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Living in a van: inspirational stories

Read our interviews with van dwellers across the globe to find out why they chose van life. From adventures to breakdowns, money saving to mileage everyone has a unique tale to tell. Click on a story below to read more about van life from people living the dream:

From rust to roadtrip thumbnail

From rust to roadtrip

Ben & Lucy - UK

Gnomad home thumbnail

Gnomad home

Jayme & John - USA

Life done differently thumbnail

Life done differently

Lisa - NZ

Jaz Morton thumbnail

Jaz Morton

Australia

Parked in paradise thumbnail

Parked in paradise

Kate & Ian - USA

The indie projects thumbnail

The indie projects

Bee & Theo - Europe

The adventure blog thumbnail

The adventure blog

Hannah & Thom - Canada

Travelling panda thumbnail

Travelling panda

Tom & Chloe - UK

Vincent van life thumbnail

Vincent van life

Seb & Rosie - UK

Wild van thumbnail

Wild van

Simon & Dee - UK

Divine on the road thumbnail

Divine on the road

Sydney - USA

The road is our home thumbnail

The road is our home

Rob & Emily - UK

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From rust to roadtrip

Ben & Lucy, UK

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

We're Ben & Lucy, a couple from Cornwall who decided to drop out of uni, buy a van and travel every country in Europe and beyond.

Living in a van is one of the cheapest lifestyles to live, but our main reason for choosing vanlife is that we wanted to explore every corner of the world and use the van as a medium for our photography.

We're avid travel bloggers and aspiring documentary photographers who are currently working on a project documenting the lives of people living in remote and isolated places.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

Cornwall, UK

What type of van did you convert?

We chose an LDV Convoy 17 seater minibus for our conversion because it's possibly the biggest, cheapest van you can buy in the UK.

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

It may be rusty and leak a lot but it's taken us nearly 30,000 miles around 24 countries so far.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

We've had 2 major breakdowns, 6 minor breakdowns and a lot of other little problems, but nothing a bit of duct tape can't solve!

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

Finally, living in a van costs us roughly £7.50 a day or £450 a month- that's £225 each, which is over half the average monthly rental in the UK. We don't have any bills to pay, live completely self-sufficiently and never stay on campsites so most of our money goes into diesel and food.

Where's next on the map?

We plan to visit Northern Europe after working in the UK to save up some more money so we can say we've travelled every country in Europe, but we're also currently considering a backpacking trip around Canada too.

Gnomad home

Jayme & John, USA

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

We were living the typical 9-5 lifestyle in our house we had bought and found ourselves struggling to balance bills and happiness.

We had talked about doing "one last hurrah" before having kids and planned to get a used SUV and Airbnb it around the country with our dogs for a year and then come back to our unfulfilling life in the 'burbs when we were finished. But then we came across vanlife and our nomadic spirits began to jump around in excitement. We quickly knew that this was the transition we needed to make.

We began online businesses, our main one being our vanbuild resource gnomadhome.com, we sold all of our belongings, bought our 1996 Chevy Express, gutted it and began building.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

We were living in St. Louis, Missouri.

What type of van did you convert?

A 1996 Chevy Express conversion van with a high top.

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

When we got it, it had about 100,000 miles on it. Now it is nearing 130,000 - almost two years later.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

We have had some breakdowns but when we have we have been very fortunate that they were minor issues (knock on wood). For the most part, our issues have been related to our vehicle just being old and things like rubber and plastic pieces wearing down and not functioning correctly anymore.

We were in the middle of South Dakota when a transmission line busted. We were terrified our entire transmission was shot, there was fluid gushing out all over the place - but it ended up just being an old busted hose. Again, we've been very fortunate and lucky when it comes to breakdowns (dramatically knocking on wood, haha).

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

We were spending about $1,500 on mortgage and utilities a month, but between that - house repairs, and everything else that plays into homeownership in general we were probably paying close to $3,000 a month. Now we're spending about $1,800 give or take - but this includes groceries, dog food and dog meds, gas, etc.

