Ever thought about just packing up and running off to live in a motorhome? Well, Ben and Lucy did exactly that, except they weren’t running away, they were running towards an exciting new lifestyle. And they took the time to sit down and tell us all about living in a van!
1. Hi Ben and Lucy, could you start by telling us a little bit about yourselves?
Hi, we’re Ben & Lucy, a young couple from Cornwall, UK who converted a 17 seater minibus into our home on wheels and have spent the last two years travelling around 24 countries in it. We're aspiring documentary photographers who love documenting our travels through our photography and our vlogs, including all the adventures and the mishaps along the way.
2. What led you to pack up and live in a campervan?
When we were nearing the end of university we both knew we wanted to go travelling, although we had very different ideas- Ben wanted to visit the Middle East, Lucy had always dreamed of travelling in a campervan, and it was only a matter of time until those two visions came together and we decided to buy a van.
3. How did you prepare for van life?
Very badly! We were so excited to leave we kind of forgot to insulate our van properly or pack any warm blankets whatsoever! This led us to some cold nights and challenging days but we’ve learned a lot since then. We spent 10 months initially converting our van and then another 6 making improvements after our first trip, but besides that we just prefer to hit the open road and see where it takes us.
4. What are the biggest struggles of living in a van and how do you advise to overcome them?
Vanlife presents us with many challenges on a daily basis, each with their own unique ways to be overcome. They can range from something as simple as trying to find water for our tanks or a recycling bin, to breaking down at the top of a mountain (twice!) and battling heavy snow and ice without tire chains. But ultimately it’s the challenges and the bumps in the road that make it an adventure, and as a result we’ve got some great stories to tell.
5. What places have you visited so far and which was your favourite destination?
At this point it would probably be easier to list the countries we haven’t been to! We’ve got another 12 or so European countries to visit and we’ll have done them all, but we have to say our favourite so far has been Albania, closely followed by Romania. Albania was a country we knew very little about and what we did know wasn’t great, but going there totally changed our perception of the place once we met its wonderfully hospitable people and got to explore some of the most incredible landscapes we’d ever seen. Since then we’ve kind of had a taste for “obscure” countries, and can’t wait to discover even more of Northern and Eastern Europe, although Canada and Asia are currently also on the cards…
6. What tips would you give to people wanting to embark on the van life journey?
When converting a van, whatever your time frame is- double it. And whatever your budget is- double that too. There are always unexpected setbacks, and this applies to travelling in a van too! You never know what’s around the corner, so always be prepared. Oh and don’t buy an LDV.
7. Which places are still on your bucket list?
Ben is really itching to revisit India right now, and we’re both so excited about the prospect of exploring Canada together, however Lucy can’t make up her mind where the next destination is- it could be Norway, or Moldova, Russia, Kosovo, or Morocco… There are just too many places and not enough time and funds for them all!
8. And finally, we’ve heard you’re considering joining the Goboony family and converting a van, could you tell us more about that?
Sure! We’re currently restoring a 1979 Bedford CF chassis cab and converting it into a totally unique campervan for four by building our own box onto the back from scratch. We hope to be able to hire out next summer through Goboony with the intention of funding our travels full time. That’s the plan right now, although we’re finding out that restoring a classic van is no easy task! We expect the project to be finished sometime in Spring and we’re planning to put some cool features inside to match the character of the van outside! We love the idea of being able to hire our van out through Goboony once the restoration and conversion are finished, which will give others the opportunity to experience a classic and totally unique van from the beautiful setting of Cornwall, UK.
Thank you Ben and Lucy for taking the time to share the ups and downs of living in a van, we’re pretty sure everyone agrees that it sounds amazing! And we look forward to seeing your van on our site in 2019.
Want to read more of Ben and Lucy’s tales of van life? Head to their blog and find out about budgeting during trips, tips for converting a van and details on destinations! Are you more excited by their gorgeous photos that were included in this blog? Maybe you need to procrastinate with a good scroll through their Instagram. If you want to test the van life for yourself, why not start with Goboony? Find a motorhome suiting what you’re going for, book a trip and get the perks of personal insights from the private owner!