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.
‘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.
‘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.
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.
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.’
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.
‘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.
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Credit: Original article published here.