It is a dreamlike feeling, Shanny Kirby stated, right before closing the wooden door to the creamsicle-coloured 2002 Bluebird bus that she and Karlen Janvier spent nine months renovating.
Before the Saskatoon-based couple met, they wanted to travel in a renovated bus. When they met, and Janvier revealed he had the same dream, Kirby joked she only thought he was trying to flatter her.
It appears he was not.
The couple purchased a bus together on December 19. Just a day short of nine months, the two pulled out of their driveway and started toward their first destination on Saturday: the Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island.
“There are people making a stand to support the … old-growth forest out there from being totally clear cut,” Kirby stated.
“So, [we’re] going to go out there and help support them however we can and then explore around the island a bit.”
Their initial plan had relied on the pandemic easing up before their planned departure in September. They hoped to go to the United States and South America. The soaring of COVID-19 cases in the pandemic’s fourth wave made them reconsider their plan.
Home on wheels
The bus is fitted with almost everything they want: a composting toilet, rooftop solar panels, and a shower at the back.
There are some small additions, the couple revealed, like canvasing off the sides for rainy days that have yet to be outfitted for the bus.
“We had a totally different plan in the beginning like it reached a point where the bus was almost building itself,” Kirby noted.
“The layout was different than we initially planned, but it’s just as you go you have to problem solve and just tackle each problem one-by-one and … I’m in love with the bus.”
Shanny decorated a section of the interior with colourful tiles, and Janvier made his mark with artful, wooden pieces on other parts of the walls.
Nevertheless, what matters the most is that they built it themselves.
“It’s just special because we’ve been in here the last couple nights [and] it’s like every time we roll up a curtain or turn on the water or open a cupboard drawer, start a fire, it’s like ‘We did all of this. We made that happen,'” Kirby stated.
“We built everything ourselves and that’s a really satisfying feeling.”
They revealed they’re not sure how long they’ll reside in the bus, now that the wheels are going round, however, the tentative answer is “as long as we want to.”
“My family doesn’t particularly love that answer,” Kirby laughed. “Maybe a year, maybe a couple of years, maybe only half a year, we don’t know.”