Tristan and Helen’s van, Stan (Picture: Helen Weedon / SWNS)
It’s something we all dream of doing – and this couple have bit the bullet and made it happen for real.
Helen Weedon, 29, and partner Tristan Young, 31, quit their jobs to go travelling in a minibus they did up together.
Together they bought a 17-seater Ford Transit Minibus in April 2021 for £11,700, then began renovating it.
The project took nine months to complete, with the pair working full-time jobs and using their weekends and evenings to slowly morph the vehicle into a home on wheels.
Helen said: ‘The build was definitely a lot harder and took so much longer than we’d anticipated.
‘We did absolutely everything ourselves. The only thing was getting our electrics and gas checked over professionally to ensure it was all safe to use.
‘However, it’s probably one of the most rewarding things we have ever done, especially now that we’re able to travel around in it.’
Working outside their home in Horsham, West Sussex, they sorted the initial design, built the walls, kitchen, seating area, and a full-sized fixed bed.
Initially they aimed to complete their project with a budget of £20,000, but had to go over-budget to £25,000 due to the increased cost of building materials and equipment.
In June this year, they sold everything they owned, quit their nine-to-five jobs and hopped on the bus.
Helen and Tristan, who both work freelance, designed their van to be able to go off-grid for up to five days – giving them freedom like never before.
Hard at work (Picture: Helen Weedon / SWNS)
Ready to travel the world (Picture: Helen Weedon / SWNS)
They said: ‘It was a really liberating thing to do and made us realise how few material things we actually need.
‘We put a few sentimental things into storage but otherwise everything we own is in the van.
‘It’s enabled us to see so much more than we ever could have imagined.
‘Over the past five months, we’ve probably seen and experienced more than we could have over two or three years of doing different holidays and trips abroad.’
A home on wheels (Picture: Helen Weedon / SWNS)
The camper after nine months of work (Picture: Helen Weedon / SWNS)
As of now, the couple have taken the van around UK, Germany, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Montenegro.
However, it hasn’t been a smooth journey.
‘Stan the Van’, as they’ve named it, has broken down twice – once in the mountains of the Dolomites in northern Italy, and the second time in the middle of nowhere in Croatia.
Simple things like finding fresh drinking water or a place to empty their toilet have been challenging too at times.
Tristan and Helen run a travel blog called Coconuts and Camels, sharing the highs and lows of their travels.
Their current plan is to travel Europe for the next three years – before moving onto Canada and the US.
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