When Kate Quinn, 26, and her boyfriend Benny Leyland, 23, grew tired of the 9-5 grind, they sold everything and moved into a retired postal van.
The young couple spent £550 (or $622) refurbishing the big red van, affectionately named Pat, and set off on a European road trip with no agenda but adventure. They’ve been on the road since early April and have been touring ever since.
Check out Kate’s perspective on van life. It’s safe to say we’re a bit jealous of their ‘gone with the wind’ lifestyle:
In passing conversation, we’d spoken about dreams we both had and we said how awesome it would be to travel Europe at some point. I joined Benny on a work trip where we spent five hours in the work van together and after joking if we survived that we could take on Europe in a van it just escalated.
We got more and more excited, got into Pinterest and thought, ‘If those guys can do it, so can we.’ By the time I left Australia, Benny had started his visa process and we’d made some inquiries about buying a van over here and we were saving materials on eBay that we’d buy.
Overall, living in the van is amazing, it opens up a whole world of possibilities that aren’t accessible with other forms of travel, it was particularly awesome being able to stay at secluded beaches along the North of Spain.
We have downsized a lot and love living simply! A really good thing about living in the van is being able to pull over and nap on long drives, and knowing what you need is always there with you from a surf board to a piece of blu-tack.
The best thing about this is the freedom. Picking somewhere on a map and driving there with no real idea what it will be like is incredibly exciting, it’s amazing to know you can stay as long as you’d like or move on if it’s not what you’re looking for.
The vast majority of people we’ve met have been intrigued by the journey we’re doing. We’ve met a lot of people older than us doing it in a fully equipped motor home and say they think it’s cool we’re doing it now in this way. They’re always really excited to see the van and have a sit inside.
The main message is go for it. If the idea is there, then do it. Regret is far worse than making some sacrifices now to save and make it possible.
There’s no time like right now – money and careers can always be made but there are memories and friends made along this journey that are truly priceless. It absolutely has been the best thing both of us have ever done.
Sometimes I see myself as a contradiction in that I love roughing it, being an unwashed hippy in a van but also love comforts and heels.
I feel it’s good in life to be adaptable and make the most of situations you’re in there and then.
Have any interest in hitting the road like these two? Check out their time-lapse video of the van build below. You can do this too!
In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine living a life like this. Whatever your opinions, the road less traveled seems like a road worth taking. Go for it!
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