My Celebrity Life

Couple quit jobs to live in a renovated delivery van and travel the world

My Celebrity Life –
Charlie Low and Dale Comley were fed up of the slog of working in an office (Picture: Jam Press)

Ever dream of chucking it all away and hitting the road?

This couple made that happen.

Charlie Low, 25, and Dale Comley, 29, from Bristol, previously worked full-time as a digital marketer and a design engineer, respectively.

Bored of spending their lives in a stuffy office, the pair decided to make a radical change.

In January 2019, they bought an ex-DHL bright yellow LWB Mercedes Sprinter van for £8,800.

They then spent just over a year working on turning the van into the perfect mobile home, taking time wherever they could to tackle the project while still continuing their full-time jobs.

Finally, in February 2021, the van was ready and Charlie and Dale handed in their notice.

While they’re currently living together in a house in Bristol, in April they will move into their home-on-wheels full-time and set off on an adventure around the world, working remotely as they travel.

‘We converted our own campervan because we were tired of daily commutes, spending our lives office-bound, and living for weekends and holidays,’ said Charlie.

‘We are also both climbers and so we wanted to build our very own climbing home on wheels to take us on all of our adventures.

My Celebrity Life –
They decided to buy an ex-DHL van and spend a year transforming it into a dream home on wheels (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)
My Celebrity Life –
They bought the van for £8,800 (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)

‘There was a whole array of different jobs to tackle; from installing windows and insulating to cladding and building kitchen units, as well as installing gas, water and electrical systems.

‘We did everything ourselves, from gas and electrics to all of the cabinet-making and even installing the windows.

‘It was a really fun challenge learning lots of different skills.

My Celebrity Life –
For just over a year, Charlie and Dale worked on transforming the van while continuing their full-time jobs (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)
My Celebrity Life –
The end result is pretty impressive (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)
My Celebrity Life –
There’s a bedroom space, a kitchen, a bathroom, and even a film projector (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)

‘It was a challenge to convert it in between working full-time jobs, it was pretty exhausting spending our weekends and all of our free time working on the build.

‘But whenever we had spent enough time planning, things usually went smoothly.’

The DIY transformation took a lot of hard work and patience.

The couple began by removing all the internal parcel racking, then once the van was gutted, they installed windows and a skylight, then set about insulating the space, covering everything with a foil vapour barrier to stop moisture build-up.

My Celebrity Life –
So far the couple have travelled around the UK, but hope to head further afield once Covid restrictions ease (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)
My Celebrity Life –
They quit their jobs this year, with plans to move into the van full-time in April (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan

Next, Charlie and Dale tackled the electrical system, fitted cladding and began building structures such as the kitchen and overhead storage units, using plywood purchased from their local timber merchant.

Finally, they installed gas and water systems and painted the walls, tiled the kitchen and upholstered cushions for the seating area.

The transformation has cost the pair just £6,700 – and they couldn’t be happier with the end result.

Their campervan home has seven square metres of space, including a kitchen, a living room, a bedfroom, and even a ‘garage’ for storage.

My Celebrity Life –
The couple have written a book to help other people live the van life (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan

Charlie said: ‘Our kitchen has a four ring hob, a fridge, and even a Belfast sink and our living room is made up of our bench seating area – where our composting toilet lives – and a sliding table which gives us enough space to eat.

‘The bedroom has a full-sized fixed double bed with a bedside table that doubles as a little storage space.

‘Our garage space is underneath the bed and can be accessed from the back of the van.

‘We use it to store all of our climbing gear, and it’s also where our instant water heater is, giving us hot water on tap for our outdoor shower set up.’

My Celebrity Life –
They love to go climbing, so have ensured they have a special space in the van for equipment storage (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan
My Celebrity Life –
They’ll use the van as a base to work remotely (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)

The couple are now looking forward to moving into their new home on a permanent basis, and are prepping by taking a more minimalist approach to their belongings.

While the coronavirus pandemic has meant they can’t currently travel too far from their starting point, they’re keen to journey around Europe once restrictions lift.

Charlie said: ‘We spent such a long time planning everything and working on it and we’re really happy with how it turned out.

‘It feels quite refreshing to realise that you don’t need a whole house full of belongings and you can reduce your life down to the few items that are most important to you.

My Celebrity Life –
The pair can’t wait to get exploring (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)
My Celebrity Life –
They encourage anyone tempted to make a dramatic life change to go for it (Picture: Jam Press/@climbingvan)

‘We’ve spent some time exploring the UK in the Lake District, Cornwall, and South Wales but haven’t managed to travel further afield.

‘We’re hoping to head out to Europe once all of the travel regulations will permit it.’

For anyone considering campervan life, Charlie’s main advice is to plan, plan, plan.

‘If you spend enough time planning, you should be able to create something beautiful to fuel adventures for years to come,’ he said.

The couple also run a website with more tips and guidance for the lifestyle, and have released a book, titled The Van Conversion Bible, to further share their wisdom.

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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