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London Couple Travelling Europe in Their Van Conversion

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This couple was living in London, paying high rent, and running the rat race. So they decided to save up their money and go experience the other cultures of Europe — and find minimalism in the process.

While they miss friends and family — and a proper bathroom — the experience has been fantastic for both Jess and Teddy. They converted a Ford Transit and made it home, complete with a portable toilet and outdoor shower.

We had the chance to ask them questions about their van life, which you can read at the end of the post. Plus, there’s a video tour so you can get all the details! Be sure to follow them on Instagram here.

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Escaping the London Rat Race on a Year Abroad

The couple looking festive celebrating 5,000 followers!

Something about twinkle lights makes any place look like home.

Their pull-out table is a great feature.

It’s all about the views!

A hammock helps extend their living area.

I love the pulls on the cabinets here.

Bench seating with storage underneath.

They even made room for their surf board!

They have that great little fridge/freezer.

A hot plate allows them to cook indoors.

I’m always envious of those pull-out pantries.

What a clever porch and wine holder!

They love the van life!

What are your name(s)?

Jess & Teddy

How long have you lived tiny?

Around 5 months now, 143 days to be exact.

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?

We currently travel full time as we both saved for a year or two in order to not have to work. However, Teddy does do some freelance design work and plans to pick that up a few days a week in the future for a bit of extra spending money!

What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?

Mainly, for us, it was the freedom to travel at our own pace and still having home comforts. It was also a great opportunity for us to live a more minimalist lifestyle and really try to cut down on unnecessary things in our life.

What inspired you to choose an van (rather than say a tiny house or a bus)?

Again, we would have to say the huge bonus to the van over a tiny house was our reason that we love to travel and this gives us the best flexibility to do that! We chose a van over a bus as we wanted our home to be as compact and easily driveable as possible. It means when we are driving around the corners of the Alps or the windy roads of Italy we can do so with ease. It’s also handy for parking inside cities we want to explore!

How did you acquire your van? Did you do a lot of renovations?

We actually found our van on eBay and did a complete renovation, it was originally used as a builders van so we took everything out and did a complete van build ourselves. Teddy did the design and we have to give a huge shoutout to his Dad for helping with the majority of the building work 🙂

What are bills/utilities like compared to before?

The beauty of van life is you are no longer in any contracts for bills or rent! The only constant utilities we are paying for now is diesel, food and any campsites we decide to stay at. Usually we wild camp so parking/overnight costs are very little. We were living in London before, so as you can imagine our rent was ridiculous and bills extortionate. It’s miles apart in terms of the difference meaning we have a lot more disposable money to spend.

How did you find a place to “park” your home? Or do you travel?

We are currently travelling around Europe and usually park in a new spot every night/every other night to keep on moving so that we get to see everywhere on the map. In terms of finding camping sites/camper home parking or wild camping we use an app called Park4Night. It’s almost a daily occurrence that we are checking that for great parking spots and reading all the reviews checking the next spot.

Before going tiny, what was life like?

We were both living the London rat race! Consisting of full time jobs, very little free time and very little money to spend on travel! Commuting into central London everyday for us just made us realise even more how we would love to see the rest of the world!

Is there anything from your old life that you miss?

Apart from Friends/Family we would have to say the comfort of having a bathroom to use at any time you like! Yes, we have a portable toilet and an outdoor shower but these do not quite compare to the luxury of a proper bathroom with a flushing toilet!

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

We hoped it would not only give us the opportunity to see other parts of the world and experience the different cultures within Europe, but it has also given us some perspective on life and what really matters. Travelling in a tiny van really does make you stop and think about materialistic things you just do not need in your life.

What about some challenges?

I think there’s a couple we didn’t quite see coming – one was definitely the chores that do come along with tiny living. Your space can get messy real quick and your forever washing/drying up! Those along with finding a parking spot for every night and finding a laundrette every week, they can get so time consuming! We thought we would have a lot more spare time but just as any life, the chores add up! Not to mention the actual driving from spot to spot 🙂

What makes your tiny home special?

We love our van so much, mainly because we completely designed it ourselves. It has both of our input from the colour of the cupboards to the decision to put the table under the bed. All of these little things really make it feel like it’s OUR home.

What is your favorite part of your tiny home?

There’s a couple but the stand out is definitely the ability to open up the backdoors, lay on the bed and enjoy the view of wherever we have parked up. We also have a little wine table on the backdoor so we can sit on our tiny porch and enjoy a glass to the sunset – bliss!

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

We’d say there are definitely a lot of challenges and it takes a heck of a lot of planning to go tiny! But if you’re willing to give it your all from the beginning, the outcome is the most amazing achievement and totally worth it!

VIDEO: VANTOUR | Couple from UK Converted a Ford Transit

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Our big thanks to Jess for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Alison
    December 26, 2020, 2:32 pm

    Well done. Efficient use of space, clean and classy kitchen design. I’m at a stage of life where living in a van does not appeal at all, but I can imagine what a great thing it would for a young, adventurous couple. The little fold-down wine shelf on their “back deck” is clever.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 28, 2020, 9:28 am

      I thought that was a great idea. So simple, but probably quite handy.

  • Marsha Cowan
    January 19, 2021, 6:11 pm

    Very clever and cozy van home. It is very pretty, too, and I agree about having a back door to open and see the view. You are a lovely couple, and as you go you will learn quicker ways to find places to park and laundramats and have more time for enjoying that view. Safe travels. Thanks for sharing with us.

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