Ditching their careers, a couple decided to leave their home for a life on the road, with travel their main priority.
Craig Saunders and his wife Kerry Whitelegg, from Bristol, decided to buy an ex-Army DAF T244 truck and convert it into a portable home.
For a while they had been learning carpentry, mechanics and plumbing skills as they went – documenting the transformation of ‘Penelope the Truck’ on YouTube.
Six months ago they decided to take things further by quitting their jobs, selling their house and heading off with no fixed plan of returning to the UK.
Before the pandemic, Kerry worked freelance in events and taught yoga, but switched to a remote position during Covid lockdowns, while Craig was climbing the ranks working in a brewery.
Kerry said: ‘We were very much unhappy with the way our lives were headed: careers, the house needed work, I needed a new car.
‘It was a question of investing in our lives as they were and carrying on, or committing to ourselves and flipping it all to take a chance of being happy.’
Craig added: ‘We were on good salaries, but we just felt like we weren’t going anywhere.’
Life has taken a positive turn, as they are currently in Turkey and have travelled through France, Belgium, Germany, Lichtenstein, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.
Next on their list to visit is Kazakhstan and Morocco.
Surprisingly the couple find the former military vehicle to be anything but cramped.
Kerry said: ‘We’ve had discussions of late that we’ve probably got too much space. We’ve got a permanent king-size bed.
‘We’ve got a full-size shower, a composting toilet, full-size kitchen.’
When they recently stayed in an Airbnb for a trip, they found the space too big and ‘missed’ the van.
The couple stick to a strict monthly budget and have a figure below which they know they can’t let their savings drop before needing to return to the UK.
Kerry also works a few hours a day as a virtual PA, earning an income while still travelling.
Kerry said: ‘We knew if I didn’t get any work, we have enough for a year, and then we’d have to turn around, go back and get jobs. As it turns out, I’ve got a job. So we’ve only eaten into our savings a tiny bit.’
They sold their house just before the economy started to crash.
Kerry added: ‘I’ve got friends now who thought what we were doing was ridiculous, to begin with, and one of them bought a van this weekend.
‘I want to do this now while I’m physically able. And when I’m 60, I am totally up for sitting down all day and doing a job.’
Craig, on the same page, said: ‘I don’t want to be in that situation where I’ve worked my backside off for 30 or 40 years for a company or a person to get rich, for my retirement to come, and I’m not able to do anything.
‘If you look at a global economy at the moment and try to look in the future, what’s it going to be like? Who knows? So why wait? Why not just do it now and then worry about that later?’
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