Selling Up and Living in A Van
Have you thought of selling up and living in a van? Six years ago, we began with some really big changes in our lives. Starting with a new direction, resulting in downsizing the family house and living most of the year in a van.
We thought we’d be brave, a little courageous before old age set in. To make the most of life, before our wrinkly bodies started to need more repairs than a 1970’s Ford Cortina!
So whilst the brain cells were still active, we decided to do the deed, putting the 4 bedroom house for sale, buying a tiny, but quaint little place instead.
Time For Change – Selling up and living in a Van
The rumblings all started a few years before that, when hubby became very restless. Possibly even a bit anxious, about the world in which we live.
We were both feeling crushed by the pressures of over 30 years of work. All the woes that day to day dealings of running a business brought to our otherwise content life, was becoming too much.
We no longer had the energy to deal with the hectic business environment. At times, it seemed like an endless chain of expectations, embroiled in an over indulgent society and fast-paced world.
We’d seen the good side of human nature
We wanted to get back to basics. There are so many people that do good, often without a fanfare of admiration.
The human spirit was alive and well and we needed to re-connect with those good vibes. People being happy as they were and grateful for all that’s good in life.
We’ve seen and spoken with so many amazing people over the years. All brought together with the bond of loving life in a campervan, where background and status had no place.
When out on the road we met wonderful people, often hearing their stories of lives that they used to live or health issues that made them take a new direction.
Australia Changed Us
Our 6-month road trip across Australia in 2017, finally cemented our need for change. We’d seen the most amazing aspects of our raw planet, a journey by road covering over 23,000KM.
To put that into perspective, when we boarded our return flight from Sydney to Dubai, the in-flight monitor displayed a flying distance of just 11,000KM!
We met and spoke with so many people who were all on a journey of a kind.
These people brought an incredible warmth and their stories were inspirational. Many people were permanently on the road, continuously travelling across the vast landscapes.
Age had no boundaries, young, old and anywhere in-between. They were remarkable people, who were just enjoying the moment and making the most of life while they could. Some were continuing on to other continents, new adventure’s and the thrill of the open road had no limits.
Returning to the UK
In December 2017, we returned to the UK but the Australia trip had changed us.
We had seen the best of people, of nature and most importantly, we’d spent 6 months together in the smallest of space and were still happiest in each others company!
We’d laughed and cried, enjoyed the weirdest moments and seen the most thrilling wildlife. Afterwards, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to return to a so called normal life back in the UK.
Living in a tiny van – yes it was the smallest space possible was amazing too. No luxury RV status, just a simple Toyota Hi-Ace with basic fitments. It made us realise that, in-fact, a house seemed unimportant, almost irrelevant, but would this feeling last?
Living long-term in a van made us appreciate the simple necessities of life. Happiness, love, other people, a good nature, laughter, a sense of humour, wildlife and the wilderness that we can have around us.
time to move on, downsize and de-clutter
The materialistic stuff seemed rather pointless. Of course, we needed money for life on the road but fortunately, years of hard work and careful spending habits had paid off.
Since returning from Australia we’d hardly been home. Spending our time in New Zealand and Europe.
We’ve always had a van of one form or another. In fact, we bought our first one age just 18 years old! So we didn’t need to buy a motorhome or campervan or convert a vehicle back here in the UK. We were ready for every next big trip and we couldn’t wait to get going.
So, instead of having no house we downsized instead.
Selling up and living in a campervan most of the year is what we wanted. A tiny house enabled us to still have a base for times of need, a place for the children to come back to as well. Also, for the simple necessities of having an address and being a resident of somewhere in the world.
It had been therapeutic, clearing out all the wasteful clutter of life and it was a refreshing process to become minimalist. It wasn’t only the house we cleared, but also the mind, it was such a liberating feeling.
What was also clear, is that when we weren’t away, we just wanted to be away. We felt addicted to life on the road, unable to rest until we get that next fix of vanlife and travel.
So Much to See
There are so many places we wanted to see, we hadn’t even scraped the surface. The world is such a big place and we just wanted to see so much.
It was exciting times ahead, wired for adventure and propelled into the next chapter of our van world with more gusto than ever. We hoped selling up and living in a van on a semi-permanent basis would the adventure we craved but then things changed.
The World Locked down
Who would have thought in our lifetime that such a catastrophic situation would be placed upon us in the form of a world lockdown.
In March 2020 we were in New Zealand, the events coming out of China had been a daily focus of ours since January. We thought it would long be over by March, but little did we know it had only just begun.
The events that followed changed our minds about many things, one of them the importance to us of still having a house.
As Europe opened up, New Zealand kept closed off from the rest of the World as they tried to keep a zero covid policy. In the end, this meant we had to sell our campervan, due to no sign of their borders re-opening.
The whole lockdown in general made us re-evaluate. Strangely enough, despite catching covid-19 just before lockdown in March 2020 and being very ill for months, it wasn’t the virus that we feared. For us, it was the lockdown itself that did more damage and subsequent restrictions on all our lives even more so.
Vanlife has changed
Vanlife, motorhome and campervan ownership had already begun to expand beyond belief before lockdowns changed the world.
Then as more and more people chose to buy into vanlife during those lockdown years, the changes that had already started just escalated further.
For us, after 30 years of van travels, we were becoming disillusioned with it. Especially the behaviour seen when out and about on our travels.
Now, selling up and living in a van just doesn’t have the same appeal as it did. Even van travel in general doesn’t give the same satisfaction that it once had.
Coming Full Circle
At the end of the day, it seems we’ve come full circle, because we’ve now sold our “downsize” house and bought a larger property.
Lockdown made us realise, we need a family home once more. A place for everyone to gather, enjoy good food and laughter together.
As for selling up and living in a van, thank goodness we stayed on the property ladder.
Finally, despite still loving our campervan, the love of the van travel aspect has dwindled and we’re not completely sure why.
Maybe it’s because there are just so many vans, campervans, motorhomes and even cars now – it’s gone huge. There’s also the problem of so many places banning overnight parking, or even parking full stop. Then there’s simply being tired of travel to some extent, eventually, places start to look the same and the Wow factor seems less.
So, for us, it’s time to re-ignite the van travel flame and try somewhere different. Hopefully this means going East, finding some less populated areas away from the masses and seeking the excitement of new adventures again.
Ultimately, we still love our Sprinter van, now all we need is to re-kindle the thrill of the open road, so let’s hope we find it again soon.
The Race To Retirement Worklife to Vanlife
Enjoy the sunshine ☀️ have a great trip
Hi to you two..we intend to restart from Portugal Through Spain and on in Jan..so keep an eye on us and at anytime in the near Future if we are near, well come and find you. Safe Travels
Wow that is so Exciting! Can’t wait to hear about your new adventures. I believe we all need to hear more about “alternative living”. It seems like many of us bought into a bunch of bullshit that has ultimately kept us tied down with no room for peace and growth! Say goodbye to The Matrix – Happy trails : )
Thank you! Great to hear that you’ve been hitting the road for an incredible 5 years, that’s awesome!! You must have met some amazing people and seen the most interesting sights over the years. We may see you out there on the open road someday soon! Take care and continue to enjoy the ride! Sonia and Nigel.
Brilliant piece. We did it and haven’t looked back..got all the friends statements and quotes..you’ll never stick it. How on earth could you live in tiny van..Its Dangerous isn’t it?? I’d love to do it But!! And hundreds of others…5 years on and were still doing it. Trusty is our permanent home..off back to UK in march ish..and re- plan for the returns after Brexit..all the best and safe and happy Traveling.. Tony & Tetesa
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