Quitting jobs and traveling across the country in a camper van is not a dream that’s unique to Americans—as proven by England’s Helen Weedon and Tristan Young.
Together, they dumped their 9 to 5s, bought a 17-seater Ford Transit, and shelled out 25k turning it into a mobile home before hitting the highways of Europe and never looking back.
They started the project in late 2021 just weeks after purchasing the van, taking nine months to renovate whilst working full-time jobs and using their weekends and evenings to complete it.
The couple did everything themselves outside their home in Horsham, West Sussex. They built the walls, a kitchen, seating area, storage, a shower and lavatory, a full-sized fixed bed, gas, water and electrical systems all on their own.
“The build was definitely a lot harder and took so much longer than we’d anticipated,” said Helen, 29. “We did absolutely everything ourselves. The only thing was getting our electrics and gas checked over professionally to ensure it was all safe to use.”
“However, it’s probably one of the most rewarding things we have ever done, especially now that we’re able to travel around in it.”
The big “Why”
The “Stan the Van” project was inspired by Helen and Tristan’s love of travel. They wanted to explore Europe more, and reasoned a van was the best, and coolest way to do it.
As soon as the pair settled into a corporate routine, they both realized they wanted far more out of life than dreading work and only being able to travel on their very limited holiday leave.
By June 2022 they had completed the renovation of their van, sold nearly everything they owned and quit their 9-5 jobs.
Helen, who is now a Freelance Virtual Assistant, and Tristian, a Freelance Website Designer, designed their van to be able to go off-grid for up to five days thanks in part to large rooftop solar panels, giving them freedom like never before.
“It was a really liberating thing to do and made us realize how few material things we actually need,” the pair said. “We put a few sentimental things into storage but otherwise everything we own is in the van.”
“Over the past 5 months, we’ve probably seen and experienced more than we could have over two or three years of doing different holidays and trips abroad.”
As of August 2022, the couple had taken their van, affectionately dubbed ‘Stan the Van’, around the UK and to Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Montenegro.
The couple now run a travel blog called ‘Coconuts and Camels‘ and multiple social media accounts where they share the highs and lows of their travels.
They also share travel tips such as accommodation, clothing, food and drink options. Their current plan is to travel Europe for the next three years before one day shipping their van to Canada and the USA and road trip around North America.
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