I’m Leaving My House & The UK To Travel Europe Full Time!

Yesterday I rang my landlord and told her that I would be moving out in March 2018. I’m going to get rid of almost everything I own, and go traveling in Europe full time!

Wait, WHAT?

I feel I need to backup a bit here! This decision has come both incredibly slowly (over 10 years), but also extremely quickly (just 48 hours). I’ve got some explaining to do 🙂

When I was in my twenties I didn’t want to travel. Now I do. The transition has been slow. The yearnings started in my thirties, but grew much stronger in my 40’s. Over the last few years the desire has become what I’d call a ‘burning desire’ but I did absolutely nothing about it.

Devon 2010. As I have got older, I crave scenery like this more and more.

I was in a settled relationship, and she loves the UK and doesn’t have the same travel bug that I do. It was the realisation of the fact that we really want such different things in life that led to us parting ways last month.

Freedom

I’ve always craved freedom. It is one of my highest values in life. I always rejected traditional society, and jobs in particular. I’ve been self employed for much larger percentage of my life than employed. In 2007, I quit my perfectly good job suddenly with absolutely no plan, other than to somehow earn a living online.

I did that, I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I now have two businesses that I can run from absolutely anywhere with nothing more than my laptop and an internet connection. In 2017, getting online from anywhere in the world is easier than ever.

Now that I am also single, and I have savings in the bank, plus this already established lifestyle, it really is the perfect time to embark on a travel adventure, to finally live the dream as they say 🙂

Where the idea came from

I run two businesses, one of which is client based. Last year I had 7 clients and was doing quite well. But then two things happened:

  1. I realised that I hate having to answer to clients
  2. I started to lose them

I’m now down to 3, after losing a big one a couple of weeks ago that wiped out £500 of my monthly income.

That was a massive loss and it put me in the position of not being able to afford to support my lifestyle. I have started to transition over to a new business model but it will not become truly profitably for at least a year.

I did not relish the thought of dipping into my hard earned savings for a year. Plus there was that growing fear that I could lose more clients. The work I do is not a permanent thing; once the job is done there is no longer a need for my services.

I realised that my income was in the hands of 3 other people over which I had no control and that was terrifying. I started to calculate how much of my savings I might blow through in the next year and that was even more terrifying.

I needed to save money desperately.

Living Cheaply

My expenses are just normal living expenses. Rent, council tax, utility bills, running a car, eating food etc. I don’t have an extravagant lifestyle. I have no debts, no loans, no monthly payments for big expenses. It is all just normal stuff but it costs a LOT, especially when you live alone.

Need to downsize. Is this the answer??

I started looking for ways in which I could offset my expenses. I looked into renting out a spare parking space in my house, renting out my garage for storage space and even taking on a lodger in a spare room that I have. These things would make little difference. One more client loss and that income is gone.

I needed to live radically cheaper – ideally with no rent. My rent is £700 a month. Knowing that I had savings I started looking into the idea of buying a small cheap property that I could purchase outright so I’d have no rent to pay.

I couple of years ago when I also found myself struggling before I started the client business I had looked into options such as living on a narrow boat!

I looked for cheap houses, mobile homes, studio flats but couldn’t find anything suitable.

So then I got more extreme and started to think about living in a vehicle. I knew a ton of people did it, but it seemed like a desperate solution.

At the time I was thinking along the lines of my life being exactly the same except for my living space. I’d live in a van instead of a house. It seemed absolutely awful. I decided that I’d rather blow my savings than live that way in pure misery.

I forgot all about it for about a week. And then suddenly out of nowhere I was hit with a thought… if I lived in a vehicle, it moved. I wouldn’t have to stay in one place, in this shitty country with it’s terrible weather.

I could travel!!

Now the idea of living in a van seemed utterly, completely different! Now it no longer represented misery but an elevation of my freedom onto a whole new level that I have never even considered before!

I could drive anywhere! I could drive all over Europe, visit every national park, every interesting town or city, every tourist attraction, and all whilst continuing to work.

Wow.

Images like this all over Instagram and Pinterest got my attention! https://www.instagram.com/vanlifers/

I spent the next 48 hours completely immersed. I read 6 books on the subject, found blogs and YouTube channels of a whole slew of people that were doing it and was completely hooked.

I started with a million questions and concerns. I wrote them all down but as I read the books, the blogs, the forums etc every one of those questions became answered. The fears rapidly dissipated and the decision was made!

Telling the World

I often have stupid ideas and I am often impulsive. My big one is quitting jobs. I have suddenly walked out of ‘perfectly good’ jobs 5 times. But that’s because I am simply not suited to work for somebody else and have always preferred to work on my business, not somebody else’s.

But usually, I keep my stupid ideas to myself. I also change my mind a lot. The stupid idea is often quickly replaced a few days later. But this time was different. It felt so right. It felt like the answer to what I had been looking for. I just wanted to scream it from the rooftops.

So I did, figuratively! First I rang my landlord and told her I was moving out. We discussed the details, and picked a date. She said it would be on the date of my billing period which is the 9th of the month. I figured the spring time would be a good time to embark so 9th March it is!

I then announced it on Facebook, whilst dreading what response I might get! Then I knew I had to tell my Mum as quickly as possible as she might hear it from other family members who have me on Facebook.

I packed my bag and turned up on Mums doorstep just over an hour later. I told her all about it. We talked for hours. She had a lot of questions. I showed her photos of the kinds of vans I had been looking at.

I’m going to do a post on my Mum as she’s had a fascinating life. She always wanted to travel and she did it when she was young. She told me that she knew exactly how I felt, that she would do exactly the same thing if she was in my position, and that she also felt as though this was the perfect time for me to go on an adventure like this.

Of course, she’s going to miss me and she will worry! That’s what Mums do 🙂 I’ll miss her too! I’m sure I’ll miss a lot of things. I’ll cover that in another post too.

So that’s where I’m at. The decision has been made, some initial research has been done, and I have a time frame. Now the real work begins to actually make it happen.

 

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