A family of eight have sold their £200k suburban house to start a bottomless road trip – spending £500k converting a £100k double decker bus into a luxury mobile home complete with six sleeping pods, a master bedroom, two bathrooms and a rooftop cinema. Dane Eyerly, 35, and his wife Deena Eyerly, 32, were driving home with their children Colette, nine, Roman, eight, Abraham, seven, Evelyn, four, and twins Hyde and Wade, three, after 15 days on the road in July 2020 when they made the “mad” decision to quit their conventional lives and relaunch as nomads.
Leaving his well-paid job as head of operations at an insurance technology start-up, in August 2020 Dane, with the help of Deena, a stay at home mum, found a 2009 Van Hool TD925 bus, which they bought and spent 20 months converting into a “dream home on wheels.” Dane who describes how they had an “ongoing yard sale,” of their possessions before selling their home in Dallas, Texas, USA, in May 2021, said: “In the next two years we are going to live more than we’ve ever lived and see so much more than we’ve ever seen.
“We’re so excited that we’re going to wake up in different scenery every day. We want to spend at least two weeks in each state of the USA, which will be amazing.”
He added: “Our kids will get to see and experience America in such a different light. We’ve heard about how great America is, but we have barely seen it. We want to experience all the different food, the culture, the diversity and everything about America.
“Most importantly, we want to do this all with our kids as a family.” And there will be no scrimping and saving on this road trip, aboard their stylish megabus.
Dane is working remotely as a business consultant as they travel, so he can meet their overheads, which they estimate will be at least £4k-a-month. Aware that it is a big change for their children to leave the 18,000 square foot four bed home where they grew up, every effort has been made by Dane and Deena to meet their needs.
Dane said: “We’d lived in that house for five years and it’s where all our children grew up, so it was a big decision. My extended family, everyone was really supportive of our decision. They knew the plan when we bought the bus.
“We’re so excited now to be following through with our plans. This is the most important journey we will be taking as a family.”
It was the staggering beauty of the Capulin Volcano in New Mexico, which they saw in July 2020, as they drove back from their 15-day road trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, that finally inspired them to completely change their lives. Not wanting to waste any time, once they were back in their car they started looking up trailers and buses online.
Recalling the eureka moment, Dane said: “This all came about while we were on a road trip in our van and we were rushing home to my job. I was just looking around the car and everyone was so happy. Really, it was the happiest we’d ever been. We didn’t want it to end.
“We’d been chasing money for years, but we suddenly realised that it was spending time with family that made us happy. We talked and said, ‘Why don’t we do this more?’ We didn’t need to be chained to a desk.
“It was time for us to put the emphasis on family.” So, spotting the bus online, they collected it in September 2021 from Los Angeles, California, before stripping it and rebuilding it to their specifications – which took roughly 20 months and cost more than half a million pounds.
Dane said: “The moment I saw the bus on the website, I knew it was exactly what we wanted. It needed to be completely stripped, apart from the six bunks. It was just a shell.
“We have spent more than £500k on it. We went so over budget I just stopped counting!” He added: “But looking at it now, we are so happy with how it has turned out.”
The bus is fitted with six sleeping pods, which were already built in as it was once a “hotel on wheels,” which had gone bust during the pandemic, but can sleep up to 10 people comfortably. There are two bathrooms and a shower, a full kitchen with an oven and induction stove, a washer dryer, a fridge and a freezer and plenty of storage space.
The cockpit of the vehicle also converts into an office. But the real treat is on the roof, where they have set up a deck on which they can watch movies using a projector and screen.
Dane said: “Every day I wake up and think this is all a bit mad and a bit crazy.” He added: “It’s not conventional by any means, but it feels right.
“We knew that every space on the bus needed to be multifunctional and we designed it so that there is a computer monitor at the front that can become an office. We want to be able to enjoy our food together as a family, so we designed the kitchen to have a big table.”
He added: “And we knew we wanted the living spaces upstairs to be able to be messy for the kids, so they can have fun, but spacious enough for them to do school work. We absolutely love the design and look of it.”
While the whole family are super-excited by the prospect of seeing museums and national parks across the country, Dane said leaving everything behind has been more difficult than he anticipated. He says saying goodbye to friends was particularly tough, adding: “I do have some nerves and stress about it, but I feel a lot of excitement, too.
“We said goodbye to everyone here which was quite emotional, but we’re ready to get on the road. In May 2021, we packed up the family and sold our house in Texas and everything we owned.”
He added: “We had an estate sale and invited the public to buy everything. If anyone came in we’d tell them anything and everything was for sale. Everything else was donated to different charity shops.”
Now, while Dane will be working to fund their lifestyle, Deena will be home schooling their children. Dane said: “My wife will be handling all the schooling and she really will be working far more than I will. I will work for myself as I do business consulting.
“Deena’s really brilliant with the kids. I think with the way schooling became remote during the pandemic, we were able to figure things out a lot better, too.” The family expect to cover roughly 1,000 miles and spend around £4k on their expenses every month over the next two years. They have not planned beyond that.
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Setting off today on June 1, they will first be driving 1,100 miles to Minnesota, before slowly working their way down south during the colder winter months. And while the road trip will be instructive – as they see stunning parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite – there will be lots of fun for the children, as Dane plans to stop by Legoland and Disneyland too.
He said: “We are trying to chase 20 degree weather, so we’ll keep driving towards hot weather and sunny places.” He added: “We have a road map that we are roughly following, based on weather patterns, as we want to be where there is nice weather.
“We’re going north to Minnesota now. We’re going to go the border with Canada in Alberta and will spend most of the summer there before going south. We’re big on national parks and there are 63 in the US, so we are going to try and see as many of them as we can.”
He continued: “I can’t wait to take my kids to Yellowstone and Yosemite. And on the east coast the dry Tortuga national park. We’re out to have fun, so we’ll be visiting amusement parks and our kids are excited about Legoland, Six Flags and Disney parks.
“It’s just a giant adventure and we’re hoping it will never end!” You can follow the family’s journey on Instagram and TikTok @doubledeckerfam and on YouTube on Double Decker Family.