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Podcast inspires couple – who renovated American school bus in time to give birth on board

A couple  spent over 800 hours and £35,000 converting a yellow American school bus into a luxury home – just in time to give birth to a beautiful baby boy on board.

Sam and Rachel Dix from Bristol arranged for the 37ft by 8ft vehicle to be shipped from New York to Southampton and then to a farm in Somerset.

And baby Bodhi was born in the newly renovated home – with his birth certificate citing ‘American School Bus’ as the place of his arrival.

Rachel, 32, designed the layout, while self-employed carpenter Sam built it. Sam, 33, said: “It may seem a bit crazy to buy an American bus, but we knew it had potential to be an incredible home on wheels for our expanding family.”


Like thousands of people across the UK who tune into the Motorhome Matt podcast, which provides insights into buying your first motorhome and making money from it, they were inspired to take to the road.

But the couple went a step further when they bought the Hyde Park Central School bus, built in 2005, which is 296 feet squared and held up to 72 children.

Sam, who has become friends with Matt Sims, who heads the podcast and is CEO of hire firm The Motorhome Holiday Company in Hewish, Somerset,, said: “Matt has great ideas for making a passive income from your vehicle and guiding first time buyers on the right vehicle for their needs.”

The podcast covers topics from saving energy and money – to cooking in a campervan.

The bus was transformed over a six-month period, with the seats pulled out and wooden flooring, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom fitted inside.

Sam carried out most of the work by himself but a professional installed electrics – and his parents helped paint inside.

The exterior is still the iconic yellow –with solar panels on top, which helped keep their electric bill down to a mere £20 over six months. And photo footage shows the remarkable conversion.

Sam said: “It looks like an ordinary bus from the outside, but inside it is a comfortable, fully functionable living space.

“We’ve turned heads when we’ve driven around in it and people have been surprised when they’ve come inside.”

Baby ready birthing suite

Sam also put a light on top of the bus so the midwives could find them in the dark when Rachel went into labour on the organic farm they were parked up on. The midwives arrived around 8pm and Rachel gave birth in the living room three hours later.

And video footage inside the bus shows the emotional birth of Bodhi, whose name means ‘awakening’ in Sanskrit.

The name is a tribute to Sam and Rachel’s quest to live life to the full after losing Rachel’s dad to cancer when he was 52.

Sam said: “Midwives visited us on board the bus in advance. They said they’d been to a range of home births, including on a barge, but that this was a first for them.

“They were impressed by how comfortable and spacious it is inside. It had been a mad rush to get the bus ready and on the farm in time for the baby’s arrival, but it worked out well and it’s brought us lots of happiness.”

Rachel added: “Birthing Bodhi in the home we poured our hearts and souls into was incredible.

“After working so hard to create a beautiful and loving home, welcoming our son into our arms on the floor of the bus was a moment forever engrained into my soul. It was magical and I hope it inspires other women to explore home birthing.”

Sam put the vehicle in storage with MHC storage in Congresbury, Somerset, while making preparations.

The couple had a raised double bed in the bus and their older boy, Ellis, slept in a cubby underneath, while Bodhi had his moses basket. They enjoyed living close to nature in scenic locations.

Travel plans

The family now has plans to renovate a third vehicle, to go travelling in, and have put the bus up for sale. Sam has changed the layout and refurbished inside the bus.

Sam said: “This has been a project of love and we’ve enjoyed our time on the bus. I think it would suit an individual or couple, possibly with young children, looking to set off on an adventure.

“Or it could work as a business venture, if they have land, to rent it out. It is an interesting and comfy space for anyone wanting to experience a luxury, skoolie stay.”

Making and saving money with your motorhome

Matt, who has 30 years of business experience, said: “There are many ways to make money from a motorhome – from impressive renovation work like Sam and Rachel carried out, to using a third party to do the hard work for you.

“It depends on your skillset, time and inclination but a motorhome can be a good investment for pretty much anyone if they do their research.”

Matt, who has bought and sold 13 businesses and heads one of the biggest motorhome hire businesses in the UK, also looks at off-grid and environmentally friendly options, such as fitting solar panels.

He said: “We can all take small steps to reduce our emissions and save money, which is good for our planet and good for our pocket.”

Matt has interviewed a range of guests on his show, including writer, presenter and environmentalist Martin Dorey, who promotes sustainable habits, and the president of the AA, Edmund King.

Recent topics range from the future of electric motorhomes to cooking a Michelin star meal in a motorhome.

Press release information


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Matt Sims of The Motorhome Matt Podcast with Sam Dix, who converted a school bus.

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Notes to editors

Matt Sims set up The Motorhome Holiday Company in Hewish, near Weston-Super-Mare. The firm has expanded to provide an online and in-store shop, That Leisure Shop. After repeatedly being asked the same questions and hearing horror stories of sales gone wrong, Matt decided to launch a regular podcast to address common concerns. The Motorhome Matt show has been described ‘industry’s own podcast’ by the World of Motorhomes. It offers impartial, practical advice with motorhome expert Matt Sims and multi-Sony award winning audio producer Ken Gooden.

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