Bristol man traded daily routine for debt free life by traveling the world in an old army truck

With inflation still soaring, rents skyrocketing, interest rates rising and wages stagnating, for many, the prospect of packing up that job they might hate and driving off in a van has probably never been more appealing. For Bristol native Craig Saunders, trading his high-flying career for a life of travel was something he had long craved. However, financial obligations caused him to limit his adventures to 28 vacation days a year.

But in 2019, he and his wife, Kerry Whitelegg, whom he met on the side of a mountain, decided to take the first steps towards making that dream come true when they bought an ex-Army DAF T244 truck and decided to convert it into somewhere they They could travel and live. Learning carpentry, mechanics and plumbing skills as they go, they documented the transformation of ‘Penelope the Truck’ on YouTube, but six months ago they decided to go further, quitting their jobs, selling their house and leaving with no fixed plan of return. to the UK

Before the pandemic, Kerry was freelancing events and teaching yoga, but switched to a remote position during the Covid lockdowns, while Craig rose through the ranks working at a brewery. Kerry said: “We were very unhappy with the way our lives were headed: racing, the house needed work, I needed a new car. It was a matter of investing in our lives as they were and moving on, or committing to ourselves and turning it around for a chance at happiness.”

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Craig said, “We had good salaries, but we felt like we weren’t going anywhere.” Things couldn’t be more different for the couple now; They are currently in Turkey, having traveled through France, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, with the hope of reaching as far east as Kazakhstan and Morocco.

(Image: Kerry Whitelegg)

Surprisingly, the couple describe living together in the former military vehicle, chosen in part because it suits Craig’s 6-foot-4-inch height, as anything but cramped. Kerry said: “We’ve had discussions lately that we probably have too much space. We have a permanent king-size bed.

“We have a big shower, a composting toilet, a big kitchen.” Craig added that on a recent visit by her mother to Cyprus, the couple stayed with her in an AirBnB and found it too big, saying: “We didn’t sleep very well.” We lost the van.”


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