite a challenge, and I think we really discovered what is most important to us in life, because when it is not about money any more you are really dependent on your own adventure, you really find yourself. We discovered what our real passions were, we always headed towards Mountains as they were our home whether in Spain or Mexico. We are good at cooking, teaching, photography and we love finding good places to put your tent, we always find these amazing spots somehow! That journey we took for 2 years made us ready for this challenge in life.
Has travelling always been a big part of your lives?
It has been. I had this urge to start travelling when I was 18 so I went to Canada, Australia and Europe – its not about seeing other cities but its more about the things you learn on the road and the adventure. I call it the University of the World for me. I think one day we will maybe settle somewhere in the Mountains but for now I have no idea what will happen.
Valerie & Tim are the latest individual discovered by San Miguel as part of its search for the San Miguel Rich List, a list of ‘life-rich’ individuals from across the globe who have unique, compelling, aspirational human stories. To find out more about the campaign, and discover other life-rich individuals, visit www.sanmiguel.co.uk/richlist