Where's next on the map?

We just wrapped up the first ever Midwest Vanlife Gathering which we hosted in Missouri and have some small Midwest obligations until the beginning of July. After that we will be heading west and just sort of seeing where the roads guide us.

Life done differently

Lisa, NZ

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

My name is Lisa, I'm 34 and I live in beautiful New Zealand. After being very career focused for almost 10 years, I got to a point last year where I simply didn't know anymore what I was doing it for. I enjoyed my job and earned good money but somehow it just wasn't enough anymore.

There was this little nagging voice in my head that kept asking "is this it, is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?". The answer was NO! But I didn't really know what else to do... I looked around and most of my friends were busy getting married, starting families, buying houses and trying to get ahead in their careers, but somehow it just wasn't what I want from life (at least not yet).So I decided it's time to figure out what life has to offer if you don't want to follow the traditional path.

I stopped working full time, only kept work I could do remotely, sold most of my stuff and bought a campervan and made it my full-time home. Now I spend my days cruising around New Zealand in my van. I still work part-time, mostly remotely, and spend the rest of my time surfing, kitesurfing, reading and writing (I'm working on my first book and also write a blog).

I've loved every second of it so far and feel like I'm more true to myself than I have ever been. People keep asking me when I will stop 'travelling' and I tell them I'm not travelling, I'm living life!

Where was your starting point/hometown?

Auckland, New Zealand. I'm from Germany originally. I came to New Zealand over 11 years ago and fell in love with the place. Ever since then, Auckland has been my home. I still spend quite a bit of time in and around Auckland, mostly because all my amazing friends are here and there are lots of great surfing and kitesurfing spots :)

What type of van did you convert?

I didn't actually fully convert my van from scratch. When I first had the idea to buy and live in a van, I saw myself buying an empty van and doing the full conversion. I absolutely loved the idea. But in the end, I had to sit myself down and have a 'let's get real' kind of chat and admit the facts; I didn't have the skills to do this or the tools, time or a space. While I could have probably taught myself most of the skills, I realised it would take a long time and getting the tools, time and a place to do it would be very expensive. And I was itching to get on the road (not spend the next 6 months working on my van).

So I choose the easier way. I bought a factory built 1999 Ford Transit High Top Van and named her Josie. When I bought Josie, she was very much your off-the-shelve campervan without much personality so I set out to change that. I swapped the light rose coloured curtains for bright teal ones (actually I just bought cheap teal fabric and sewed it over the existing quality curtains which saved me heaps of money and time), I got colourful covers for the seat cushions, had photos custom printed to size to fit perfectly onto the cupboard doors, and used little kids flip flops to cover up ugly door handles.

I collect sand from beaches I visit so I started a little 'sand bottle gallery', I added fairy lights for that cozy feeling at night and a world map at the top of the drivers cabin to keep me dreaming of where we might go one day.

I asked my family in Germany to send me little figurines that represent themselves and stuck them to the dashboard so now my family is with me on the adventure as well. And of course I had to find a solution for transporting my longboard and my paddle board so I found someone who built surfboard racks on the side of the van.

In the end, while maybe not quite as personal as a custom converted van, Josie now definitely has lots of character and really does feel like my home.

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

When I bought her last year she had done just over 165,000 miles. Since then we've added about another 10,000 miles.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

I haven't had a mechanical breakdown yet (knocking on wood). I did get stuck in wet grass once and had to call the property owner to come tow me out.

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

Hard to put an exact number on it but it's lots. I once calculated that I spend about an average of NZ$ 40-50 on campgrounds per week. While there are quite a few free spots to park up in New Zealand (if you're certified self-contained), I occasionally need a campground for power (re-charge the batteries), washing machines, proper showers, etc. and sometimes all the free spots are taken (especially in summer).

