- A UK couple quit their jobs and bought a van which they now use to travel across Europe.
- The van, which cost them R68 000 to purchase and another R248 500 to renovate, also serves as their home.
- According to the couple, living and travelling in their van has worked out cheaper than buying a home in London.
- They have covered over 8 600 miles (13 800 km) and visited ten countries, including France, Italy, and now Montenegro.
This couple from London bucked the trend by quitting their jobs to live and travel in their van across 8.6K miles on a cost-of-living-busting budget of £1 000 (R20 700) a month while all their friends were buying houses and settling down.
Former leisure manager Ryan Sibley, 28, and ex-primary school teacher Laura Rigby, 27, both left their full-time jobs in August 2022 to travel and live around Europe in their self-converted 2010 Citroen Relay L3 H2 van.
The van cost them £3 300 (R68 000) in June 2018, and they spent another £12 000 (R248 500) on it to make it their beloved abode. The couple was smart enough to experience travelling in their camper for short trips before taking the full-fledged plunge of making it their home.
8 600 miles, ten countries
They left the UK on 10 August 2022 and have been in their van since. They have covered over 8 600 miles (13 800 km) and visited ten countries in this time span, including France, Italy, Vatican City, Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Croatia and now Montenegro.
The two of them are smart savers who have budgeted their savings and expenditure to make this experience fulfilling and easy on the pocket at the same time.
"We are able to save money on not paying for hotels or accommodation when travelling somewhere, and therefore, we have more money in our budget for excursions, food and drinks," they said. "We budget £500 (R10 300) each a month to live off, and we are trying to stick to this as much as we can."
"This £500 includes diesel, food, excursions, toll roads, and stays at any campsites," they added.
According to the couple, living and travelling in their van has worked out cheaper than having to buy a home in London, and since they had already been saving money for a place, they decided to use some of those funds to travel.
Things are not always easy
However, things are not always easy when one chooses to live unconventionally. Ryan and Laura's travels are not entirely free of problems and obstacles.
"With the van being both our home and our vehicle, we rely on the van to mechanically work well, so when we recently had issues, we lost not only our vehicle but also our home while it was in the garage for repairs," they said.
"We also have to think carefully about where we can park the van overnight in places that aren't intrusive to others or cause any disturbance."
The couple also makes sure they are mindful of water usage and waste disposal.
'A van gives us the freedom'
"Travelling around Europe post-Brexit, we have had to navigate around the Schengen agreement and ensure that we do not spend longer than 90 days within the Schengen countries in any 180-day rolling period.
"This means that we have had to adapt our travel plans and move to non-Schengen countries for the winter."
But Ryan and Laura's passion and drive to make the most of their van life and the support that they get from their family and friends keep them going. "Our friends and family have all been really supportive of our choice to travel and to do so in our own van," they said.
"We have also been fortunate enough to meet many other lovely and supportive people both through social media and while travelling. A van gives us the freedom to travel and see new places, which we both wanted to do before we settled down somewhere."
"We experience the comfort of being at home in the van regardless of where we are in the world," they added.