Updated: Jul 18, 2020
"I think we should get a van, convert it and live in it."
One sentence that would soon change our lives. But I'm getting ahead of myself here, let's rewind to the start...
Rupert and I met nearly four years ago at a mutual friends party and have been inseparable ever since. One thing that really cemented our relationship was our deep and shared passion for travel and adventure (and food!). But did I ever envisage living in a self-converted van? That would be a hard "no"!
Blame him - it was all his idea
When we first met it was clear who was the one most likely to take risks (and it wasn't Rupert) - so after we had been together for a year, happily living in our first home together in Winchester it was a small surprise when Rupert suggested we change our lives completely, plunge all of our savings into a van and leave our jobs. Rupert was working as a Corporate Lawyer and I had recently gone freelance as a marketing consultant. Our lives were pretty darn good. I had only moved to Winchester three years before we met and felt more settled and happy than I had ever felt, was I ready to uproot everything (again) - to give up my new friendships, our home, our safety - to travel around Europe in a battered old Sprinter held together with sticky-tape and dodgy woodwork?
How could I say no?
Well...it took a few more conversations and I won't lie - even after we made the decisions there were a few wobbles (and tears) on my part. Mostly because I was petrified of walking away from a business I had spent so much time, energy and focus on building to something that mildly resemble success. But spending a year trekking around Europe - how could I say no to that?
As a little older than Rupert and just tipping over my 30th birthday we knew we had to go all in now or never; and we both knew that if we chose never we'd always regret it.
So why the van? Why not backpacking?
"Van life" plays to everything we love. Backpacking is amazing; but could I deal with staying in sweaty, rundown hostels filled to the brim with 20-year-olds? Probably not, been there and done that. My liver definitely wouldn't keep up this time around.
We wanted something a little more remote. Just us, our adventures and our own travelling home. If we want to spend 5 days with no human contact, we can do that. It's something we will never experience again. I guess we are both desperate to step off the treadmill and refocus on our own self growth (that sounds way more woo-woo than I meant, but I stand by it!).
We had done so much research (seriously, have you ever met Rupert? He's honestly the most dedicated researcher I've ever met), we had talked to people with vans, joined groups, watched videos, read blogs - everything we could. We had heard the horror stories, heard about the break-ins, the fact there's no toilet, no hot running water; we had all of these things in our mental pros and cons list and we still knew this was the right thing for us; total freedom.
Within touching distance
With building the van through winter, lockdown scuppering our plans and the multiple cocks up we've had along the way we're relieved that leaving is now within touching distance. Especially since we're technically homeless - well, we have a home, it's just not finished yet and is parked in Rupert's parent's driveway. The finishing touches are happening; we're poufing the pillows, scrabbling for space and connecting those last bits and bobs. We're excited to take you on our journey - so buckle up - it's going to be one heck of ride!
See you soon!