Average rent in Auckland for a small one bedroom apartment would be about NZ$400 / week. A decent room in a shared house would be at least NZ$200/week. And that's not including power, water etc.

But of course the van comes with costs as well; insurance, services, repairs, etc. and fuel of course (but you would have those costs as well if you own a car).

Like I said, hard to put a number on it but I get by with way less money now than I did before. I'd say, on average, I probably save NZ$ 300+ per week. And I think I could save even more if I had to. But I also earn a lot less so it kind of balances itself out.

At the end of the day, it's not about the money for me. I love this lifestyle so much, I would still do it even if there wasn't a financial benefit to it.

Where's next on the map?

Good question. I'm housesitting in Auckland for a few weeks because it's just a bit too cold in the van right now (it's Winter in New Zealand). But as soon as the temperatures are creeping up again I'm want to be back in the van full-time.

There are still so many places left to explore in New Zealand and old favourites to visit again. I really want to spend a few months down on the South Island later this year or early next.

At the moment, my top priority is to finish my first book which I'm really excited about. And who knows what comes after that. It's one of the great things about vanlife; the total freedom to just go with the flow :)

Jaz Morton

Australia

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

Hey my is Jaz, I'm a vlogger and have a passion for photography, cinematography and of course travel! I decided to live in a van for the travel aspect, and also yes, to own my own house without having a mortgage (or any debt).

The best thing is I built the van to exactly how I wanted, I learnt an absolute tonne throughout the van build process. I also get to take my home with me wherever I am, Australia is now my backyard!

Where was your starting point/hometown?

I started in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. This is where I was renting at the time and built the entire van.

What type of van did you convert?

I converted a 2009 Mercedes Sprinter LWB HI roof 515CDI 2.1L Turbo diesel model.

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

I bought it at around 210,000 kms on the clock. I've since done about 10,000 kms on it. However I've only recently started travelling so there will be a lot more kms to come.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

The van runs great, I take care of her and I believe it was good mechanically when I bought it. No breakdowns yet touch wood.

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

Haven't really crunched the numbers on how much I save, but the only thing I pay for on the road is fuel, food, mobile credit per month, and occasional adventure/entertainment things.

No more rent, electricity bills, rates, or any of that. Of course you have to outlay money to build your van and maintain it properly, but this is way cheaper than a house!

It's definitely cheaper in a van!

Where's next on the map?

Currently my gf and I are travelling QLD, but then we will head south along the east coast of Australia, and then eventually around the entire Australia!

The van will be my home base in Australia, but I am still stoked to travel the entire world so when I travel overseas I will just back pack the entire world when not living in the van in Australia!

Parked in paradise

Kate & Ian, USA

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

Before we started van life, we were living in Phoenix, AZ and working as a graphic designer and industrial designer. After a few years in Phoenix we started looking at houses but eventually decided that Phoenix wasn't really where we wanted to settle down.

One thing led to another, and over a few months we decided that van life would be a great way to travel around the country and figure out where we wanted to settle down. We were both able to transform our jobs to remote positions so it made the transition much easier.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

We started in Phoenix, AZ in March 2017

What type of van did you convert?

1996 Dodge Ram Van b1500

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

We bought the van at 267,000 and it's currently at 310,000

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

Yes! We've had 3 breakdowns: the fuel pump, drive shaft U-joint and the power steering hose. Two of those required a tow. We've also been stuck in the mud three times but that's on us for being overly ambitious :)

With our vehicle having so many miles we had expected and budgeted for a few breakdowns. Luckily all of our breakdowns have occurred within a reasonable distance of town and only one required an overnight stay at a hotel because it occurred over Thanksgiving weekend.

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

I'm not sure that we save a lot more money compared to a house because we do tend to 'vacation' while living in a van. We've taken trips to Harry Potter World, Six Flags and gone on tours in the city. Adding that to gas and health insurance gets pretty expensive!

