Ryan and Laura in their van.
- A British couple quit their jobs and bought a van, which they now use to travel around Europe.
- The van, which cost R68,000 to buy and another R248,500 to refurbish, also serves as their home.
- According to the couple, living and traveling in their van is cheaper than buying their own home in London.
- They have traveled over 13,800 km (8,600 miles) and visited ten countries including France, Italy and now Montenegro.
This London couple bucked the trend by quitting their jobs to live in their van on a budget of £1,000 (R20,700) a month and travel over 8.6k miles while all their friends bought houses and each other settle.
Former leisure manager Ryan Sibley, 28, and former primary school teacher Laura Rigby, 27, both left their full-time jobs in August 2022 to travel and live across 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 a further £12,000 (R248,500) to make it their beloved abode. The couple were smart enough to take short trips in their RV before taking the full plunge of making it their home.
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8,600 miles, ten countries
They left the UK on August 10, 2022 and have been in their van ever since. They have traveled over 8,600 miles (13,800 km) in that time span and visited ten countries including France, Italy, Vatican City, Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Croatia and now Montenegro.
The two are savvy savers who budgeted their savings and expenses to make the experience fulfilling while being easy on the wallet.
“We can save money by not paying for hotels or lodging when we travel somewhere, and therefore we have more money in our budget for excursions, food and drinks,” they said. “We plan on £500 (R10,300) each month to live on and we try to stick to that as much as possible.”
“That £500 includes diesel, food, excursions, toll roads and stays at all campsites,” they added.
According to the couple, living and traveling in their van has proved cheaper than having to buy a house in London and, having already saved money for an apartment, they decided to use some of those funds to travel.
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Ryan and Laura in their van.
Laura poses with the van in front of breathtaking snow-capped mountains.
Things aren’t always easy
However, it is not always easy when choosing to live an unconventional life. Ryan and Laura’s journeys are not entirely free of problems and obstacles.
“Because the van is both our home and our vehicle, we rely on the van to function mechanically well. When we had problems recently, we not only lost our vehicle but also our home while it was in the garage for repairs,” they said.
“Also, we have to think carefully about where to park the van overnight, in places that won’t bother or bother others.”
The couple also make sure they pay attention to water consumption and waste disposal.
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The bed in her van.
Ryan can be seen preparing food for the two of them in their van while Laura looks on.
“A van gives us freedom”
“In our post-Brexit travel across Europe, we have had to circumvent the Schengen Agreement and ensure that we do not spend more than 90 days in the Schengen countries in any continuous 180-day period.
“This means that we had to adjust our travel plans and switch 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 they receive from their family and friends keep them going. “Our friends and family have all been very supportive of our decision to travel and do so in our own van,” they said.
“We were also fortunate to meet many other kind and supportive people both through social media and while travelling. A van gives us the freedom to travel and see new places, which is something we both wanted to do before settling anywhere.”
“We experience the comfort of being at home in the van, no matter where we are in the world,” they added.