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Couple Who Moved Into Converted Van To See The World Forced To Give Up Travel

Claire Reid

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Couple Who Moved Into Converted Van To See The World Forced To Give Up Travel

A couple who decided to pack up their lives and to travel the world in a converted van have now said they're unable to travel due to rising fuel prices.

Marie-Laure Parsy Szikola, 35, and fiancé Alan, 34, left their flat in Edinburgh, Scotland, in favour of a converted van.

Marie found herself keen to travel after moving back home due to the coronavirus pandemic, so she suggested the idea of 'van life' to Alan, who was just as keen.

Credit: Jam Press
Credit: Jam Press

The couple, who were living in a small flat at the time, had enough money saved to buy themselves a Mercedes Vario 614d minibus for £50,000 in July 2021, which they called 'Blue'.

Marie said: "As experienced trekkers and overall outdoor enthusiasts, we wanted a life that gave us freedom to find a place to hike, climb or kayak and just go.

"For someone with an adventurous background, staying indoors was a real challenge and I felt it truly impacted my well-being - both mentally and physically.

"I got furloughed and the lack of mental stimulation didn't help at all. I wanted a way of life that would be more engaging than the mainstream: job, commute, flat."

Credit: Jam Press
Credit: Jam Press

However, despite plans to see the world, the couple have only managed to cover Scotland since they set off - saying they've been unable to satisfy their wanderlust due to the rising cost of living and fuel prices.

"With fuel prices being so high at the moment, there's more importance than having a constant adventure," she added.

"Obviously the idea of being non-stop on the road is appealing, but the certainty that comes from a regular income is important."

Although their plans for travel has been parked, the couple say they are managing to save a fair amount of cash due to living in their van.

Credit: Jam Press
Credit: Jam Press

Living in the van is saving them an estimated £1,200 a month in rent and between £180-200 in council tax and bills.

They spend £15 a week on water disposal and water but are largely self-reliant - with electricity generated from solar panels in the van.

For now, despite their lack of travel plans, the adventurous couple have no plans to return to rented accommodation.

Marie said: "Van life makes you feel independent and more confident in yourself as it forces you to deal with breakdowns, climate and nature.

"You feel more engaged with your life and in a sense, more in control. It's helped me to re-find a path and series of goals when my life hit a standstill.

"[The positives about this way of life] is a sense of freedom, which is met by daily challenges. Everything can and will break in a van, but patience, a good dose of humour and the ability to learn quickly will turn hassles into fun.

"It doesn't need to be full-on straight away to be enjoyable and it can be done on a wide range of budgets.

Credit: Jam Press
Credit: Jam Press

"Everybody on the road has their own story and reasons to take this way of life, but I would advise anyone to start by hiring a van first for a weekend or short holiday.

"Get the feel for it first and if you decide to take the step, always make sure you know where your next pay cheque will come from.

"A vehicle does break more often than a house and bills can rapidly pile up.

"Travel slowly and take time to explore the mountains - it feels great not to feel rushed to reach the next destination."

Topics: UK News, Interesting

Claire Reid
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