That said, we could be living much cheaper than we are. We do save money by boondocking most nights on BLM land or in National Forests and not purchasing clothing or souvenirs anywhere. We would be living differently if we weren't both working still.

Where's next on the map?

We're headed to the Pacific Northwest. It'll be our first time spending a significant amount of time up there so I'm very excited about it!

The indie projects

Bee & Theo, Europe

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

We're Bee and Theo, and we chose to pack in our normal lives back in 2014 to explore a life on the road in our VWT4. Our initial plan was to travel the whole of Europe for a year, but we haven't ever looked back.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

We started in Birmingham UK.

What type of van did you convert?

We bought our previous van ready converted which was a VWT4. We are currently in the process of converting a LWB Mercedes Sprinter as we wanted a little bit more room!

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

We have clocked over 75,000 miles so far exploring with van life.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

We had an issue with our turbo injection in Norway, which was a massive blow to our budget as it is one of the most expensive countries in the world!

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

Previously we would spend over £600 per month on rent alone, add in bills and you're spending pretty much all your wages on your accommodation with not much left over! Living in a van means we don't pay rent so already the saving is massive.

Where's next on the map?

We're currently winding down on a 3 week road trip in the USA, which has got us plotting our next move. We're here in a van on loan from Winnebago, but we'd absolutely love the chance to travel here for a longer period of time in our own van - and also head into Canada

The adventure blog

Hannah & Thom, Canada

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

Hi, we're Hannah & Thom we're from the UK but moved to Canada in February 2017. We chose to live the vanlife as we travelled across America (from Niagara to Florida Keys across the south and up to western Canada). We then lived in the van for a few months while we found our feet in Vancouver. Whilst we no longer live in our van, Elvis, we use him almost every weekend for camping and adventuring.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

We started in Toronto, Ontario where Thom turned the van into our home in the freezing cold of a Home Depot carpark!

What type of van did you convert?

We have a Ford e150 from 2008, we chose this since Ford are reliable and we knew we'd be able to find someone who could fix a Ford if we needed it!

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

Our van has about 290,000km. We've added about 20,000 of those during our USA road trip and have probably done at least 10,000km since!

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

We haven't (touch wood)! We did get a flat tyre in Yosemite National Park and our battery died a few months ago but that was once we'd moved back into a flat. We were pretty fussy when it came to picking a van and willing to spend a bit more money to get something that wasn't going to break down on us all the time!

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

Had we stayed in hotels every night on our three month trip around the US it would've easily cost us $100+ a night. Instead, we slept for free every night!

Where's next on the map?

We live in Vancouver, BC now and spend most weekends camping or heading out in our van. Our next longer trip is over to Alberta to explore Jasper and Banff National Parks.

Travelling panda

Tom & Chloe, UK

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

Hi we're Tom (23) and Chloe (23) and we are Travelling Panda. We had the idea to travel in a van during university when we both studied, Chloe at York studying English Literature and Linguistics and Tom at Liverpool studying Business Management. We both felt not ready to begin 'real life' with 9-5 jobs, spending all of our money renting and living for the weekend. Instead we wanted to get out and explore, but do it in a van. We picked Panda, our trusty VW T5, due to his small size making him easy to drive and fit into small spaces. Also because Tom's Dad, who is a mechanic, told us a VW is a reliable make mechanically. We then worked during university and for a year after we graduated in 2016 to be able to afford a van lifestyle. The money we earned assured us we would be able to live on the road exploring off the beaten track roads, towns and beaches.

Being in a van means we can stay wherever we want. Whether we park up at the beach, in a city, or just in a car park, we have the freedom to carry our home with us at all times. We therefore have no need to worry about anything (apart from the safety of the van), and instead are able to enjoy every little bit the world has to offer, and see everything with our own eyes, take our own speed, and do everything we want to do. Van life is also a brilliant way to meet like-minded people and there is definitely a big community feeling via social media such as Facebook and Instagram.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

Whitchurch, Shropshire, and from here we headed up through the Peak District, Lake District and completed the Scotland NC500.

