Meet Mary Bell and her son Lukin, proudly standing at the door of one of the two buses which they love calling home. Mary and her husband Darren have lived in a ‘house bus’ for nearly five years, acquiring the first bus just a week before they were married then getting a second a while later. In that time they’ve had two sons, Lukin and Eli.
I met Mary and her son Lukin when I stopped to take a picture of their fantastic green house bus that I saw from the coast road as I drove through the small town of Granity, just north of Westport in New Zealand’s South Island. The spectacular location looks out over the Tasmin Sea and stands in front of a lush green mountain face that even includes a small waterfall and a fresh water spring.
Lukin proudly showed me inside the first bus, pointing out things I should take note of like the beds, his books and a large chair which he sat in then asked me to take a picture. According to Mary the bus, which is beautifully converted, has attracted a fair bit of attention from passers by over the years, including one man who recognised it as his old school bus. The second bus, which Mary and Lukin are pictured in front of, is also wonderfully converted and includes a small wood burner and new carpets which Mary was in the process of laying.
Darren, a professional snail hunter by trade, wasn’t a big fan of the buses and dreamed of building a house on their land, a dream that became a reality six months ago when building began. They’ve recently completed their new house and have just moved in, though Mary says the family is adjusting slowly to life in a conventional house, and often spend time in the buses which she told me will remain on the property as part of their home for many years to come.