Couple reveal how they gave up full time work to live in a van
Couple who gave up full time jobs to live in a converted van and work remotely just two days a week reveal they can still save money every month despite 60% salary cut because their bills are so tiny
- Charlie Low, 25, an insight manager, and Dale Comley, 29, an engineer, from Bristol left their full time jobs to work from home two days a week last year
- Couple invested £8,800 in yellow Mercedes van and spent £6,700 converting it
- They say they’ve maintained their savings despite 60% pay cut as they now have no bills or mortgage
A couple who swapped their busy office jobs for life in van, trading their hectic nine to five schedules for working just two days a week remotely have revealed they’re still saving the same amount as before despite a 60 per cent salary cut.
Charlie Low, 25, an insight manager, and Dale Comley, 29, an engineer, from Bristol, decided to leave their jobs after finding themselves constantly counting down to the days to the weekend every week.
Tired of the rat race, they invested £8,800 in a bright yellow LWB Mercedes Sprinter van – previously used by delivery company DHL – and converted it in their spare time after choosing to commit to a new life on the road.
Over the next year, the couple spent £6,700 converting the van but are still able to save the same amount now as when they were working full time as their ills are so tiny.
A couple have revealed how they swapped their busy office jobs for life in van, trading their hectic nine to five schedules for working just two days a week remotely. Pictured, Charlie Low, 25, in the van
Charlie Low, 25, an analytics manager, and Dale Comley, 29, an engineer, from Bristol, decided to leave their jobs after finding themselves constantly counting down to the days to the weekend every week. They are pictured left in the van and right watching TV
‘We were tired of daily commutes, spending our lives office-bound, and living for weekends and holidays,’ Charlie said.
‘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.
Total cost: £15,500
Van cost: £8,800
- Windows, vents and exterior items, £611
- Insulation, £376
- Cladding and flooring, £724
- Kitchen and searing area, £1228
- Bedroom furniture, £295
- Electrical system, £1786
- Water system, £423
- Gas and heating £742
- Decorations, £343
- Security system, £177
‘We spent a long time planning the conversion. There’s a large array of jobs to tackle and the challenges usually come when you haven’t planned enough.
After completing the project in March 2020, the couple hoped to travel, but lockdown struck meaning their holiday plans were put on hold.
In the last year they have managed to travel across England and Wales – including to the Lake District, Pembrokeshire, and Cornwall during times when restrictions were eased.
With an end of lockdownin sight, the couple hope to start travelling in Europe as soon as conditions allow and recently both quit their full-time jobs.
‘Converting our van has given us the opportunity to start our own business as our overheads are massively reduced versus living in a house. We can also now travel to beautiful places and work remotely.
‘This year, we decided to quit our full-time jobs – living as digital nomads working remotely with the mountains as our backdrop.
‘We worked out that by living in a van, we could earn sixty per cent less – i.e. only working two days a week instead of five – and still save the same amount as we were previously due to the lower overheads.
Tired of the rat race, they invested £8,800 in a bright yellow LWB Mercedes Sprinter van – previously used by delivery company DHL – and converted it in their spare time after choosing to commit to a new life on the road. They are pictured in the van now
Over a next year, the couple spent £6,700 converting the van including several months planning the project.
‘Switching from a five-to-two days a week structure to a two-to-five working balance also has given us more time to do what we love.’
They’re now also working on their soon-to-be-released book, The Van Conversion Bible, which they describe as, ‘The ultimate guide to converting a camper van.’
Charlie and Dale hope the project will allow others to realise their van life dreams and achieve a better work-life balance.
After completing the project in March 2020, the couple hoped to travel, but lockdown struck meaning their holiday plans were put on hold. Charlie is pictured in the van
To keep costs down, Dale (pictured) and Charlie bought wood from local merchants
‘We didn’t want to be spending the day going backwards or scouring DIY stores trying to find what we need.
‘Spending every weekend working on the van when we were still working full-time was exhausting but it was worth it for the end result.
‘Using local timber merchants rather than big DIY superstores was a great way to save loads of money.
Charlie is pictured working on electrics during the DIY project. The former manager said don’t be afraid to use electricians for help
The couple’s van features a kitchen, seating, and bedroom area. The van is pictured from the bed
‘Don’t be afraid to outsource in areas you don’t feel confident in. It may be cheaper to get an electrician to do your electrical system rather than spend hours installing it yourself if you’re not confident.
When conditions allow, the couple are eager to travel to Germany, Austria, and Spain in Europe.
‘Due to the pandemic, we unsurprisingly haven’t had much chance to travel yet but we’ve spent some time exploring the UK,’ Charlie said.
‘We’re excited to eventually head out to Europe.
Despite decreasing their hours and incomes by 60 per cent, the couple have maintained their savings due to the reduction in overheads, in particular their mortgage and bills
When conditions allow, the couple are eager to travel to Germany, Austria, and Spain in Europe in their van (pictured)
‘The rise in the popularity of campervans has unfortunately, seen a few irresponsible people giving campervan owners a bad reputation.
‘It’s critical that anyone living or travelling in a campervan is considerate and respects the environment they are in. That means planning before you travel, only parking where you’re allowed to park, and leaving areas better than you found them.
‘We want to help others realise their dreams of converting a van and the freedom it provides whether it’s for full-time van life or weekend adventures.’
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