What type of van did you convert?

A VW T5

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

136,821, around 19,000 miles since we bought him. He's still young.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

Only once in Portugal in Figueira da Foz. Luckily it was in a car park we were planning on staying the night in anyway. That night we met with some friends and they treated us to pizza and port and luckily the garage down the road managed to fix it the following day so we were back on the road in no time.

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

This is hard to answer as we have never had to do 'real life so what we've done is asked a couple of our friends who have city centre apartments and graduate jobs what their costs are and we've compared them to ours.

Normal city accommodation costs per month is around £580 per person for rent and bills. On an average of our friends that we spoke to.

Our Costs Per Month (Approximate as it depends on the exchange rate, this is over a 13 month period). Diesel cost- £139. Supermarket cost- £219. Campsite/ Aire cost- £26 (We try and wild camp as much as possible. This means parking up for the night surrounded in nature, without amenities, and most importantly for free. This saves valuable money which we can spend enjoying ourselves. We worked out in the first two months of travelling we saved over £2000 by not staying in campsites.). Enjoying Ourselves (drinks out, gifts, eating out- this could be anything that isn't a necessity) - £258

Total cost for a month - £642 or £321 per person meaning we save around £259 per month. however this is including everything we do each month whilst travelling whereas we only asked about the cost of rent to our friends so this doesn't include their food and other spends

One of the biggest things we save on is bills. We almost always find a free water source to fill up our water supply. This water is then used for drinking, washing up and showering. We created a small portable shower that we use when possible to wash. It is made out of a pressure container and a modified hose head and does the job perfectly.

We also have a 210 watt solar panel fixed to the roof and a portable 80 watt panel that can be moved to follow the sun as it pans across the sky. These panels mean we can live for free without paying for electricity and are used to power our; Waeco fridge, lights, usb chargers for phones and kindles, T.V. and inverter that powers our laptops.

Have you had to claim on your van insurance?

Unfortunately one of the obstacles we ran into when we first bought the van was the fact it was hard for us to get insured for a self build camper. As we wanted to convert the van ourselves, the next thing the insurers wanted was for the both of us to be 25 and over. As changing our age is impossible, we got the van converted professionally by a local company. Although not our own work, and expensive, we still think it was a good idea as it suited our needs much better and got the process done quickly ready for our departure.

Where's next on the map?

Currently in Germany on the Romantic Road. From Germany we are heading to Luxembourg then on to the Netherlands.

Vincent van life

Seb & Rosie, UK

What factors contributed to you choosing to convert and live in a van?

In 2016, we decided that we'd had enough of the conventional '4 walls' way of living that we'd each known since birth. We were paying hundreds of pounds to people that we'd never even met, and then totting up our bank balance at the end of the month and finding out that we didn't have a lot to show for our hard work. My girlfriend Rose had been following the van life movement for a long time and used to show me around 50 pictures a day of great vans. At this point I still couldn't drive, so I took lessons, passed my test and bought my first vehicle - a Vauxhall Movano Maxi Roof long wheel based van.

We really loved the idea of being free to roam but having all of our belongings with us. Then we started thinking about how great it would be to go and travel the world in our van, so we began the conversion process and have never looked back since. We didn't know anything about converting a van before we started the process, we just learnt on the go and made a lot of it up as we went along. We couldn't be happier with the end result, and we've brought a book out in conjunction with Van Clan to help others follow the same path that we've set out on!

How much do you think you save per month by living in a van compared to a house/flat?

We save well over £1k a month living in a van compared to our house. Our only outgoings are diesel, insurance and our mobile phones. We bought one gas bottle in August last year and it's still going strong as I write this article. All of our electricity comes from the sun, so theres no bills there either!

Security is a big issue for van owners, have you been a victim of theft?

