Tiny Off-Grid Campervan ready to explore Europe

My name is Amy, and I first fell in love with van life on an epic road trip around New Zealand. My parents, especially my Dad, have always told me stories of their adventures in a van, including their honeymoon exploring the Rockies in Canada and a month-long trip around New Zealand for Dad’s 50th. My trip around New Zealand was the first time I had really experienced van life, and it was one that changed everything! Since then, I have embarked on a month-long trip around South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, before wanting to come back to the UK and save for my own van to explore UK and Europe in.

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Due to budget constraints and the fact that I wanted to be able to drive and park it easily, I opted for a short wheelbase van. I knew that this would mean I wouldn’t be able to stand up [without a pop-up tent], or that the layout options would be restricted, but that was fine. My first van is a starting block on this new journey – I’m sure I will fall in love with the lifestyle so much that I’ll want to upgrade soon!

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I used a company called Lusso Campers, based in Leeds, to help me with my build. They were incredible at seeing my vision [especially with the wood features, colours, and little extras like the table so I can sit and work at] come to life. My van comes with a fridge, 12V power, running water, and two hob gas cooker. It also has two extra seats which roll out into a double bed, plus two seats in the front which now swivel round to add a seating area in the back. There is ample storage with lots of little cupboards and drawers, and the lighting is fantastic. I even have a reading spotlight and a flat-screen TV!

Together with the cost of the van and all the conversion, it cost me approx £15,000. And then I’ve spent a bit more kitting it out with little extras like a must-have velcro sun visor mirror [to make myself look presentable in the mornings!], a coffee machine [for the much needed morning pick me up], and a Bluetooth music adaptor [so I can play my favourite tunes on the road].

The van is new to me, so I have lots of adventures on the bucket list. First stops will be at surf spots in the UK, for example, Polzeath in Cornwall is where I spent many holidays growing up so I can’t wait to go back there. Then I want to go and explore Europe! Dream destination has to be the Dolomites, so I’m hoping to get there before the winter.

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Van life gives you so much freedom. I love that I can pack everything I need into the van, and off I go, exploring the unknown. I also love how simple life is in the van. Because you don’t have much space, you realise that you don’t actually need many things to be happy in life. I also love how it forces me to step away from technology, and just enjoy being out in nature and seeing what our beautiful world has to offer. There is also a wonderful community of vanlife lovers, and everybody is welcoming and friendly.

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Keep up to date with my van adventures by following me on Instagram @freelance_amy and check out my VANLIFE blog here: https://www.amynicholson.co.uk

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