Why am I moving on a bus with an 11 year old child, a dog and a cat

A bus isn't Charlotte Fielding and her son's dream, but it can be a stepping stone to a home.

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A bus isn’t Charlotte Fielding and her son’s dream, but it can be a stepping stone to a home.

OPINION: I bought a bus for a living, because I’m sick of paying other people’s mortgages.

I bought a bus because last year I was kicked out of a house I loved, after planting fruit trees and befriending my neighbors, because my owners have divorced and that one of them was coming back to settle.

I bought a bus because when the owners of my current rental did an inspection, they opened the closets and lifted my belongings to make sure they weren’t leaving any marks.

I bought a bus because over 50 percent of my income goes to rent making it impossible to save for a house deposit even though there were houses to buy in Wellington at a reasonable price .

Barring a lottery win, stepping out of the rent trap seemed like the only way Charlotte Fielding could work to keep her son, dog, cat and cat's home safe.  So she bought a bus.

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Barring a lottery win, stepping out of the rent trap seemed like the only way Charlotte Fielding could work to keep her son, dog, cat and cat’s home safe. So she bought a bus.

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I bought a bus because I have a dog, a cat and a child, and although we are not homeless yet, this little “still” is a constant fear. My son has lived in 10 houses and he is only 11 years old.

A bus is not a dream for me. I don’t want to be a #vanlifer, traveling from the campsite to the parking lot, posting bikini pics on Instagram, doing yoga on the roof of a van (do they ever fall, in the middle of Warrior III?) . I like to watch nature, but I don’t necessarily want to touch it every day.

The dream is a house of mine that I can fill with books and paint the walls if I want. One of those with working plumbing and enough yard for a trampoline.

Wellington is where I was born, and I chose to settle here because I love this place. I have work and friends here. My son has friends here, most notably his father – my ex-husband – is here.

Moving to a cheaper city is not an option. Sadly, Wellington is now the most expensive area in the country to rent.

Charlotte Fielding found her perfect little bus on Facebook as she cruised late at night.

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Charlotte Fielding found her perfect little bus on Facebook as she cruised late at night.

I read the story of a woman who went from a hairpin to a small cabin. I don’t have enough faith or spare time for that, and I can never find a hairpin when I need it, but I kept thinking that if I can’t buy a house now , I could start with something smaller and work my up.

My original idea, declared on Facebook with New Year’s enthusiasm, was to buy a trailer, renovate it, vacation there and sell it. The public idea was a downgrade from the more private idea of ​​building a small house. I’m not ready for this, and it’s easier to park a trailer.

The next idea was to buy a small motorhome. The kind that backpackers used to travel in, back when we had tourists.

I applied for a loan to see if it was a possibility. I wanted something with a warrant, but no flash. I watched some wonderful van conversions on YouTube and chickened out when I realized the Mercedes Sprinter – apparently the favorite #vanlife van – was out of my budget.

Smaller, I thought. We don’t need to get up. We can cook sitting down and take a shower in swimming pools and campsites.

However, I’m quite a fan of standing up straight with my neck intact, so I looked at other people’s pop-tops and unfinished projects. Nothing was going well.

When my loan was approved, I panicked.

It meant that I was choosing a direction to take. It was not an irreversible decision, but a big one nonetheless. I want a house, so why waste money on a van? I am fortunate to have a place to live. It doesn’t feel like home, but it’s comfortable and it works.

Then I found the perfect little bus on Facebook when I was cruising late at night. I bought it without seeing it in person as it was in Christchurch. I borrowed $ 17,000.

Charlotte Fielding with her family when she first bought the bus as part of a renovation project.

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Charlotte Fielding with her family when she first bought the bus as part of a renovation project.

I have booked flights using credit from a trip to Australia that was canceled last year. I put ferry tickets on Afterpay. I’m taking a friend with me because she can drive manual and I can’t. Again.

Was I crazy? After years of living barely above the poverty line, I am finally in a more comfortable financial situation, and I was about to play with it. I didn’t own any tools and I don’t know how to turn a motorhome into a house.

But unless I win the lottery – and I’m not likely to buy tickets – getting out of the rent trap seems like the only way to work on housing security for my son. and myself.

So I bought a bus.

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