Touch wood not yet. I think as long as you pick safe places to park and secure your van as best as possible then you should be able to minimise the chances of theft. I know lots of people that have had their houses burgled too - sadly crime will happen everywhere, but you cant let a few individuals stop you from living your dreams.

Have you ever broken down in your van?

Yes, not too long after we bought it the alternator belt went and something called an idler wheel shattered. It was a Sunday so they couldn't fix it on the side of the road, but we were up and running again the next day. Our sliding door recently came off its runner too, so we bought new parts and fitted it back together and now its good as new. Old vehicles will need a bit of love from time to time, the important thing is not to panic and just to crack on with a level head.

How do the inner workings function (generators for cooking, heating etc.)

We have a gas bottle hooked up to a three hob burner that we do all of our cooking on. We've also got two RidgeMonkeys which are essentially stove top ovens that we use to cook calzone, lasagne, Italian fish dishes and lots of other tasty meals.

We have a wood burner for heating the van. This kept us nice and toasty over the winter; temperatures outside the van were -5 degrees celsius but it was a cosy 20 degrees inside. We knew that we wanted to have a coal burner in the van to complete our 'country kitchen on wheels' feel. It's a great feature and talking point, and we can also cook on it too!

All our electric comes from the two solar panels on the roof, and we also have an inverter to convert 12v power into 240v, the kind of power that you'd get inside your house. This means that we can charge our laptops and use a food processor in the van.

Is it more expensive to insure your van and its contents compared to a standard policy?

Not at all. If you change your panel van to a motor caravan with the DVLA it reduces your insurance dramatically. It also increases the speed that you can drive on single/dual carriageways to that of a normal car.

What do you miss most about living in a house/flat?

Honestly, nothing at all. We have everything that we need right here, and the process of getting rid of all of the stuff that we didn't need anymore was very cleansing. We live a very minimalistic lifestyle now and it's so much easier to find things without a lot of clutter lying about. Sometimes it can be a little tiresome when we know that we need to go to the gym for a shower, but you get into a routine and what might seem obscure to some soon becomes just your normal day to day life.

How much do you spend on petrol a month?

We spend around about £60-100 a month on fuel, depending on where we've been and how far we've travelled. We're currently staying in Yorkshire, but will be heading to Morocco in November to start our worldwide adventure. We'll have to fill up more often when we set off, but our writing work and other business ventures will more than cover all of our costs.

What do you miss most about living in a house/flat?

Not yet!

What advice would you give to someone who's considering van life?

Too many people spend an eternity thinking about doing things and never actually do them. We didn't know if van life would be for us, or whether we would be able to convert a van in the first place. My advice would be to just go for it and give it a try. You can always move back into a house if it's not for you, but if you do like it then you'll open up a door that leads to a whole different world and a community of people who want to live just like you. What have you got to lose?

Wild van

Simon & Dee, UK

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

We're a couple in our twenties who have lived and travelled in our van full-time for almost three years. We are based in the UK but have spent time travelling all across Europe and Morocco.

We originally decided to move in to a van as we had been inspired by online blogs and videos. We realised that if we built our own campervan we could design our perfect living space and create a home that is exactly the way we want it to be, whilst saving a fortune on rent and bills.

It didn't make sense to us to be spending all our time working to pay for a house that we didn't particularly like, and that we didn't even spend any time in! Living in a van means that our living costs are greatly reduced, giving us a little extra disposable income to enjoy our lives and quite honestly, we both feel that our van is the nicest home we've ever lived in.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

We were living in Salisbury when we started our van conversion project - this was great because we had Wiltshire and Dorset to explore in our first few months of vanlife and were very close to Stonehenge which has a wonderful van life community.

What type of van did you convert?

We converted a Fiat Ducato Maxi LWB.

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

Our van has covered 135k, we clock up around 10-15k a year.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

We're very happy to say we haven't broken down yet. We did have an oil leak when we were in the south of Spain but managed to find an English speaking mechanic who let us stay outside the garage for a couple of days and use a courtesy car while it was fixed so this was relatively stress-free!

