Blog,  My Skoolie Conversion

My Skoolie Conversion: Truman The Toilet

Now that I have nearly completed the conversion of Bubba the Bus; I’m not going to lie; there have been challenges, trials, errors, countless bruises, scrapes, and cuts. I have spills, miscuts, miscalculations, good ideas that didn’t work and unexpected solutions that did. Both Bubba and I have some permanent scars and dings–that give us character and memories, that will last into the future.

With only about 60 days left until I depart on my next big adventure, I often find myself contemplating the entire process; from that first train ride a year ago, to where I am now; preparing to live fulltime on the road, in a short bus.

The hardest part for me has been figuring out the ‘actual how-to‘ of converting the bus. I am not an architect or carpenter; and until this project, the only tools I owned were a screwdriver, velcro and zip ties—the latter may not be considered tools, but, I owned them, so they count. They were tucked neatly into my pink leopard toolbox, along with a wine/beer opener, REI Super Socks, an extra pair of shoelaces and a pack of Big Red gum. Not only was I a little unprepared on the tool side of the equation; I woefully underestimated how much work it was going to be, despite my many friends who said things like, “Wow, that is going to be a LOT of work.

I’ve heard it said that everything is hard until you know how to do it, a more apt cliche, may not exist.

Once I had removed the seats and carpet–no easy task itself; I inflated an air mattress and put it in the back of the bus, where I would light a candle, look around the bare walls and dangling wires and will the Universe to provide me with an idea of what to do next. Sometimes it took a long while for the idea to come into my mind, sometimes, the ideas flew in so fast, I had to quickly jot them down, for fear of missing them.

One of my biggest challenges was the toilet; which for me, was not an option, but a necessity. I had hoped to get a Separett or an Airhead Composting toilet; however, the price tag is about $1000.00 and it was out of my immediate budget. I thought about running a crowdfunding campaign for one; but, then got stumped on potential awards for such support. What do I offer? An opportunity to sit on the Royal Crapper? A Scratch N Sniff sticker?  T-Shirt? And what would the shirt say? Live, Laugh, Poop….Have A Nice Poop. Or maybe I could get a celebrity to bless–or anoint–the toilette. (I think they’d call it a toilette).

Ultimately, I made a compromise. I reached back into my childhood, years spent on Indian land with no electricity or running water—and obviously, no indoor plumbing. And I decided to build a toilet, like we had back then.

To be sure, it is an old school composting toilet, complete with sawdust and a urine diverter. Kind of like a cat box.

The benefits are obvious. It doesn’t use water or electricity, it is easy maintenance, eco-friendly and there is no plumbing required. The toilet itself feels like a real toilet–the seat is awesome and it sits off the floor–(16″ to be exact.) And all I needed was a Costco laundry detergent bucket and one-gallon milk jugs.

I still have to stain, paint or finish him….(and it is a him)–but, I think he will work beautifully; which is more than I can say for other men in my life.

So as for my new and amazing toilet–(I think I will name him Truman; it works on so many levels); like my men; I live, I learn and eventually I upgrade—but, it is a fun ride until then.


Go forth



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