Have you ever dreamed of leaving your job and traveling full time? Ever joked with your partner about not going back to work and running away? If you ever want to know what it feels like to work on this crazy persuasion, instead of just dreaming about it, here’s our story.
* We work hard to make this best motorhome blog and road trip website full of helpful content for you. The website is backed by our readers, so if you buy through the links on this site we can get commission – at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own.
If you find this post useful, you can treat us to a coffee at the bottom of this page – we promise to enjoy it while creating more useful content like this – we can even indulge in a biscuit (or two!)
How it all started
When we bought a motorhome and in 2017 we crossed the English Channel for the first time, I never dreamed I would be homeless and unemployed in a year. By choice.
I vividly remember standing on the top of a mountain in Switzerland next to a motorhome on that first trip, staring in amazement at the galaxy in the dark. I remember joking about going back to my husband and running away from the ‘real world’ and ever going back to work.
Even then, it seemed impossible. I mean, let’s say, how many people in their 300’s actually left a secure and well-paying job … for travel.
Why we loved traveling so much
In 2017, we were in a mess. My darling mother-in-law has just died unexpectedly, we were homeschooling our daughter through her GCSE exams and we worked completely inconsistent hours. My husband, after being deployed for many years, was now working at home regularly from Monday to Friday, when I was working shifts as an air traffic controller. I would either start too early, finish too late, or at worst, come home after a night shift, talk too tired and boring or spend time together.
We’ll share a few days in a row rather than handing over to our daughter quickly before we go our separate ways. After years of debt repayment and childcare, we finally had the money, but very little time. So it’s no surprise that the simplicity of traveling with vans and motorbikes and the fun of exploring, spending time together as a couple and family made it so appealing to us.
Yet, standing on that mountain in Switzerland, the idea of making it a sustainable way of life was beyond our comprehension that we laughed at it একটি one of the jokes people make on holidays.
Until the next morning.
Thinking outside the box
Starting the long drive back to England from Switzerland, we started talking about how we can have more time to adventure in our lives. What needs to change and what can we do differently? What was stuck behind us?
We were just spending time on the drive, throwing ideas around and thinking outside the box. My husband and I have always been good.
That’s how we ended up living on the boat for 15 years – initially as a way to save money, but only later did we enjoy the simplicity of life and the feeling of being a bit ‘weird’. Some other people may understand that we like to make choices.
In fact, we recently got a home, when my mother-in-law was sick, as we had hoped to take care of her.
We faced that problem
There were some things that seemed easy to fix, and then there were some big ones. The biggest was my work. People prefer air traffic controllers to be in the ops room, not camping in the mountains while they are working!
And even though we had a few days off in our work cycle, it was hard to find a very good time where we could really explore. So the obvious answer was to ask me to take a short break from work so we could travel.
What will happen to the money?
Another big problem was money. We now had a home, with all the bills that came with it, we still had our boats and other commitments. We were talking about buying a house instead of renting and saving for the deposit.
If I decide to quit my job, what have we done for money?
About 3 hours into the fun game of ‘How We Can Change Our Lives’, I started a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet I’m still updating today. A sheet that shows our income and our expenses.
This sheet has changed everything.
A simple thing has changed our outlook
Suddenly, we could see how much money we were wasting each month, even on seemingly little things like Costa or Takeways. We could see how much it cost us to run this house, and other expenses that we started paying without really thinking.
We were both passionate about getting rid of debt, and we worked hard to pay off our debts and credit cards that we used to run in our 20’s. We spent 10 years thinking and being frugal, but now that we had better jobs and more disposable income, it was clear that we were starting to spend a lot of money foolishly again.
Can I take unpaid leave?
This led to the next step in the game. If we were to spend so much money unnecessarily, I should be able to save enough to allow me to rest. Can we save enough for 3 months unpaid leave? 6? Heck, what will happen all year?
When we finished our drive from Switzerland, we spent 3 days talking almost non-stop about this plan. If we stop spending, it went from being a distant dream to becoming almost anything possible.
Was a year free from work worth not having the luxury we enjoy every day? Can we stop spending enough to make it work?