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

We estimate the costs saved each month total to about £800 - we no longer pay rent or bills, we were still running a vehicle previously so those costs are unchanged, plus we get great MPG from our Ducato, our electricity comes from our split charge system and solar and we use LPG gas which is very cheap - it costs about £20 to fill our tank and this can last us up to three months during the summer.

Where's next on the map?

We're currently converting a van for Dee's younger sister to take travelling next year so we think we will join her, possibly starting in Germany and then who knows!

Divine on the road

Sydney, USA

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

Hi! I'm Sydney and I'm currently working on my second van build! About one year ago, I set out on an adventure in my first van to explore parts of the world and escape the insanely high rent of my Chicago apartment. I was working a job that I didn't enjoy at all just to barely afford the rent of an apartment that I wasn't happy living in. It seemed like a pointless cycle. Knowing that my student loan bills would soon be coming in, I knew I couldn't afford the rent along with the student debt. So I decided to make a change that would allow me work online, pay down my student loans, and get to see parts of the world I may not have been able to otherwise.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana which is where I stayed during the van build. This was directly after leaving my job in Chicago where I lived for 4 years during college.

What type of van did you convert?

My first van was a 2011 Sprinter 144" Wheelbase. After living in it for 8 months, I have begun my second build on a 2017 Ford Transit 148" Wheelbase. The Sprinter had 90,000 miles at the time of purchase and had 110,000 when I transitioned to the Transit. I bought the Transit with 65,000 and haven't driven it much besides back home to Indiana from Georgia where I bought it!

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

I did break down in the Sprinter which is why I decided on the Transit for my second van. There was only one official break down but it was enough of a nightmare to never want it to happen again. Having to go to a Mercedes Dealership to get it fixed made the repair extremely expensive and it took about 3 weeks to complete because the parts come from Germany. After paying for an Airbnb for 3 weeks and then having to pay thousands for a repair that I later found out was common with Sprinters, I did not want to risk it again!

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

Rent for my Chicago apartment was about $1,200 per month (and I had two roommates!). This is why I knew I couldn't afford the rent plus my student loan bills. My car payment each month is only $300 which allows me to pay my bills and work a job that I actually enjoy!

Where's next on the map?

I'm not sure where I'll head first in my new van but I'm so excited to get back on the road when the build is finished! It will most likely be out West to visit the friends that I made last time and miss so much. But I like taking things slow so it'll take me a little while to get there and allow me to explore along the way!

The road is our home

Rob & Emily, UK

Who are you and give a brief description of your van life, for example, did you choose it for adventure or to escape the expensive rental market (or both!)

We are Rob and Emily, back in the beginning of 2017 we found ourselves fed up with our jobs and felt that we weren't living life to its fullest, that life was passing us by and we felt trapped and unable to spend time doing the things we wanted to do. After watching some Youtube videos on how to permanently travel and earn an income while doing so, I (Rob) suggested that we buy a van and convert it for just that purpose: full time travel.

We felt we were working more than we were living and wanted to find a way to change that. Living in a van means we have less outgoings which in turn means we don't need to work as many hours and we can invest our time doing the things we have always wanted to do.

Where was your starting point/hometown?

We had a cosy maisonette in our amazing hometown Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

What type of van did you convert?

The van we chose to convert is a 2008 long wheel base Mercedes Benz Sprinter, we wanted something reliable and that provided enough room.

How many miles has your van done/How many miles have you done in your van?

It's done 150,000 miles and we've only covered about 5000 of them so far.

Ever broke down in your van? If so, how many times?

We have broken down once when the fan belt snapped, luckily I kept a spare!

How much do you save a month compared to the costs of living in a house/flat?

At a guess, we save around £1300 a month compared to living in a house, and we're having way more fun.

Where's next on the map?

We're currently saving up for a long term trip around Europe for 2019, but for the moment we're enjoying the UK.