How we cut costs
So we did. Immediately. We were militant and insane. We stopped eating out, we stopped buying clothes and we cut our daughter’s allowance (she was less happy about this change!)
Both amazing and frightening is that in 3 months we couldn’t meet our goals, we would blow them out of the water. Within months, we left home, got back on our boats, sold all our furniture and reduced our expenses so that we were living on my husband’s wages perfectly.
The money I have earned has gone into savings.
Suddenly, the year-long rest seemed not only possible, but easy. So I applied for my job on a year’s leave.
Want to create a life that you love?
Whether quitting your job for travel, downsizing or living a full-time life in a van, changing your life and living ‘outside the norm’ can be scary. To help, download us 5 Steps to Freedom Mini-Guide How do you want to create a life
My terrible decision
Except my work said no. They weren’t going to retire me.
In fact, they didn’t say no, they just said “we’ll let you know at the end of the year and it wasn’t likely to be approved for a full 12 months.”
Which made me make a terrible decision.
I was so excited at the thought of traveling for a while that the idea of not doing it was soul-destroying.
Still, I had no choice but to quit my job. E.g., permanently.
This is not a profession that you can choose again in a few years, or go elsewhere with another company. I was, or I was out.
Not only that, my social life and my identity were tied to my career. I liked getting a ‘cool’ job. I like to hang out with people at parties or events is what I did. And I like to make my own money.
Did I really want to give it all up?
What if things go wrong? What if we miscalculated? What if we get sick? What about my pension? What if 6. The list goes on. The future was very unknown and I was afraid to go back to a time where we didn’t have money and didn’t have too much debt.
For a while, I was unhappy with my job. I’ve liked most of the people I’ve worked with, but the management and the way we operate aircraft in our airspace is changing.
Whenever people hear I’m an air traffic controller, the first thing many people say is ‘it must be stressful’ and honestly, most of the time it wasn’t. But it started to happen.
My sleep was affected and my health was affected. This decision was burdensome on me. After 13 years and really hard training, am I really moving away from a stable, secure and well-paying job with an amazing pension?
Quotes that changed my life
Around this time, I read a road trip quote from Robin Sharma that changed my life: “Don’t live 75 times the same year and call it a life”
Easy to get acquainted with. It’s easy to stay safe and do the same thing over and over again every year. But we had a unique opportunity where our daughter was old enough to go to university and I hope a few years ago my parents needed us closer to help them.
We wanted to travel when we were young enough to enjoy it. We wanted to ride our bikes and live a little. Tomorrow, as they say, no one was promised.
So, in November 2017, I gave my 3 months notice. I panicked and rejoiced at once. I had no idea if this was the right decision. The people I worked with told me I was crazy. That was a huge mistake. I will be saddened by this.
The scariest part
And the scariest part was, I had no idea if they were right. We planned as much as we could and hopefully that was enough. Moreover, I knew that staying here, although familiar and safe, would not be the adventure we wanted. We wanted to live another year.
I worked my last day in February 2018, and a week later we set off for a motorhome trip to Europe. Since then, we’ve visited more than 15 countries, traveled 60,000 miles and we’re still not hungry.
I missed it …
Of course, I missed the money and sure enough, for months I struggled whenever strangers asked ‘what do you do’. But the experiences and memories we were able to have, both as a family when our daughter traveled with us, and as a couple who reconnected, they quoted MasterCard, priceless.
We’ve been standing on top of hundreds of hills and staring at the Milky Way countless times ever since, and not once have I regretted my choice এমনকি even when the world has turned upside down in a way we never could have guessed.
If you are dreaming and debating such a decision for yourself, I cannot promise you a happy ending. Changing your life is not easy and it is not really easy to give up financial security. We do not know what the future holds or how the world may change.
But I think it’s the same even if you have a job. I know a lot of people who have been unexpectedly made redundant, or have stopped working for the company they work for. Nothing is certain in this life.
What I do know is that our years are certainly not like the others and we have had more adventures in the last few years than their previous 15 years. So, no matter where you are, no matter what your dreams are, I hope you have the courage to ignore the skeptics and move forward for it and I wish you all the best in the world.
Feel free to find me on Instagram or Facebook and let me know how it goes
You may find the following useful:
Care to share!